Review: The Mermaid’s Sister

Book Title: The Mermaid’s Sister

Book Author: Carrie Anne Noble

Book Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

Synopsis: There is no cure for being who you truly are…

In a cottage high atop Llanfair Mountain, sixteen-year-old Clara lives with her sister, Maren, and guardian Auntie. By day, they gather herbs for Auntie’s healing potions. By night, Auntie spins tales of faraway lands and wicked fairies. Clara’s favorite story tells of three orphan infants—Clara, who was brought to Auntie by a stork; Maren, who arrived in a seashell; and their best friend, O’Neill, who was found beneath an apple tree.

One day, Clara discovers shimmering scales just beneath her sister’s skin. She realizes that Maren is becoming a mermaid—and knows that no mermaid can survive on land. Desperate to save her, Clara and O’Neill place the mermaid-girl in their gypsy wagon and set out for the sea. But no road is straight, and the trio encounters trouble around every bend. Ensnared by an evil troupe of traveling performers, Clara and O’Neill must find a way to save themselves and the ever-weakening mermaid.

And always, in the back of her mind, Clara wonders, if my sister is a mermaid, then what am I?

Clara and Maren were both left in the care of their “Auntie” as infants, and have been raised as sisters their entire lives.  When the sisters turn 16, Maren begins transforming into a mermaid; her fingers are becoming webbed, her feet are turning into fins, and she has new scales appearing all over her body almost daily.  Clara must sadly accept that she will soon have to say goodbye to her sister, and doesn’t know how she will ever be able to let go.  Outside of this little family and two close family friends, Scarff and O’Neill, no one else in their village is aware of Maren’s “condition”, and it is kept a closely guarded secret to protect her.  As Maren grows ill, Clara realizes that she must find a way transport her sister to the ocean, in the middle of a harsh winter.  Clara and O’Neill set out on their own, with only a wyvern and a raven in tow to keep them company, to bring Maren to the ocean. Their journey takes a horrible turn, however, when their carriage is attacked and Maren is captured. And they must quickly find a way to rescue the young mermaid before it is too late.

This was a beautiful little story that I could see appealing to a wide range of age groups, but would probably be most enjoyed by middle grade readers.  The highlight of this fairy tale was the close relationship between Maren and Clara.  It was refreshing to read something where the focus was NOT on a romantic relationship, although there was a bit of a romance in this story as well.  Most of the writing is very descriptive in nature, and there are many chapters where not much happened to keep the plot moving forward. So my only complaint is that the pacing of the book was a bit slow, and I think that this may have worked even better as a short story. Other than that, this was a very enjoyable read.

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