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Friday, June 15, 2012

eARC Review: Florence by Ciye Cho

TITLE: Florence                                            AUTHOR: Ciye Cho
PUB DATE: 7/1/12                                      FORMAT: eARC
SOURCE: from author for review

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.


THREE WORDS: Enchanting, Lush, Mesmerizing

MY REVIEW: A few weeks ago I reviewed another mermaid book that was unfortunately a miss, so I was very happy to discover a mermaid story that is a great big hit! Ciye Cho’s Florence is a refreshing and captivating mermaid tale that had me enthralled from beginning to end.

After the death of her father, seventeen year old Florence Waverly doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere: not at school or even in her mother’s posh world. During a class field trip to the beach, Florence is kidnapped and taken to the mer world of Niemela. She’s meant to be a gift to the young Prince Kiren on the eve of his coronation. But Florence soon finds herself caught up in a fierce struggle between the Niemelans and the Darnkess, a dangerous enemy. She also finds herself caught between two brothers: the charming Kiren and his older, mysterious brother Rolan. Florence must summon the strength and courage she never knew she possessed in order to save this new world she’s come to love.

Diving into the world of Florence was a completely enchanting and fantastical experience! Cho has created a wonderfully refreshing and imaginative new take on mermaids and filled his underwater world with delightful characters and electric romance.

One of the things I love most about this book is how lush and vivid the underwater world is. Cho’s world-building is phenomenal! The ocean world of Niemela shimmers and shines on every page. I could image every color, texture, smell, sound or taste easily in my mind. There’s something absolutely exquisite and breathtaking about the world of Niemela, yet, at times, it’s equally chilling and forbidding.  

And I love that the merpeople in this world are not your usual Disney-esque mers. The Niemelans are beautiful in appearance with their multi-colored hues, and have an essence that is both mesmerizing and dangerous. These beings and this world are as lovely as they are layered. Cho has crafted a dimensional and believable political/social/cultural mer world as well.

Florence is a really likable and relatable heroine. I loved her natural curiosity, cleverness and determination. She’s definitely the type of heroine that is easy to root for and whose journey readers will be fully invested in. Yolee, the young Niemelan princess and Florence’s “hostess”, is such a gem. She’s endearing, sweet and funny. I loved the close friendship (an almost sisterhood) that develops between these two girls.

Prince Kiren and Prince Rolan make for two very different, yet equally enticing, love interests and heroes. Kiren is very charming and fun, while Rolan is more serious and thoughtful. I’m not a huge fan of love triangles, but this one never felt contrived or in my face. I ended up really liking both of these guys and appreciated Florence’s believable feelings for both Princes.  There’s a definite spark between our heroine and each fella.

Cho has created an awesome and sinister villain with the Darkness. This is an entity that is as captivating as it is eerie and frightening.

There’s resolution in the conclusion, but it is also open ended and leaves plenty of room for a sequel…and I’ve been told by the author that there will be a sequel! *squee*

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: There are quite a few new mermaid books popping up on the YA scene and Ciye Cho’s Florence definitely stands out with its originality, dazzling underwater world, engaging characters and intriguing villain. This is one mermaid book not to be missed!

Find the author: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook
Ciye Cho has been dreaming of the universe of Orberana for a very long time. Ever since he was a child, Ciye has had a passion for creating fantasy worlds and characters, from stories of eccentric adventurers to wisecracking trees. But at the age of twenty-five, his life of daydreaming has culminated in a project of dizzying oddness and wonder—Shiewo: A Fantasy Flight to Adventure.Like the intrepid Captain Shiewo, Ciye Cho is ready for anything.Ciye lives in Australia, and works as a freelance graphic designer.

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