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Review: Between the Sea and Sky

December 5, 2011

Title: Between the Sea and Sky
Author: Jaclyn Dolamore
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pages: 240
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Format: ARC Tour by Good Choice Reading (Thank you!)

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 Alander, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alander 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.—Goodreads

The problem with writing a book about mermaids is that the demographic of readers in YA is probably familiar with Disney’s The Little Mermaid and will then, even if they try really hard not to, compare it to the beloved movie. As I picked up this book to read it I said, literally out loud, “I will not compare this to The Little Mermaid.”

And then about halfway through I found myself thinking, “Esmerine is sort of a mix of Ariel and Belle.” (And she really is.) I just couldn’t help myself. But that aside, Between the Sea and Sky (btw, I adore the title) is a really sweet little love story.

However, I had a couple issues with the book. The first is that the main premise of the book—Esmerine leaves her water world to search for her sister Dosinia when she goes missing and Esmerine is JUST SURE she’s been kidnapped by those evil, lustful human men—annoyed me. I couldn’t understand why Esmerine never considered that Dosinia had run away (this isn’t a spoiler, as it’s in the description provided to Goodreads by Bloomsbury). It was just so obvious to me and I sort of wanted to slap some sense into Esmerine.

Then, and this is admittedly a small thing, I couldn’t ever figure out what was going on with the time period. Sometimes the clothing and settings and even speech patterns used seemed very Renaissance, and then without any reason at all, it would switch to something akin to Jazz Age America. It probably shouldn’t have been such a big deal, but I was seriously distracted by it.

In the end, the story is very sweet. If you love mermaids and quests for identity and run-away sisters and like books that are light on the sexytimes, you’ll love this book.

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