Who DOESN'T Love Mermaids?
The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan
Story 16-year-old Lena has three problems:
1.) She lives with her dad, Stepmom and half brother (it's not easy,)
2.) All she wants for her birthday is surfing lessons, but her dad doesn't even like Lena swimming in the ocean for some reason so that makes surfing difficult, and
3.) She sleepwalks on the beach at night.
But one day, while she's swimming while her friends surf, Lena sees a woman off in the distance... with a... tail? Could it be a mermaid? Lena is dying to see the mermaid again, so while she's in a secret surf lesson from her boyfriend's sister, she jets off to "Magic's," one of the most dangerous surf spots ever.
After snagging a surf board and attempting to surf a giant wave, Lena is knocked off the board and almost drowns. Luckily, a mermaid saves her -- the same one she saw earlier! -- and gives her a strange key.
Lena searches to find they keyhole that the key fits into and eventually discovers a secret compartment in the floor of the attic of her dad's house, (what?!?!?) that has a comb and a mirror inside. But instead of showing Lena her reflection, it shows her the mermaid, who turns out to be her supposedly dead mother! (Plot twist!)
Lena returns to the water to find her mother who then gives her a magic coat that allows Lena to breathe underwater. Lena's mother shows her the mermaid's colony and introduces her to her mermaid relatives; Lena even meets a handsome merman named Nix. Romance ensues.
After spending time in the mermaid colony, Lena starts to feel like she just doesn't belong -- after all, she's just a human in an underwater breathing coat. She wishes she had a tail.
And, strangely, the longer she's under the sea with the merpeople, Lena finds it harder and harder to remember important things like her father and her stepmother (there's no mention of the half brother so I'm guessing she doesn't mind forgetting him.)
Scroll down through this part if you want to get straight to my review. If you want to know how the story ends, read on, Reader:
Ending Lena goes to a sea god in search of a tail, but to no avail. So she goes to her mother who tells her that she can take off her magic coat and still breathe underwater if she truly believes it in her heart.
It takes a while for Lena to be brave enough to shed the coat, but when she does, everything is fine and she can breathe like a mermaid. Right around this time, her mother re-discovers her old comb and mirror and shows Lena their old memories on land.
Lena remembers her human family and says she needs to go home, but only after she talks to her mermaid grandmother, who cursed her father and his kin (including Lena). The curse? If anyone from their family ever sets foot in the ocean she would send sharks after them. (Nice, grandma!)
Lena gets mer-granny to revoke the curse, but the elder only does so with one condition -- Lena can never contact the merfolk again, including Mermom. Sadly, Lena agrees and swims up out of the ocean. She returns home, dumps her land-lubing boyfriend (because she's still in love with Nix; how could you ever find anything better than a mer-boo?)
Now that the curse has been lifted, Lena and her family can surf again without risk of certain death from sharks. Hooray!
Review When I first got this book a year ago, I was so exited. I love dragons, unicorns, and mermaids too! I even went through Mermaid Training when I was in Hawaii (see photo proof to the right.) I couldn't wait to dive into this tale!
But when I read The Mermaid's Mirror, I was disappointed. It takes a least half the book for the story to finally get interesting, and even then, it's predictable and anticlimactic.
But in saying that -- the side story was interesting. And the backstory of Lena's mom and dad is true to mermaid legend (per my extensive research on mermaid folklore,) AND The Mermaid's Mirror has a fresh new twist on the whole mermaid thing, which I do respect.
The ending of this book can be interpreted as sad or happy. I myself could not decide; it kind of left me cold-fish.
At the end of the day, I say that The Mermaid's Mirror is an interesting read for fantasy and mermaid fans alike. Read it, you may just love it -- or not.