Monday, November 14, 2011
Blog Tour Review: Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore
Now that Esmerine has finally become a siren, she can’t wait to guard the underwater mermaid world from overly curious humans alongside her older sister Dosia. But when Dosia seems to have been kidnapped by humans, it is up to Esmerine to enter the human world and find news about Dosia. Esmerine is forced to accept the reluctant help of Alander, the winged young man who used to be her friend and taught her how to read. But it’s been years since they’ve talked, and they are now, more than ever, aware of the great differences that separate them. What happy ending can occur for these former friends who have come from such different worlds?
BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY is a mermaid book for those who are wary of books categorized by the particular creatures that inhabit the stories. Told in Jaclyn Dolamore’s trademark writing style—straightforward narration that nevertheless paints a lush magical world—BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY is a charming story that, while not perfect, is still a quick and enjoyable read.
Much like in her debut novel Magic Under Glass, Jaclyn Dolamore has the quiet but valuable ability of deftly portraying elaborate new worlds with no over-fanfare. The first few chapters pulled me completely into the unfamiliar mermaid world of Dolamore’s creation, where magic lanterns are borrowed as a sign of status and being chosen as a siren is one of the highest honors a mermaid can receive. Mermaids, humans, winged people, and who knows what else exist in an unusual society that nevertheless seems to operate in a completely natural and self-contained manner—the mark, in my opinion, of a skilled world-building writer.
Where this book falters a bit is in plot and pacing. BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY starts out so engagingly, with the introduction of this new mermaid world, and the somewhat uneasy dynamics between the different creatures. Unfortunately, I felt that the plot was rather uneven: for a great amount of time, Esmerine is simply waiting to hear of news about her sister, and then the next thing we know she and Alander are off on a confoundingly simple adventure to seek Dosia. I say “confounding” because, with such a wonderful beginning to a novel, I really wanted more from the plot.
That being said, BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY is a humbly sparkling story that will make for a sweet read one quiet afternoon. If you are a fan of mermaids or Magic Under Glass, Jaclyn Dolamore’s sophomore novel is not to be missed!
Cover discussion: A gorgeous work of art, befitting the world of this book.
Bloomsbury / Oct. 25, 2011 / Hardcover / 240pp. / $16.99
eGalley courtesy of publisher and NetGalley.