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     Read our interview with Emm Cole

My Rating:

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

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