Release Date: October 25, 2011
Received: ARC from publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren--the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city.
There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood--a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.
I'm a mythological racist
I realized something about myself when reading Between the Sea and Sky: I totally stereotype mythological creatures. And I don't really like it when their books deviate too much from my preconceptions.
When it comes to mermaid books, I expect and want them to be light frothy fun with a sweet romance and an "easy read" plot. Luckily, Between the Sea and Sky perfectly fit my mermaid stereotypes and gave me exactly what I wanted.
Esmerine is my perfect mermaid. She's super sweet and a little naive. She has an almost childlike openness and I couldn't help but love her.
Will we be sleepover best friends? Eh, I don't think I got to know her well enough for that, but I would totally invite her to my book club (she's a reader! I love characters who love books.)
And, ok, we would also gush about her romance with Alan. Even though they met when they were kids, they hadn't seen each other for years and their reunion was kinda rocky. I could sympathize with the one-step-forward-two-steps-back progression of their relationship. No insta love or messy love triangles here!
Ugh, what a jerk. He had such a pole up his butt.
Wait! Don't run away yet! He's supposed to be jerky in the beginning, but I promise he gets a LOT better.
Still, even though he turns into a stand up guy, I spent a good part of the book thinking Esmerine could do SO much better that it was sort of hard to love him. I like him though and I think he and Esmerine make a cute couple. She'll mellow him out and I can see him doting on her and being all sweetly protective of her.
A message worthy of Disney
The big message here is following your heart, and every character struggles with the expectations of others versus their own desires. Can you really go wrong with such a heartwarming message? That kind of Disney-sweet message pretty much gets me every time, and Between the Sea and Sky was no exception.
I could also relate to the characters' feelings of not quite belonging. Many of the characters march to the beat of a different drummer, and I liked how Jaclyn Dolamore emphasized that it is okay to be different.
Wait, is this historical fantasy??
Um, not so much (unless you're a real Anything Goes-er). So why are we including it? Well, Jaclyn Dolamore's other series IS historical fantasy (as far as our definition is concerned) and this is her latest book so we thought we'd give our support. Afterall, our goal is much more about highlighting good books than it is about being strict with categories.
Cute, simple, sweet. It didn't blow my mind and I doubt I'll remember the details for very long, but I'd happily read it again sometime.
This is not an action-packed story, so don't expect a whole lot of plot depth or excitement. But there IS a good, simple plotline that works and sets a nice frame for the characters to move around in. The pacing is moderate and steady and the third-person narrative voice reminded me of a fairy tale (distant, but nice).
Good for YA/adult audiences looking for something in the lighter fairy tale vein, but probably appropriate for MG readers as well.
Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key
Do you have any questions about Between the Sea and Sky that I haven't addressed?
Feel free to ask in the comments!
Feel free to ask in the comments!
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