What an amazing debut by Karen Amanda Hooper! I was captivated by this story from the very beginning, and believe me when I say that Tangled Tides is definitely one of the best mermaid stories out there.
Hooper has certainly weaved quite a story. This book is so much more than a simple mermaid tale. Sirens, gorgons, and selkies all make an appearance, and the mythical world that Hooper creates for them is well-detailed and breathtaking. It was so easy to envision the underwater realm that Yara, Treygan, and their many companions live in. Another thing I loved was the elements of Greek mythology that were present. These elements give background to the merfolk and sea creatures, explaining how they came into being. I feel like with most mermaid stories, there is no mention of how or why mermaids exist, but instead, the reader just has to accept that they do. The fact that Hooper offers explanation to the history surrounding these sea creatures really sets her story apart from others and gives a fresh, new take to the classical mermaid tale.
The characters are also wonderful. Each one has their own, definitive voice, making it really easy to connect to them. Yara is faced with a tough decision that not only affects her, but hundreds of others, yet she is resolute and strong, and I really liked that about her. There are moments when she feels fear, but never once does she back down. All of her emotions come across really well, and I think she was an excellent main character. (I have to say I was a little surprised by her reaction to becoming a mermaid. She was angry, yes, but what about the freak out?? If you just got turned into a mermaid, you are entitled to freak out a little!) And then there is Treygan. Oh my, where do I even begin with him? He is strong, confident, smart, and the list goes on and on. He is just a great guy who really cares for Yara, and I love their relationship and chemistry. There were even a few instances where Treygan had to stop himself from having some inappropriate thoughts about Yara, which made him seem more ‘real’ and really fleshed out his character. There are also the minor characters, such as Pango, Rownan, and others, and I liked every one of them. It is very rare that side characters have their own voice (or personality, for that matter), and I applaud Hooper for creating such excellent characters.
Hooper’s awesome writing style coupled with great characters and an intriguing plot make Tangled Tides a must read for all. This is one of the best books published in 2011, and also one of the best mermaid stories available. I cannot for the sequel
, which is still untitled. There is no release date set, but I hope it is soon! I cannot wait to see what Yara and Treygan’s next underwater adventure will be!