Review: SPEAK THE OCEAN by Rebecca Enzor
New Adult Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, Retellings
That cover is just gorgeous, isn’t it?
It’s SO perfect for the story, too
For Mer handler Finn Jarvis, the feral mermaid performers at Oceanica Marine Park are nothing more than ruthless aquatic predators, violent and unpredictable. That doesn’t stop the public from flocking to one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. To them, the Mer are magical entertainment, too beautiful to be dangerous. They don’t see what happens to the ones who dare swim out of line.
Newly caught Erie doesn’t know what the evil landfolk want from her. Alone and voiceless, she watches the other merfolk from the confines of her tank. Broken into submission, they’ve become shells of the once vibrant creatures she knew. But Erie refuses to be subjugated. She’ll get the crowds to see her as something more than simple entertainment—starting with her captor, Finn.
While Finn trains Erie in her routine, she secretly teaches herself the air-words he and the other trainers speak. And when the language barrier falls, Finn starts to realize that the gap between human and Mer is smaller than he thought, and maybe it’s not the Mer who are monsters, after all.
Set against the backdrop of a familiar and beloved fairy tale, this stunning debut, as brutal as it is beautiful, explores the morality of subjugating other species to the whims of entertainment, daring readers to find humanity in the inhuman.
REVIEW: 5/5 stars
I enjoyed this book quite a bit, it takes an old favorite of mine, jumbles it up and tosses the dice out to retell it in a whole new way.
One of my favorite characters, Niku, is a dolphin, but he’s not anything like Flipper. He’s more like Cujo, and he’s definitely no Flounder. I’d dare anyone to read this just to see what they thought about Niku, simply because I know it’s a more accurate representation of dolphins than Flipper ever was.
Erie, one of the two main characters, is a mermaid more like the mermaids you read of in mythology. She has pointy teeth, claws and is definitely a hunter. She’s also soft, and curious, far more forgiving than I could ever be and wonderful. She’ll probably make you cry.
Finn, oh Finn, you are such an asshole. Sorry, he really is. But! And here was one of the most interesting parts of this book for me, it shows the growth of a university-aged jerk who has always been overindulged into a caring, kind person who *redacted ’cause I’m not about to spoil this for you!*
I loved that Enzor captured that coming-of-age moment for both Finn and Erie. I don’t see a lot of stories (thanks publishing) dealing with that fraught time period between high-school and university. SO MUCH happens to so many of us during that age, between 18 or so and your early to mid 20s, even if university isn’t in the picture. This story did that so very well that I’m kinda left in awe.
Go on, at $4.99 this is a steal of a book. It entertained me for several hours, it’s well-written and at the end, while there were a couple unresolved plot points that leave me hoping rather a lot for a sequel, I was quite happy I’d read it. The climax grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let me stop reading until I’d finished it. (oops, dinner’s gonna be late!!) There’s a decent bit of romantic side action in this, but it’s definitely not a romance, (and being demi, I had to skip the sex scenes because the emotions didn’t support it enough *for me*). I’ll certainly be watching Ms. Enzor in the future and buying her books!
I think fans of Jim Butcher’s DRESDEN FILES might enjoy this book, it has a flavor to it that makes me think of his work.
Content Warnings: VIOLENCE, kidnapping, slavery, abuse, bloodshed, hunting for sustenance, sex (two graphic sex scenes, on page kissing, relationships) alcohol, food, emotional manipulation, representation of Stockholm syndrome, unresolved mental breakdown, PTSD, use of slurs for ASPD.