Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book Review: Between the Sea and the Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore

Title: Between the Sea and the Sky
Author: Jaclyn Dolamore
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ARC, 230 pages
Date Published: October 25, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
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.
Between the Sea and the Sky is the first mermaid book I’ve ever read and it has left me wanting so much more. As far as fairytales go, Jaclyn Dolamore’s sophomore effort provokes a vivid and whimsical image of lavish gowns and historical stylings, mixed in with a good deal of folklore and fantasy.

Esmerine is a mermaid unlike any other. First off, she’s a siren – a rare and esteemed role given to few girls – and second, she loves the land and the mermaid-shunned Fandarsee, or winged people. Her childhood friendship with Alander, a Fandarsee, sets her apart from all other merpeople instantly and this sense of being a bit of an outcast will resonate with readers. Esmerine’s longings for something more root the book in reality because we all feel that, we all want that. She wants to explore and move outside the only world she’s known, but she’s also terrified at the same time.

Much like Alander – now Alan – Esmerine fears what others will think of her. Alan is very different from Esmerine, but also very much the same. He’s a little rough around the edges at first, but it’s easy to warm up to him after a time. Esmerine and Alan both have this devotion to books and reading that made me feel why I love to read too. Jaclyn Dolamore’s take on mermaid and Fandarsee folklore isn’t your typical Disney-esque happily ever after. Mermaids on land suffer. A lot. And Fandarsee – I’ve never even heard of them before – have more responsibility and expectations than you can imagine.

Put both a mermaid and a Fandarsee together and what you have is an almost impossible love story. Between the Sea and the Sky is more than just about star-crossed lovers or doomed romance. It’s about devotion to family, childhood friendship, imagination, and vivid worlds both above and below the water. The sea can be felt in each page and Esmerine’s longing for it – when she’s away searching for her sister – is palpable. If you love mermaids, this is a book for you. If you don’t love mermaids, give Between the Sea and the Sky a chance because you just might grow to love them.

Opening line: It was not every day that a mermaid became a siren, and not every day that Esmerine attended such a party. ~ pg. 2

Favorite line/passage: They might have been the only people in the world. They were free of all the trappings of earthly existence, just two bodies, shooting like the beams of the morning sun. ~ pg. 136

*This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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Candace said...

I'm not a huge fan of mermaid stories, I've read a few and wasn't really blown away, but this sounds interesting and the story line may be a bit more to my liking. I may have to give it a try sometime!

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