Monday, 16 March 2015

Drowning Mermaids, by Nadia Scrieva

1 star

Being up to my eyeballs in painkillers thanks to some extremely painful back problems, I thought I’d turn to some brain candy whilst I convalesce. Unfortunately, Drowning Mermaids was more fit for rotting the brain and I can only assume that the high rating this has garnered on Goodreads must mean that every other reader was on far stronger painkillers than I, with the highest dosage having been taken by the writer just before she started scribbling as most of this book made no freaking sense whatsoever.

Aazuria is working as a ballet dancing stripper to finance a mermaid war when she meets Trevain, an extremely wealthy fisherman. Taking him up on the offer of moving herself and her sisters into his home they fall in insta-love, although their happiness is threatened by the fact that Aazuria is the leader of an underwater nation at war and that Trevain can’t help but piss himself laughing every time she alludes to being a mermaid. Will their love survive? Will I find the book littered with incredibly strange sentences? Will I get pissed at the weird strain of sexism on display? Will I roll my eyes hard enough for them to fall out of my head every time a doorbell rings demurely? Will I become angrily confused by the shoddy world-building? 

In this world mermaids don’t have tails, which explains how Aazuria can get a job as a stripping ballet dancer. Instead, they’re human – albeit ones that have grown a second set of lungs (not gills) that can somehow filter oxygen from water (where these lungs are housed in their bodies is beyond me, as they don’t have extremely large ribcages to accommodate them). Their legs, however, become wracked with pain if they spend too much time on land – although this only seems to affect Aazuria (and someone who later turns out to be a merman) and didn’t seem to influence the mermaid architects when building their underwater ice palaces in which lots of waterless caverns have been carved out for some reason that made absolutely no sense (along with them having carpeted some of these caverns. Where did they get the carpets? Did they have to strip to pay for them? How were they fitted in the ice caves? And why??)

The mermaids seem to have some powers but they’re crap ones like being slightly intuitive, only aging on land and having your hair and skin change colour when not in the water (this is apparently due to tanning, which somehow turns your platinum blonde hair dark and which only affects some mermaids, but not all – the twins remained flame-haired and fair skinned whether they were underwater or not). Despite not having powerful tails, they’re still incredibly fast and strong swimmers, easily able to catch up with boats that have set off long before them. Which would have been fine, except that meant that I was incredibly bewildered by a bunch of mermaid reinforcements arriving by boat in the middle of an underwater battle – a battle in which bullets, kicks, punches, people and throwing knives all move in the same way that they do on land (ever tried to punch someone underwater? It seems my brother and I did more research during family holidays than Scrieva ever did). 

The characters and their love affair were written with the same lack of skill as the world in which they lived – Aazuria is apparently a brave and strong ruler of her people, although she constantly abandoned them to seek her own safety on land, and we’re constantly told that Trevain is kind, considerate and honourable although what we’re shown is a man who’s decided that visiting the mother he has installed in a psychiatric hospital is too much bother, who throws temper tantrums when things don’t go his own way, insults and belittles the woman he supposedly loves and even goes for her throat when they disagree. I spent rather a lot of time hoping that Trevain would get harpooned in the chest by the evil, black clad mermaids (that’s how we know they’re evil) that Aazuria was at war with, and that she’d be so grief-stricken that we’d get to see exactly how one would go about drowning a mermaid. Instead, after vanquishing her enemies Aazuria got her happy-ever-after, with Trevain’s mermaid genes (lucky!) enabling him to join her in her ice palace (good luck to her, I wonder if he’ll choke her every time he gets sick of seafood?).

Honestly, the only good things I took from this book were that reading it was so painful it made my back pale in comparison, and that if I decided to abandon my job and write instead, nothing I could produce (even out of my mind on painkillers) could be any worse than this.

1 comment:

  1. I have just downloaded iStripper, so I can watch the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.