Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon (Audiobook)
Release Date: January 1, 2012
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Source: Audiobook Jukebox (Publisher)
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Princess Margrethe has been hidden away while her kingdom is at war. One gloomy, windswept morning, as she stands in a convent garden overlooking the icy sea, she witnesses a miracle: a glittering mermaid emerging from the waves, a nearly drowned man in her arms. By the time Margrethe reaches the shore, the mermaid has disappeared into the sea. As Margrethe nurses the handsome stranger back to health, she learns that not only is he a prince, he is also the son of her father's greatest rival. Sure that the mermaid brought this man to her for a reason, Margrethe devises a plan to bring peace to her kingdom.Meanwhile, the mermaid princess Lenia longs to return to the human man she carried to safety. She is willing to trade her home, her voice, and even her health for legs and the chance to win his heart...A surprising take on the classic tale, Mermaid is the story of two women with everything to lose. It will make you think twice about the fairy tale you heard as a child, keeping you in suspense until the very last page.
The soft and clear voice of the narrator was perfect for the tone of the book. The lush description and rich setting that Carolyn Turgeon drew upon lulled me. It does take a bit to get used to the writing style, but once you're immersed in the book, it is relaxing and beautiful. It is rather formal, but that helps with the book because the characters and setting are very much like the writing style.Just to clarify, this book is not young adult. There were some inappropriate moments, a more mature tone, and it is much darker than most young adult books focused on The Little Mermaid.Unlike other fairy tales, a big element of the story is love but there isn't actually love between the princess and the prince. It's more like she's using him, and somehow it worked with the story. Even though it sounds awful, it made sense when you knew the characters, especially how awful the prince could be.The mermaid - Lenia - was a fascinating character. She's definitely an unreliable narrator and her love for the prince stems mostly from her desire to have a soul. It's not a love story because both characters are using the prince for their own uses. He's not even that big of a character in the novel. Lenia and Margrethe both have such contrasting and interesting characters that the story was largely driven by their motivations. Lenia seemed to be less developed than Margrethe was but I would have liked to have seen more in Lenia's personality.I'll admit that I quite enjoy darker tales revolving around mermaids because there's so much that can be done and so much originality can be infused into the story. I listened to this on the way to the beach and back several times over the past few weeks. The ocean can be so tempestuous and this book definitely reflects that nature. You always can't help but wonder what lurks beneath the surface of it all and the wildly elaborate stories about mermaids always indulge my curiosity.The narrator was good but she did have a bit of a monotone. She was very even, which I normally don't like but actually really enjoyed.It was a bit startling for me to actually read such a dark retelling of The Little Mermaid although I really liked it. I went through a lot of love/hate with it though because there were some parts I just couldn't stand. There were a few unfinished plot lines that were never followed through and some weird concepts. There were some ideas about religion that may rebuff people who think differently (it was different than what I thought, anyways) and some characters were just plain unlikable.The prince was obnoxious. He was very self-centered and arrogant and I just couldn't stand him and didn't understand the fuss being made over him. If the story was supposed to be like The Little Mermaid, you'd think that the characters would be somewhat similar in nature. I didn't like him, and by the end, I only liked him a little more than what I began with.Margrethe was a bit more of a sympathetic character than Lenia so I found myself liking her more.There were a few sex scenes which I didn't feel were necessary. They were pretty mild but there was only one that was actually necessary to the plot and even then, it made me slightly uncomfortable. Normally it doesn't bother me, but if it's an unnecessary element in the book then it irritates me. There wasn't much else in the book though, so that was good. It made me really happy that Carolyn Turgeon didn't throw much else in there. No profanity or anything.It's not your typical fairy tale. For one, it's not happy, it's not romantic, and it will challenge you to keep believing in it. But towards the end, the gorgeous writing and twisted nature of the characters and it all makes it a book like no other. With all its frustrations and shortcomings, and with all the incredible characters and hateful characters, the end result is a book that I just thought about. It's one of those books that has a distinct feel to it that means that it remains completely unique no matter what I read. The author has somehow managed to capture the feel of being near the ocean and all the thoughts and lore surrounding it.I had mixed feelings about Mermaid. I wouldn't recommend buying it, but if your local library has a copy or anything, I would give it a try. It just wasn't for me, but it was pretty good if you could get past some of the problems in it.Recommended for anybody who loves: Lost Voices; Daughters of the Sea series; dark fantasy; Ingo; etc,.Possible book club questions:How does the "love" talked about in Mermaid compare and contrast to the romance in The Little Mermaid?How does the prince's personality in Mermaid compare to The Little Mermaid?etc,.