Showing posts from December, 2023

Review: Seaspoken

For the final day of 2023, let's review one more mermaid book before branching out to other fairy tales in the New Year. Seaspoken  by Sarah Delena White was part of a previous holiday promotion. I was drawn to the title and beautiful cover illustration of two elves swathed in white embracing in front of a stormy sea. Since  Fierce Heart  by Tara Grayce  had a charming interracial elven love story, I hoped this one might be similar. As an added bonus, the female protagonist in Seaspoken  comes from a race that can transform into mermaids while underwater, so what's not to love? The book introduces a strong Romeo and Juliet-style relationship between two warring races , but it lacks the stakes or compelling emotional core of many other similar stories. Seaspoken  includes many traditional princess tropes including arranged marriages , forbidden love , and magical transformations . It contains elements of "The Little Mermaid,"  including an underwater rescue sequence

Review: The Heart of the Sea

There's been a lot of big news for The Little Mermaid  this year. Not only did the live-action movie come out, but we also got a new stage show  of the classic Disney musical with another one on the way for Disney's Hollywood Studios . With that in mind, I was excited to review a gender-bent version of the story from the Once Upon a Prince series, The Silent Prince , a few weeks ago. On that review, I was recommended another gender-bent adaptation called The Heart of the Sea  by Chesney Infalt . In the spirit of the holiday season, I decided to treat myself to it. This book takes place in a more complex world than The Silent Prince  but does not flesh out the details enough to make it an easy read. It relies on the same hit-or-miss storytelling technique as  ABC's Once Upon a Time  in which the timeline constantly shifts between the past and the present with no rhyme or reason. Still, the book presents a touching love story that stays true to the themes of the original f

Review: Time Princess - Infinite Shimmer

Infinite Shimmer is the latest visual novel in Time Princess . It was released in two parts and was well worth the wait. This is easily my favorite new visual novel this year. A great deal of time and effort went into making this an engaging story for long-time players of the app like myself. Infinite Shimmer is unique, beautiful, and insightful. It turns the science fiction genre, which is typically male-oriented, into something feminine and aesthetically pleasing, something that had never been done before except for the Barbie movie, Starlight Adventure , which was mediocre at best. When most people think of cyberpunk, they picture a bunch of depressed people walking around the remains of destroyed buildings carrying deadly weapons to pull on a dime wearing ripped leather and robotic limbs. Though this story takes place in a similar setting, it features an optimistic daydreamer who lives under the safety of a dome and dresses in glamorous pastel iridescent gowns that shift colors in

Review: Mazarine

I had seen some Facebook ads in the past for Mazarine , a mermaid fairytale romance by Cece Louise , so when it came up in a recent holiday promotion, I decided to check it out. Though it is not exactly a retelling of "The Little Mermaid,"  this book has a strong love story with lots of fantasy and adventure. It is part of the Forest Tales series , which contains many fairytale-inspired stories set in the same world. Even though this was the only book I've read so far, I saw several references to characters who were clearly from earlier books. Mazarine  is not named after the main character, but after the Mazarine Sea, which is the area the two protagonists travel through for most of the story. Unlike most mermaid stories, this book follows the "road trip" archetype in which two unlikely heroes must go on a long journey and get to know each other intimately along the way. I did not care much for the male protagonist at first, but like in  Tangled , the heroine s

Review: Princess of Mirrors

One of my favorite series that I have had the pleasure to review is the Fairy Tale Adventures series by AG Marshall . Throughout these books, the author builds a unique fantasy world that breathes new life into many old stories, tying them together in unexpected ways. Princess of Shadows  introduced a new version of "The Princess and the Pea" featuring a legendary shadow warrior who is anything but delicate. Princess of Secrets  gave a fresh take on "The Frog Prince"  in which the princess was a spy who used her selfishness and extravagance as a cover to hide her true intentions. It has been a long wait, but the fifth book in the series, Princess of Mirrors , AG Marchall's take on "Cinderella," is finally here. Like the others, the heroine in this book is not a typical Cinderella and has many secrets of her own, ones that a certain prince is dying to uncover. When her father was on his deathbed, he told Gabriella two things: to guard the magic mirror

Review: The Silent Prince

The Silent Prince   by C.J. Brightley  was one of my most eagerly anticipated books from the Once Upon a Prince series . I've read many other retellings of "The Little Mermaid,"  but never one about a merman. Doing a gender-bent adaptation  for this assignment instead of going the easy route of retelling the same story from the prince's perspective  really breathed new life into a classic tale. Though the story is simple and direct for what it is, the portrayal of a merman in the role of the little mermaid comes off as fresh and original. It has a cute romance, plenty of action, and a healthy dose of comedy. All in all, it is a fun read and an exemplary addition to the series. Kaerius is a confident merman prince who is proud of his incredible singing voice. One day, he rescues a human princess from drowning. From that moment on, he becomes obsessed with her. He swims to the surface frequently and learns that her name is Princess Marin, that she is lonely, and that