book review: BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY by Jaclyn Dolamore
Dolamore, Jaclyn. Between the Sea and Sky. New York: Bloomsbury, 2011.
Similar Books: Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore; Sun, Mon, Ice, Snow by Jessica Day George; Sirena by; Forbidden Sea by Shelia A. Nielson; Ella Enchanted by
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
It was not every day that a mermaid became a siren, and not every day that Esmerine attended such a party. It seemed just yesterday that she had moped at home while her older sister, Dosinia, had spent the week in a whirlwind of ceremony and celebration for her siren’s debut. Now Esmerine’s turn had come.
When it comes to renewing one of the Classics with a genre twist, Dolamore is masterful. Magic Under Glass was Jane Eyre in a steampunk world. And now we have Between the Sea and Sky, which retells the story of The Little Mermaid mashed with Pride and Prejudice in afantasy setting.
While the book didn’t hit the emotional depth of either original (or some of the other mermaid stories, like Donna Jo Napoli’s Sirena), it does have a great world with amusing characters to share. The storyline loosely follows the Pride and Prejudice plot, within a world of such beauty and intensity that I’d love to vacation there. All the side characters the protagonist runs into along her journey are unique and memorable, with special focus on the differing worlds and cultures in the book. I loved the unique element of the sky people with wings, and how the world has to interact with them as well as the mermaids. Rumors spread and prejudices happen. The romance is so sweet and earnest that I was just begging for Esmerine and Alander to get together by the end of the book.
Overall, a very satisfying read.
Suggested Reader Age:Perfect for middle-grade or YA readers, with no older themes to cause concern for younger readers.