Review: ‘The Mermaid’s Sister’ by Carrie Anne Noble
When a novel already has 2,842 reader reviews on Amazon, one has to ask whether adding his or her own two cents has any purpose. Nonetheless, here are several thoughts: This book is a gently told young adult fairy tale about a girl name Clara whose sister Maren is becoming a mermaid. The book’s compelling, if somewhat predictable adventure, is finding a way in a world of travel via horses and wagons of getting Maren to the sea before Maren dies outside of what is fast becoming her natural environment.
In this Amazon breakthrough Y/A novel of 2014 and Realm Award Winner for Best Speculative Fiction of the Year of 2016, “The Mermaid’s Sister” generally lives up to the promises such awards give to prospective readers. The novel’s inventive world is carefully and realistically built and presented in language that’s often quite charming and well focused.
If the book has a flaw, it is perhaps the need for a bit of streamlining during the opening chapters where some readers will see a little too much backstory about where the primary characters came from and what motivates them in the here and now. Even those stories are believable within the context and style of the novel; however, they delay the necessary rush to take Maren to the ocean. Readers who push through this somewhat of a slow start will be rewarded by adventures on the journey to the ocean and a satisfying conclusion .
As a debut novel, the book is well worth reading for its own sake and for the clues it provides for the novelist’s future stories.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of magical realism, folktales, contemporary fantasy, and paranormal stories and novels.