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Thursday, August 19, 2010

"The Forbidden Sea" by Sheila A. Nielson (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Sheila A. Nielson's Blog Here
Order The Forbidden Sea from Amazon Here

OVERVIEW: Over 100 years ago the Lady Lauretta feel in love with the Prince of the Sea. When her father heard of this he barred her door and wouldn't allow Lauretta to meet with the Prince of the Sea. In retaliation the mermaids caused destructive storms to wreck the crops and farms of the small island. The only way to make the storms go away was to sacrifice Lauretta to the mermaids in an attempt to calm things over. Or so the stories and legend tells it.

Advance 100 years from this tale. Adrianne comes face to face with one of the mermaids, while trying to protect her sister. It appears as if the mermaids are after Adrianne's sister and want to take her down to their castle, but why? What could these mermaids want? Adrianne , marked with a unique injury from the mermaids, takes on the task of protecting her sister from the mermaids and the call of the ocean. These encounters with the mermaid must be kept from the islanders for if they know they will insist that one of them must be sacrificed to the ocean in order to appease the mermaids.

Is it possible that the person the mermaids are trying to seek isn't Adrianne's sister but is actually Adrianne?

FORMAT: The Forbidden Sea is a YA adventure/fantasy with elements of romance in it. It stands at 256 pages and was released by Scholastic Press on July 1, 2010.

ANALYSIS: From past reviews it was pretty evident that I enjoy any story of mermaids. For the most part I've been a bit disappointed as the mermaids were only briefly mentioned in the novels that they were supposed to star in. Lucky for me, Forbidden Sea arrived and contained everything I could have possibly imagined in a mermaid novel. And yes, the mermaids actually are a part of this novel.

Imagine for a moment taking the story of the Little Mermaid and Cinderella and combining them. That's exactly what Forbidden Sea does but with it's own twists and turns. There are elements where the mermaids and humans fall in love, and girl who longs to be in the sea but a father who doesn't all elements of The Little Mermaid. While on the other hand we have the Cinderella elements with Adrianne and her family which used to be part of the elite members of society but after her father's death the family is forced to live in a small cottage and resort to the charity of others. While it might sound a bit of an awkward mix of stories, it works.

Sheila A. Nielson is a new comer to writing and really makes a splash (no pun intended). From the first pages of Forbidden Sea I was hooked. She knew just when to end a chapter that left me hanging and wanting to know more about the story and characters. I read this novel in 2 days and would gladly re-read it again. I enjoyed this story that much. Another great element of Nielson's writing is that she knows just when to reveal elements of the "mystery" involved to keep readers up to speed but not knowing everything. A feat that not every writer is successful at achieving on their first novel.

While I enjoyed this novel a lot and would readily recommend it to any lover of fantasy/fairy tales there were two things that keep nagging me about this book.

First, the main character Adrianne was this strong, confident character. However when it came to looks and such she was this humble girl who was always thinking she didn't look good or was never good enough. While I understood why she thought this of herself given the circumstances, I almost felt like this part of the book was over emphasized to the point that I wanted to scream "Oh come on you don't really believe that". I just had a hard time believing that she was always so down about her looks and the way she was with guys.

The other element was the way that the novel ended. There are a lot of questions that I still had at the ending of the book. I wanted to know more about what happened after. This could have been done to leave the readers to make their own conclusions but I would have liked to see some answers for the questions I had.

Overall, Sheila A Nielson is an amazing writer with a great future ahead of her. There was just the right amount of fantasy/romance/fairy tales to keep any type of reader happy and for once someone made a mermaid book with actual mermaids in it! Nielson has some amazing talent and I'd readily read any book she writes in the future!


Ελλάδα said...

I read this book last week and found myself engulfed in a fantastical world with real, believable characters and beautiful, lyrical descriptions of the island of Windwaithe and the Merfolk kingdom. This book is solid and well-written, up there with all the best fantasy novels but with a new twist. It's a suspenseful, compelling story and has a satisfying ending.

Anonymous said...

Sheila has updated her blog that she's creating a sequel for this awesome book and I really can't wait for it to come out.


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