- Paperback: 486 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2 July 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1478102705
- ISBN-13: 978-1478102700
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.8 x 20.3 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,829,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Mermaid's Chest Paperback – 2 Jul 2012
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The Mermaid's Chest is an entertaining story, but it's not an overly original one.
There are many similarities to a popular Australian show, H2O: Just Add Water. That's not necessarily a problem in of itself, but there are times when it feels more like fanfiction rather than an original story. They both have a ten second delay after touching water before they become mermaids. Although the cause is somewhat different (bracelets vs being in the moon pool on a full moon), both sources originate from a cave on an island. Even the main character is more or less a clone of Cleo Sertori from the show, who, coincidentally, is named Phoebe and comes from Australia...likely named for Phoebe Tonkin, who played Cleo on the show. Even Katie and Emily feel like American counterparts to Rikki and Emma from the TV show, with similar personalities and appearances.
It's not completely similar of course, but there are enough there that it would be a disservice to ignore them.
Taylor, Faith, and Brook are the three other mermaids of the story, and they felt like original additions...but they were slightly problematic ones.
There are just too many characters. You have the six girls who turn into mermaids, the brother and his friend, the guys that they run into at the party, and Emily and Faith's parents. Not all of them get a lot to do, either. Taylor, for instance, felt as though she was hardly in the story. Brook hardly got to do much. Faith was a fun addition and had personality, but it felt as though she could've been used more. She had a strong rivalry with her sister Emily that never really paid off.
I think the story would've been better served if it had cut down on the characters. Taylor adds absolutely nothing to the overall plot of the story and doesn't feel like an important character even when she's up front and center. Brook plays second fiddle to Faith and doesn't really have much of a personality of her own. At the very least, they should've have been mermaids, because trying to keep the secret from them for a time would've added some fun tension and hi-jinx into the mix and given them something to do. The guys from the beach didn't really add much either, even during the party scenes. They didn't even factor at all into the ending.
Focusing more on the rivalry between Emily and Faith could've added some much needed tension to the middle parts of the book as well. Nothing really came of it, and it felt like wasted potential, especially given the age difference. Faith almost could've been somewhat of an antagonist, a risk to their secret because she's reckless and arrogant about it all.
The other problem is the villain. They don't really show up much until the very end, and the plot is resolved very easily once it comes to a head. There isn't really much explanation there on why they're doing what they do. There's also not much explanation on how the bracelets work or why they work a certain way towards the end either - especially in Phoebe's case, where a last minute event seems more like a huge plot convenience than a plot twist.
Overall, it's a lengthy story that feels incomplete, with too many points of views and characters. If the story focused more and tightened up the plot, with clearer explanations, I think it would've been a much better story.
It feels set up for a sequel, though I'm not sure if one is coming. I would like to see one eventually, despite my problems with the book.