by Mayda Schaefer

Awaiting Destiny is a cute story whose target audience appears to be ‘Tweens but also provides a fun read for YA’s who need a respite from the day-to-day effort of appearing to be “grown up”. For those readers who are – ahem! – somewhat older than the target audience, Awaiting Destiny can serve as a brief but very pleasant vacation from being an adult.

Destiny Mariner is a thirteen-year-old girl living with her father, Jacob Mariner, aboard his double-masted sailboat, Seadancer, in the Enchanted Cove Marina. Dad owns the marina in addition to working as a boat mechanic and her mother, Shelleen,  . . . well . . . she has been MIA for all of Destiny’s life. One could say that she vanished under mysterious circumstances but her father has no idea about any circumstances at all. All he does know is that newly born Destiny was delivered to the deck of the Seadancer shortly after Shelleen disappeared.

Destiny has grown over the preceding 13 year into a true tomboy. She constantly wears her lucky baseball cap, constantly avoids wearing dresses and the only diamond she wants to see has to do with America’s pass-time. Her favourite foods leave something to be desired – at least to human tastes – as her favourite treat seems to be sardines and ice-cream . . . eaten together.

If the reader has not guessed by now, Destiny’s choice of 2 cans of tuna with a side of diced clams for breakfast has much to do with her mother Shelleen – that’s Princess Shelleen to you – being a mermaid. The story opens with a Mermail-man delivering a package to Destiny in the wee small hours of the night. Destiny doesn’t see the package until after her father has left for a week-long business trip leaving her in charge of the boat. She is thirteen years old after all. The package contains a necklace and a note which instructs her to instructs her to proceed posthaste to Longitude 49; Latitude 129 with the utmost secrecy in order to learn the truth about her mother.

The chance to learn something  – anything – about her mother causes Destiny to throw caution to the winds and get underway in the boat’s dingy. While she is a conscientious sailor and dutifully goes through the pre-departure checklist, she forgets to check the weather advisory and leaves her life jacket on the deck of the Seadancer. The wind kicks up, the seas get rough, the dingy is torn to flinders and Destiny promptly drowns. Well . . . not really; it’s hard to drown a mermaid and Destiny awakes well below the surface, able to breathe salt water and trapped in the remains of the dingy. She is freed from this predicament by a passing merboy named Kincade who informs her that she is not only a mermaid but a princess as well. There is only one problem. Destiny can’t seem to get her mermaid mojo working well enough to swap her legs for a proper tail. (Don’t you just hate it when that happens?)

Kincade hails a manta ray – the only way to travel – and both the merboy and the not-so-much mermaid are off to see the wizard. In this case however, the Emerald City is named Mertopia and the wizard is actually her grandfather, the king.

Awaiting Destiny is one of those stories that is just plain fun. This reviewer always gets a kick out of learning what mer-analogues to life on the surface that the author has created. There are analogues a-plenty in this story but this reviewer is not going to spoil things by revealing what they are. He’s also not going spoil things by revealing the ending. All he will reveal is that the final scenes in Awaiting Destiny are quite touching.

Ms Schaefer has done a wonderful job of world-building in this story and it is a well written story at that. There are only two glaring errors that this reviewer feels he must point out:

  1. There is no such thing as longitude 129. Longitude is denoted as anything from +90 to -90 degrees.
  2. She refers to the flowing fin portion of a mer-tail as flutes when the proper term is flukes. (This reviewer is going to put his BS in Biology to some use after all!)

Don’t let these very minor slip-ups put you off. It is well worth your time to read Awaiting Destiny and Ms Schaefer’s skills as a story-teller are quite good. In fine, it is a fun and funny novel suitable for just about everyone. While the story arc of Awaiting Destiny lends itself to a stand-alone novel, there is plenty of room for one or two sequels and this reviewer hopes that Ms Schaffer will give this prospect due consideration.

My Rating:

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Read a sample of Awaiting Destiny

[embed_kindle asin=”B009W9HQR0″]

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