Tangled Tides by Karen Amanda Hooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
On her eighteenth birthday, Treygan turns Yara into a mermaid against her will… and that's just the beginning. Tangled up in an underwater world of mysterious merfolk and secretive selkies, Yara discovers both sides want her for her ability to fulfil a broken a promise and open the sealed gateway to their realm, but they are battling over how it should be done. The selkies want to take her life, but the merfolk want something far more precious...
I'm stingy with my 5 stars, I admit it, but this book certainly comes close. If I could award half stars, I would. As it is, I've got to settle on 4, but I do believe it deserves more.
I enjoyed this book a lot. It starts fast, with just enough time to introduce the main characters, before Yara is whisked away. As a new mermaid, we learn about her world along with her, the author adding information as it is pertinent to the story. I never felt as though I was being given a history lesson. The author's attention to detail, while never overstepping into the realms of the description detracting from the story, paints a stunning underwater world, with a hierarchy and a history - all the details needed to believe a place is real, including the mythology behind its creation.
Yara was very easy to like. A stubborn, compassionate girl, who wouldn't just take Treygan's word for anything in the beginning, she ultimately grew into a character who had the strength and courage to help everyone, if only she could summon it.
I loved watching Treygan change from being exasperated by Yara to letting his feelings for her grow, despite the side of her she didn't know - the side that would keep them apart.
I was also intrigued by Rownan. I think part of me expects a clean-cut villain, but I can't even describe Rownan as a villain. The author created a very rounded character, with strong motivations, that helped me understand why he acted the way he did… even when I didn't like it.
The plot kept up the pace, with moments of action interspersed with moments of learning and character development. I got to halfway and didn't want to put the book down. By the final third, the story hurtled on to a conclusion the author cleverly kept hidden from the reader, despite the first person POV.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, some romance, and has a love for all things under the sea, real or mythological.