Nov 16, 2011

Review - Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore

Between the Sea and Sky by Jacklyn Dolamore
October 25th, 2011 from Bloomsbury USA

For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren--the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood--a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.

We meet mermaid Esmerine the night she becomes a siren. She is nervous and excited to be spending time with her sister, Dosia, another siren. The two have always been close and as children they would make their way up to the surface often. On one of those occasions, they befriended a Fandarsee boy named Alander. The other merefolk did not like the relationship with the winged boy, but Esmerine cherished her friendship with Alander. He taught Esmerine how to read and opened up a whole new world for her until the day he told Esmerine that he would not be returning to the sea. She was devastated, but her life went on and we fast forward to the present. After her sister Dosia does not return one evening, Esmerine must venture out and find out what happened to Dosia. Was her siren belt stripped away and was she now enslaved to a human man? Or, did she simply walk away from her life as a mermaid and give her belt to a human in order to have legs forever? Esmerine knows that the she can't find her sister alone. She must find her childhood friend, Alander.

I must admit that I am not a mermaid expert, I haven't read very many mere based books. I was fascinated with the description of underwater sea life. How mermaids interacted, ate, and even resided in underwater homes was all very interesting to me. I honestly would have enjoyed the whole story set in the sea. But, Esmerine grew a pair of legs and walked right out of that ocean - another fascinating chapter! Esmerine is such a brave character. She is essentially on her own and has basically no experience with humans. Luckily for her, she understands a bit about what happens on land thanks to Alendar's books. Gotta love that.

The reunion between teenagers Esmerine and Alander, now just Alan, doesn't go as Esmerine envisioned. He isn't exactly thrilled to see her and although he agrees to help Esmerine find her sister, Alan is distance and reserved. His behavior leaves Esmerine confused and longing for her home in the sea even more. Their journey isn't full of turmoil and danger like I was anticipating, but it isn't exactly a piece of cake. It is physically exhausting for the two especially for Alan because he carries Esmerine on his back while flying. Interesting...

The mystery regarding the disappearance of Dosia wasn't what I expected either. At one point I thought she had been robbed of her siren belt and she was living a miserable existence cleaning houses. Then later I thought that she had been hiding a relationship from her family and she simply walked away from her life as a mermaid. The mystery builds and when Esmerine finds Dosia, we all learn of her whereabouts. Things get pretty interesting and Esmerine is surprised to say the least.

This story is about all about where you fit in and what life you choose regardless of what is expected. Esmerine and Alan both take risks and defy the odds. Between the Sea and Sky is a love story that has such a fitting title. It is all about what two people are willing to sacrifice to be between the sea and sky - to be together. Great for 12+

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You can find Dolamore at her website
Thank you, Bloomsbury for the chance to read.