The author asked me a while back to read and review his novel. I accepted but didn't get around to it until recently. The novel sounds very interesting, a young girl taken hostage to be the familiar to a merman. How awesomely creepy does that sound? I'm pretty sure most of you know that mermaids in some peoples views can be evil nasty creatures and I was very interested in seeing how Ciye created them. Although this was a good novel it had some problems which I shall explain in a moment.
We join Florence as she's on a school trip, it's here she's taken down into the depths of the ocean by a merman. She's taken and hidden away but soon one of the princes realises the mistake his soldiers made. When he asked for a familiar for his brother he didn't want a human. Angry he tries to get rid of her but his father the king of Niemela finds out about her and is just as angry as his son. The mermaid princess Yolee saves Florence and takes her on as a personal assistant With the help of a polyp a little creature attached to her neck she can swim and breath underwater just like any mermaid. Florence's presence sends a stir through the world of Nimela and she soon sees that their underwater world is threatened by the Darkness. Trying to make sense of this new world, she has to choose between the two princes and deciding whether to go back to the surface or live in Niemela forever.
At first Florence's character really had some spark. You could easily relate to her as she didn't fit in her school and she was always trying to hide amongst others. She didn't want people paying any attention to her. We've all been there some time in our life and we can relate to that easily. We then see her passion for photography shine through when she goes to take underwater photos. When she's behind the camera she lets everything go, she has confidence. Then she's pulled under to Niemela and her whole world is turned upside down. The thing is she wasn't that shocked about it. There seemed to be a lull in character and plot during the next third of the book where, I think the author focused more on the setting than anything else. Florence is really let go here and we don't really get much from her, she's just a bland girl whose lost all spark and that was worrying. Where had the quirky girl we met at the start gone? Just over half way through she comes back with a vengeance and I loved it. She soon stood up for all the things she believed in even if this meant defying all rules of Niemela.
We then have the two brothers who were battling for the right to rule Niemela. Kiren the prince who was about to take over the thrown and he draws Florence towards him. I honestly did not like him at all even from the start he was too smug and we soon got to know the real him. Rolan on the other hand was the sensible brother who was very drawn back and not very sociable. I loved him from the start, how he was very moody and mysterious. Even though he wasn't very warm towards Florence at the start, he was the only one who saved her and came to her side in times of need. The coin really did flip from Kiren being the nice brother to becoming the freaking worst and then Rolan being very dark and moody to becoming, well, lovely. I will let you discover more when you read the novel.
The description in this novel was incredibly beautiful. The world was so detailed and in depth, everything was described so well. I just wanted to float down in the ocean and watch the world of Niemela pass by. Oh and the Darkness was so creepy it really gave me chills. The monsters were horrible and made you flinch, but then the lovely animals inside Niemela were so cute. Ciye Cho was a master at creating an uniquely beautiful world that will leave the reader in awe.
This is where there were problems. About a quarter of the way into the book, once Florence was in Niemela the author seemed to be so focused on the description and setting that the character and plot fell flat. And this goes on until just over halfway through the book. The novel loses it steam and really drags on the reader, there were times I wanted to put the novel down and just stop as things got so boring for me. I'm glad I didn't though as things did pick up again in the end and I'm glad I stuck with it.
The world of Niemela is magical and so enchanting you'll be dreaming of the vivid world, Ciye Cho has created. This is an charming read about mermaids and mermen, and all the Darkness that surrounds Niemela. If your looking for an enchanting new world to fall into this book will be great for you. Yes there are some drawbacks but the book soon comes flipping back to the surface and leaves you gasping for breath.