Saturday, August 4, 2012

Review: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Title: Monstrous Beauty
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (September 4, 2012)
Source: ARC Provided By the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
 Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

My Review:

I am going to admit right away that I don't always like mermaid stories. I like the idea of them and I truly loved mermaids as a child so there is still that slight magical bit of mystery about them that surfaces for me every now and then but it seems like the past few mermaid type books I have read haven't been all the great so I tend to be a little leery of them and try to pick and choose them accordingly.

I was so pleased when I started reading this one, especially when I came into it not expecting much (awful but true!), that is wasn't your typical mermaid/siren read.

Right away I could tell this was going to be something fun. Something not like the others and that I was really going to enjoy it.

I wasn't wrong. This is so much more than a story about mermaids. It is a story about time and magic and curses and yes, even ghosts.

This definitely isn't a Disney movie and Syrenka is no Ariel.

The writing in this is wonderful, so full of description and action and it just keeps you turning the pages wanting more.

And while some parts were predictable other parts completely blew me away and I didn't see them coming.

The story jumps back and forth between present day and 1873-1873, we even get a little bit of the 1500's thrown in for good measure.

The whole story is put together very nicely and I felt all the characters were developed just enough to give us little hints and clues along the way and to hold the story together without giving away too much at the beginning.

Fama did a wonderful job with this story, my only regret is that we didn't get just a little bit more at the end. I would have loved to see an epilogue for Hester and not just for Syrenka.

To listen to a clip of the book in audiobook form please click below!!


  1. I have had this one for months and I am so happy to hear that it is different as I am extremely burned out on mermaids right now! I am looking forward to this now!

  2. I know what you mean Heidi! That is why I rarely read them, I hope you end up liking this one too. :)