Daily Archives: September 21, 2012

by Emm Cole

This reviewer has read quite a bit of  “Mer-fiction” as research for his own novel and has noticed that a lot of the stories fall into a somewhat predictable pattern such as human girl/boy meets a mer- man/maid who is/may be a prince/princess. While there is nothing particularly wrong with that sort of scenario – and a good number of this reviewer’s favourite stories do fit this mould – he is nonetheless always on the look-out for something different and Emm Cole’s Merminia certainly fits the bill. Indeed, it is different – very different – from the usual fare.

The scene is set when the two sons of a deceased king go to war against each other over how their father’s kingdom was divided between them. It is a bloody and terrible conflict that envelops not only the opposing armies but the land and sea as well. The daughter of one of the combatants creates a ring from gifts given to her by her father and uncle in order to create a magic spell. She sacrifices the ring – and herself – to the sea so that the fates may step in and halt this bloody conflict.

For once, the fates keep their side of the bargain by enveloping her father and his subjects in the sea and rendering them as mer-folk. Her uncle’s subjects are confined to the land and cursed with shorter lives and illnesses. Alessia’s father finds her ring but never recovers his daughter. While his restraint in not using the ring is rewarded by the fates, his people squabbled over whether his inaction was good or bad. After his death, the people separate themselves into different clans based on the differing gifts bestowed upon the mermaids and history repeats itself as these clans engage in internecine warfare. It is here that the main story begins.

Selinne is the daughter of the hereditary chief of the Merminians and is not your typical mermaid. Indisposed to gossiping and adorning herself, she swims to a different drum and often finds herself in situations requiring rescue by her adoring adopted brother. The leader of the Litiant clan has been conducting a ruthless search for Adessa’s ring unaware of the fact that one of his sons had found and hidden the ring when he was as child. Ms Cole’s spellbinding story revolves around the conflict between the rival clans and one chief’s thirst for ultimate power.

The reader should not think for one moment that this is simply a sub-aquatic version of Lord of The Rings. While there are sea-dragons and other fearsome beasts, there are no mer-hobbits. Merminia is a story of conflict, capture, brutality, horror, betrayal and love with an ending that is not necessarily a happy one for the main characters.

Emm Cole’s Merminia  is a compelling story that should keep most readers entranced. The book itself is a very clean read with few – if any – typos, grammatical errors or misused words. That in and of itself garners high marks from this reviewer. While it is not a “happily ever after” kind of story, the reader will want to reach the end so that they can put all of the pieces together and ponder the unanswered questions. The story itself is a dark one but leaves this reviewer with a sense of hope for Selinne and her clan.

Overall, this is a very YA-friendly novel though, because of the darker elements of the plot, this reviewer would recommend it for older young adults. The story does not scream “Young Adult Fiction” and not-so-young adults will enjoy it as well. Merminia’s story arc lends itself more to a stand-alone novel rather than the first of a series. While trilogies seem to be the thing in Young Adult Fiction nowadays, the fact that this appears to be a one-off helps to make it more engaging and unique. While this novel is Ms Cole’s first venture into the underwater realm of mer-fiction, this reviewer earnestly hopes that it will not be her last and that adults – both young and otherwise – will have another opportunity to enjoy Emm Cole’s considerable story-telling skills and prowess as a writer.

Emm Cole’s website is at http://emmcole.com/     Read our interview with Emm Cole

My Rating:

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Paperback Kindle


Read a sample of Merminia[embed_kindle asin=”B008VJ938C”]

Microsoft has an uphill battle on its hands. Apple’s iPad owns 80% of the market. The other 20 % belongs to Samsung’s Galaxy offerings, Google’s Nexus 7, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, etc. and etc.  The market floor is littered with also-rans and products that got off the launch-pad – like HP’s TouchPad – but were aborted in mid-flight.

With the advent of the touch-centric Windows 8 operating system and the Surface tablet range, Microsoft is going to have to come out swinging if they want to have a decent chance of making a significant dent in the market, let alone Apple’s iPad behemoth. Of course, there are Microsoft loyalists who face Redmond twice a day in prayer just as there are Apple Loyalists who face Cupertino and threaten jihad against anyone who suggests that even a few i-Products may be behind the technological curve. To be sure, those hard-core loyalists will help to boost sale of the Surface tables when the first one makes its debut a month from now but what about the long-term? Geek.com suggests that one of Microsoft’s secret weapons could be the ubiquitous MS Office.

Redmond has already announced that they will release a version of Office 13 that will run on the Surface RT which is based on the ARM processor platform. This is a good thing because at the moment, RT-compatible apps are few and far between. The RT version of Office 13 will be a tablet-optomised version of the Home & Student edition that contains Word, Excel, Power Point and OneNote, the greatest little application that you’ve probably never even heard of.  To the continuing chagrin of all who purchase Home & Student, this version does not include the indispensable Outlook application and that tradition will continue with Office RT. Whether there will be a RT compatible version of Outlook available as a separate purchase remains to be seen.

Office RT will come bundled with the Surface RT tablet and will not be available as a stand-alone product. As to whether or not this is a good thing, only time will tell. However, a tablet that already comes with most of the features from the world’s most popular office suite could well give Microsoft a competitive edge amongst new tablet purchasers as well as those who have been sitting on the fence waiting for a truly viable iPad alternative to come along. We’ll see in a little over a month.

Suggested Reading:

The article from Geek.com about the RT-Office combination

Microsoft’s Office blog which talks about Office-RT

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