Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book Review: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Publisher: Macmillan Young Listeners
Publication date: September 2012
Length: 8 hrs, 1 min
Source: Won from Buried in Books
For: Fun

The mermaid Syrenka gives up her former life to be with Ezra, the man she fell in love with. But her transition to land life is anything but easy and leads to many unintended consequences. Over a hundred years later, Hester meets Ezra and is drawn to love him. But her family has been cursed in love for many generations, and she's determined never to love. Will she find a way to break this curse or be doomed to repeat the same pattern?

Things I Liked:
I had a chance to listen to Elizabeth Fama at the Fierce Reads tour in September and I think that helped me enjoy this book more than I would have otherwise.  I really liked that it was not your typical paranormal romance.  It was super creepy and very violent and utterly disturbing.  But it also had the romance (insta-love with a sort-of explanation).  I loved the historical details and the creepy mermaids and lots of other details here and there.  The family history was also something I enjoyed seeing in a YA story.  The writing is really very good too, with obvious historical research well done.  And I got to listen to this one on audio and was pleasantly surprised to discover it was narrated by one of my favorites - Katherine Kellgren.  She does a wonderful job with the voices - Pastor McKee and Noo'kas particularly.  I also liked the interview she does with Elizabeth at the end - partly because we get to learn a bit more about how Kellgren does research on her audios.  Good stuff.

Things I Didn't Like:
I'm not entirely sure what kept me from loving this.  I think I kept being reminded of Holes (which, the author said inspired her outlining and setup) and how good that book was at intertwining the historical timelines.  This one, not so much for me.  I figured things out WAY before our main character (which, ok, she wasn't around back then, but some things felt contrived to keep her in the dark, especially the inscription E.A. Doyle - who uses abbreviations on their headstone?).  Then after I figured it out, it kept being dragged on and on.  The insta-love was unfortunate, if kind of explained.  And the ending was just a shade too strange for me.  The trip Hester makes at the end was just so out of place, I thought, that I kind of lost interest.  I think it bordered on the completely unbelievable, which made the previously firmly grounded setting rather harder to buy.  It's different and very dark, but just not for me.

Impossible by Nancy Werlin (totally kept reminding me of this story)

s-factor: !@#
not a ton, but at least a handful of f-bombs

mrg-factor: XX
quite a bit, one disturbing scene

in gruesome detail at times

Overall rating: *** (that third star was for Katherine Kellgren)

What books have you been disappointed in lately?  

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I completely agree that Katherine Kellgren is a wonderful audiobook narrator! I'm really hoping that my library gets this audiobook because I've kind of become obsessed with listening to audiobooks recently. That's really cool to know that there's an author interview at the end--I love that kind of stuff!

    1. I really liked the interview, almost more than the book :) I'm loving audiobooks recently too!


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