What would happen if a star writer went back to the darker themes of the original fairy tales for plots, and then crossed the Disney princesses with Charlie’s Angels? What he’d end up with is The Mermaid’s Madness, a whole new take on The Little Mermaid. And with Jim C. Hines, of Jig the Goblin fame, penning the tale, you canbet itwon?t be ?Theylived happily ever after.?
“Sorry, Princess. Just because your story had a happy ending doesn’t mean everyone else’s will.”
We’ve revisited Cinderella. Now we get to see The Little Mermaid’s tale all over again, and her ending. This was so much more interesting, because Lirea has been driven absolutely insane.
The first half was a bit slow, as the book tried to find the direction it wanted to take. There is a lot of joking around again. Yet, the ending once again pulls it together. With 30% of the book left, it pulled all the parts it was trying to find together and made a solid end out of it all.
The Mermaid’s Madness takes the story we’ve all seen before, and puts a less fairy tale spin on it. It adds in the fact that messing with people magically is totally going to fuck them up. By now, you’ll have probably realised that in this story, no happily ever after is truly happily ever after. This is no different. By the end, I really felt sorry for Lireal. Also, it took me 55% of the book for me to notice that was Ariel all jumbled up, and I’m disappointed in myself.
With a new book we welcome a new narration style. The Stepsister’s Scheme was focused only on Danielle, but in The Mermaid’s Madness, it is opened up to everyone. We see a point of view from all of the mains, plus Lirea. It also shows that this isn’t Danielle’s book like last time. This is Lirea’s story, it is Snow’s Story, and it is a little bit of Danielle’s story, too. Danielle keeps trying to take over, but she learns to share this time around.
In this one, Snow is working on herself and her magic. That is why this is partly her story, we spend a lot of time with her as she learns how to work her magic better. Talia is lost in her head a lot, as she feels guilty for the queen getting hurt. Danielle is still mostly useless, though. The only thing Danielle does is hold the group together. Both Snow and Talia look towards her to lead them, though I still can’t quite figure out why.
Again, this is mostly a feminine cast. Every major character in both of these books is female. The boys are off to the side. In the last book, it felt really masculine. They were joking, but they felt like the kind of jokes young teenage boys would make. In this one, it feels more feminine. I can’t point to any one change, (though I can point to a single joke that made me go “aha! feminine!” – it involved a diaper joke) but I felt like I was with a group of females this time.
Once again, this is a tale of life or death. Queen Beatrice will die if they don’t find a way to save her. Yet, they play around and joke and have fun. It just doesn’t fit. At one point, Snow is actively playing tricks on others for her own amusement. Yet, I will admit Jim C. Hines makes marvelous turns of phrase. “Oh, go fondle a dragon.” “Kraken bugger us all!” come to mind.
I love the concept of these books. I like seeing the dark side of the story. I just wish I could figure out what I was missing to like these better.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Princess series page!