**I received a copy of the book from the author via YA Buddy Readers’ Corner on Goodreads in exchange for an honest review**
The first things about this book that drew me in were the cover, the title, and the synopsis. The Little Mermaid happens to be both one of my favorite Disney movies and fairy tales in general, so this book was right up my alley. I really wanted to know what could possibly have made “the sea witch” evil. Ironically, I’m wearing my Littler Mermaid shirt as I write this. It’s fate!
The first few chapters had me hooked. I felt for Serena, and I hated how everyone (including her own mother and sister) treated her like trash. However, around chapter 4, things started to get too unbelievable for me and the pace dragged. Yes, Serena ascended to the throne quite subversively, but I attribute that mostly to her mother’s obsession with it (and giant, underhanded push). That being said, Serena’s “love” for Triton felt more like an obsession than it did love. It was the kind where she admired him from afar while she worked in the palace. Never once had they spoken until she “accidentally” bumps into him.
From there, the queen notices her attraction, tells Serena she isn’t good enough for her son, and basically forbids her from ever looking at Triton again. We start to see a bit of his character (or lack thereof) at this point, and let me tell you, it’s incredibly underwhelming. He’s as spineless as a jellyfish when it comes to standing up to his mother. Serena then decides to poison the queen and give Triton a love potion to make him love her, but only with the intention of breaking it once she feels he truly loves her. Once they announce their engagement, King Poseidon grows suspicious, so naturally the answer to that is to kill him as well.
*Spoiler alert* This never happens. He does in fact find his true love (thanks to Serena’s snippy littler sister Hazel), and her name is Athena. She’s Triton’s typical type; rail thin, vibrant redhead, and her tail is pure white. Once he meets her, he finds it impossible to be apart from her. This speaks volumes about the kind of merman Triton is. At this point, he has been married to Serena for seventeen years. They have five kids together. Five! Hazel encourages Triton to spend more and more time alone with Athena, hoping for him to fall in love and ruin Serena’s happily ever after. Once this happens (and he breaks the spell Serena had him under), he realizes he doesn’t love her, and since he doesn’t want to de-throne her, he makes Athena queen as well….let’s take a minute to talk about that. He. Makes. Her. Queen. There are two queens and one Triton. Somehow he expects this to go over swimmingly (no pun intended). As expected, Serena isn’t happy, and actually, I think the situation could have been rectified before it started. Instead of talking to Triton, she pouts and slowly becomes “evil.”
I never got the sense that Serena was truly evil. Moira was wicked enough for the both of them, and Serena just felt like a bratty teenager who threw a tantrum when she didn’t get her way (which happened a lot). Most of the time, Moira says something and Serena just agrees because she’s so desperate
After everything that happened, I found the ending lack luster. Eventually Triton had to find out about everything that she had done, and when he does, he’s hurt and angry, which is understandable. I had just hoped that the ending would have little more pizzaz, that’s all. Although, part of her punishment was just as cruel as her killing his parents. Just saying.
I personally don’t think I’d read this again, but I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a shorter read about mermaids and magic. It’s available on Amazon for free, if you’re interested.