Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Mermaid's Madness

I threatened to do this and now I've followed through. After enjoying Jim C. Hine's first Princess book The Stepsister Scheme I decided to read the next in the series; The Mermaid's Madness.

The cover is more fun from Scott Fischer, this time he's gone with a Pirates of the Carribean theme, which makes sense considering the subject material. Hines used the Hans Christian Andersen story of The Little Mermaid as his back drop for this instalment. I have to say that Snow White makes a very fetching pirate, too.

Queen Bea is attacked by a faction of undines or mermaids led by Lirea, the mad mermaid princess, and lies close to death. It's up to Cinders, Beauty and Snow to come to the rescue again. The author has continued to call the girls by the lesser known names of Danielle (Cinderella), Talia (Sleeping Beauty) and Snow (Snow White, although her real name is Ermillia). Again it's Talia and Snow that share most of the heavy lifting with Danielle getting in the way a lot of the time, unless they need assistance from sharks or kelpies. As in the first book the other two could have left Danielle at home with her new baby Jakob, and still gotten the job done.

I know these are all about girl power, but it would be nice to see at least one male character that isn't either useless or incompetently evil. I had hopes for Varisto, but he turned out to be as largely inconsequential as every other male character in the first book and this one.

Having said that I liked the feisty dryad ship's captain Hephyra and he also kept me guessing for a lot of the book as to who was the real villain of the piece: Lirea or her grandmother Morveren. The juvenile undine queen Lannadae was great for a cuteness factor, too.

I preferred The Stepsister Scheme, but that could be due to unfamiliarity with the story that The Mermaid's Madness is based on. I also struggle with stories set largely at sea. They just don't float my boat (pun intended) as such.

The brewing love triangle between Talia and Snow and the fact that Snow simply isn't wired that way is also interesting and will be fun to see where Hines takes that in Red Hood's Revenge. Yeah, I'm hooked.

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