This book tries to tell two stories - one in the past, and one in the future. The story in the past is the only one worth reading, and it's so frenzied and complicated that it can be a bit confusing. The story in the future is driven by a protagonist with no personality. Her character is comprised of two things - not wanting to fall in love (for a really, really dumb reason - she doesn't want kids - because she's never heard of getting her tubes tied) and being obsessed with history. Both things serve only one purpose: for her to research the story from the past. She exists only as a medium through which we can understand the past storyline. Nothing about her makes her interesting as a character on her own. She has a brother who pops up twice in the book, and both times their dialogues are pointless and flat. She tries to conjure up familial feelings between them but it doesn't work.
The woman who reads the book is too old to read this book (I feel). She does the mermaids' voices very well, but when she narrates a teenage girl, it sounds like an older aunt or grandma reading you a bedtime story badly. This doesn't help to make her sound like a realistic character.
It was an interesting-ish take on mermaid lore, and entertaining enough if you can get the book for free from a library. But I dislike that I paid for it.
I bought this because my book club was reading it. We all agreed that we thought it was mediocre at best. The plot got lost and there were so many characters, whose names changed frequently because of the Russian culture's way of handling names, and the author's writing style wasn't strong enough to keep it interesting. The ending just ends, like the author just suddenly stopped writing.
The narrator has an awkward way of reading that makes it really, really boring to listen to. She places emphasis on odd places on the sentence, and her accent detracts from the story rather than enhances it. It feels like when I was in high school and we'd go around the room reading, and that one kid who couldn't read very well would have his turn. It was just painfully stilted.
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