Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

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  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Source: eARC provided by Publisher via NetGalley for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

Overview

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.


My Thoughts

This book was dark, creepy, and fantastic. With a mixture of mermaids, old myths, and ghosts it was a major win for me! Going back and forth from 1872/1873 to present day, learning what really happened and also watching Hester try to uncover the mystery of her curse was so great. I really loved how they merged together. At times I thought that maybe some of the writing was a bit mature for YA, but I did read an ARC for this review and some of the more mature content could have been removed. Putting that aside this was an incredible book. The characters were well developed and the way the story flowed, even with jumping back and forth, was great!

Since we go back and forth we have two main characters.  Syrenka (or Sarah) and Hester. I liked them both. Syrenka just wants to find love and be happy. She has a few unfortunate situations and they eventually lead to a family curse that passes from generation to generation. Now Hester wants to discover if there is a way to stop the curse short of never loving or having children. As we discover the things that Syrenka goes through, in present time Hester is slowly starting to unravel the past. Hester was a great character. You could feel her desperation the deeper into the situation she got. The only thing I didn't like was how she really started to just be flat out mean to the people around her and it was like the only thing that mattered was Ezra. I admired her strength to do what she had to though. 

This story is dark. It has some more mature content in it and some pretty gross scenes. (The more gory the better for me!!) I really enjoyed the darker tone of this book. It really created a fantastic atmosphere that was easy to get swept up in. I loved how things really connected. The writing was fantastic too. I felt that the settings were described really well and I could see myself in the book along with the characters. It's funny how when I really enjoy a book sometimes I just don't know what to say. I feel that way about this one. I don't want to really get into it because I don't want to give anything away. If you are looking for a dark read that doesn't hold much back, this is definitely a book for you. 4 out of 5 stars 

14 comments:

  1. I love dark and creepy! I'm all for gore! LOL Very excited to read this one! So curious about the curse. Interesting that it switches back and forth from the present to the 1872. Hope I can follow along with that. Sometimes flashbacks confuse me. Great review!

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    1. It's very easy to keep up. It's not so much flashbacks. It's more two stories that intertwine.

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  2. Ever since Of Poseidon I've been dying to read another great mer-book. However, this one sounds a little too dark & mature for me. I don't mind a tad bit of gore and a little bit of horror but this one sounds like it's a lot. Thanks for the insightful review. I'd been debating on this book for a while now mostly because I didn't really know what it was about. And now I do, so thanks! Haha.

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    1. It's not scary at all, it just has some brutal killing in it. You can borrow it if you want.

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  3. I love YA that is on the darker side and a bit more mature. After reading Giselle's review and now yours I know I need to get my hands on this! I think I am going to really love it :-) Great review love!

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    1. I think you will like it Jenni! It's really good.

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  4. I didn't realize this one was so dark, but I'll definitely have to check it out now! I had been avoiding it over that author scandal, but perhaps I just won't review it :P Great review!

    Anna
    Literary Exploration

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    1. Yeah, that whole scandal thing almost put me off on it, but I am glad that I read it.

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  5. This one is on its way to me -- thanks for the review. Looking forward to reading it!

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  6. I do like mermaids, but that cover IS creeptastic all on it's own. LOL Glad you enjoyed it. :)

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  7. I agree the cover is creeptastic! Glad you liked it.

    Valerie
    StuckInBooks.com

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  8. I know exactly how you feel about not having much to say. Especially when you don't want to give the plot away. I think Monstrous Beauty seems pretty great. I definitely want to read it now. Great review!

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  9. I am loving the sound of this! Dark, gory, the switching back from 1873 to present? I think I'm gonna love this book. x] I got a pre-ordered copy a few days ago so hopefully I'll be able to read it soon!
    Great review ^__^

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  10. Yayyyy, I'm so happy you loved this. It's so dark but such a great read for the right reader.

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