Florence by Ciye ChoWebsite|Twitter
Published: 28 June 2012 (Studio Amazepop)
Source: Recieved free review copy from author
Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of a dark ocean.
Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand--and find out where she belongs--Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart... and her very soul.
I was very kindly sent a copy of this book by the author before Christmas, but I've had a bit of a backlog and so I've been waiting to have time to read it. I was really excited to get started because it's about mermaids, and that's a genre within YA I haven't read before! Florence tells the story of Florence Waverley, who ends up discovering a hidden underwater land when she is captured by mermaids.
I think the main thing I loved about this book was Florence herself. She's a bit of a misfit and her classmates see her as strange. The book starts out with her on a school trip and so we get to see her in that environment and it really makes you feel for her. As the book goes on and she finds herself amongst the mermaids, it becomes clear that she doesn't really fit in there either, because she's human. I thought that was a nice theme running throughout the book - not being able to fit in - and is something that everyone can relate to. I really enjoyed her relationship with Princess Yolee as well. I thought the two of them worked well together - despite coming from completely different places/backgrounds.
I liked the underwater world Ciye Cho has created, and there was a lot of description of all the different places within Niemela, the underwater city where the mermaids live. Some of the touches such as the way the mermaids interact with the animals were really imaginative and made it a great book to just get lost in! The writing was really engaging throughout.
I feel like it spends a lot of time establishing the world and the setting, and as this is the first book in a series I understand you need a bit of that, but I think it'll be more interesting later on to see where it leads. The first half of the book was a bit gentler in pace I thought, and as you move into the second half you really get to the action. I found some of the plot twists a bit confusing in places, as there were questions over some of the characters' loyalty and I couldn't quite keep up. But the e-book copy I had was only just over 200 pages so it's a nice quick read! I think I preferred the first half of the book but overall it was still an entertaining read.
I'd definitely be interested in reading the next book in the series and it makes me crave more mermaid stories! It was a great introduction to that world for me. I look forward to reading more.
What to read next: Luminaire by Ciye Cho, book 2 in the Florence Waverley series
Books like this: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks