Monstrous Beauty

12971662Author: Elizabeth Fama
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
Series: N/A
Genre: Fantasy, Supernatural, Romance

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.



I had a feeling that I was going to love this book. Fama was able to intertwine several of my favorite motifs in to one novel: mermaids, ghosts, and history. While this story appealed to me and what I love, this is NOT your typical YA fantasy, it is dark, and marginally adult. I found this mesmerizing book to be engrossing; however I feel that it will appeal to a more literary crowd rather than a YA crowd.

Syrenka made a giant mistake: she fell in love. She fell in a love so deep that she was willing to curse an entire line of women for over a century to only prolong her one true love: Ezra.

Hester has decided to never love. All women who do love in her family die within mere days of delivering their daughters; therefore, Hester has not only decided to never procreate, but has decided that the only true way to prevent this is to vow to never love. She was all too wrong.

The book alternates between the past (Syrenka) and the present (Hester) to give the true story about how a love so strong can go so wrong.

This story contains monsters, creepy locations (cemeteries), love, betrayal, hate and thievery. However, mermaid lovers beware: the Disney pretty princess Ariel version of the dreaded Siren is NOT present in this story. This stories monsters are more kin to the traditional Siren than the finned princess Ariel.

This book is recommended for lovers of Laini Taylor, Edith Hamilton, and for adults that don’t typically venture in to the Young Adult section.

“The Siren waits thee, singing song for song.” Walter Savage Landor





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