Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Review: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

I have been meaning to re-read this book for years now. I cannot believe that it has already been more than seven years since this came out and I first read it. It turns out that I did not remember a single thing from this book. What. I remember loving it. But I had forgotten everything that happened. Which is so very rude of me.

Because having now read this book again I cannot even imagine forgetting parts of it. Not ever. This book disturbed me. In mostly good ways. It ruined my heart. And so this time I am giving it four stars, and not five, as I did all those years ago. And I have many thoughts to share about this book. I shall try to share all of them.

This book tells the story of Hester and Syrenka. It takes place in present day and one hundred and forty years in the past. They are connected in ways that Hester does not know yet. This is a story about mermaids and humans and monsters. Often it was the humans that were monsters, in my eyes. I found the writing in this one to be all kinds of good, which I loved. Had no trouble at all with focusing on things and imagining everything. Which was kind of a curse with all the dark things that happened in this book, haha. But oh, I couldn't help but love it too. But yes. My gosh. This book was dark. I had completely forgotten just how very dark it went. Which disturbed me a whole lot. Yet I mostly loved reading about it as well. Sigh. But yes. My poor heart.

Hester is a mostly normal seventeen year old girl that lives in the present. She is pretty sure her family is cursed, though. Her mother and her grandmother died just moments after giving birth to a baby girl. And it seems to have been going on for years before them too. Hester does not know why. She spends her day with school and working for tourists in a pretty fun sounding job. There is a boy, Peter, whom have been her best friend her whole life. They could become more, but she has sworn off love for the rest of her life.

Until a day at the beach. Where she meets a stranger in a cave. And feels such a pull towards him. This starts her story. Her quest of finding out the truth about her family and all their deaths. If there truly is a curse. Because this stranger is not a normal person. He is a ghost. Which she does not know for a long time. Hester and her story was pretty exciting. I loved reading about her trying to figure things out. Of her trying to figure out old murders and how they connect to her. For the most part I very much loved Hester.

She was pretty amazing. I just did not like how she snapped at Peter all the time after she met the boy in the cave. But I do not blame her either, because there was a reason for why she felt such a pull towards him. Still. Poor Peter. He was such a good friend to Hester. And I simply adored their friendship. Also, her brother was pretty great too. So anyway. There is so much going on with Hester. With her trying to figure everything out. And I adored her story. Though, oh, I wish she had known this one detail by the end. Sigh.

Then there was Syrenka. The mermaid. Her story takes place a hundred and forty years before Hester's. And it is the most heartbreaking story. I loved this mermaid so very much. She has lived for a thousand years. She knows most things. But she is still innocent in a lot of ways, in the ways of humans. She falls in love. First hundreds of years earlier, which ends with the boy drowning. Then again now, she falls in love with Ezra. The beautiful boy who sees her by the ocean. This ended up being her doom. My heart.

I very much adored Syrenka. But oh my god her story killed me. I loved reading about everything with the mermaids. They were pretty dark and mysterious. Not much to know about them, yet enough. They were all kinds of interesting. Though Syrenka spends most of her story as a human, to be with Ezra. Though to become human is no easy thing. A murder happens. And now I must spoil some things. Early in the book Syrenka is captured by a fisherman. He ties her up. And then he rapes her. Which fully ruined my heart.

I'm not sure I will ever be able to forget that. It was heartbreaking and sad and horrible too. Thankfully not too graphic, but graphic enough. She end up killing this fisherman to become human and to be with Ezra. Except she is now pregnant. And that ruined my heart even more. She stays with some woman until birth and then she gives her baby away, so she can be with Ezra, her love. All of this was a little bit too much for me. It hurt to read about. Yet it was so good too. But gosh, completely sad and depressing and rude.

Syrenka does not get to be happy with Ezra for long. So much happens. And all of it horrible. Yet it was all so interesting and exciting too. The one thing that bothered me more than anything, though, was that no one ever knew what had happened to Syrenka. No one knew she had been raped by the dead man. No one knew how she had been hurt by him. That ruined my heart even more. Sigh. Okay, fine, they did not truly need to know any of it. But I wish they had known. I wish Ezra had known what happened to her.

This is not a love story, though. I wish it had been. It is more of a horror mermaid story, haha. Yet not only that. The story of Hester was interesting. And reading about Syrenka was the very best, despite the pain it brought me. This book was full of pain and heartbreak. But not only that. There were happy moments too. And I loved those moments the most. But my gosh, so much bad happens. There are other murders. There are ghosts. There is a mystery about what happened to them all. It was so exciting to read about.

I have already written way too much about this book. Yet I feel like I could still write so much more. I still can't believe that I had forgotten everything that happened in this book when I read it seven years ago. I have not read my old review, not yet, as I did not write them good enough back then. But gosh. I'm happy that I chose to re-read this book right now. It hurt every part of me, but I loved it. And I adore this author. Elizabeth is all kinds of awesome. I really hope she will be writing more books soon. She's the sweetest.

If you have not read Monstrous Beauty yet then you really must do so. This book is so very painful. But so very worth reading too. It's an important story. Oh gosh. I forgot to mention the queen of the mermaids. She was beyond terrifying. I hated her. And learning of her having abused this person for all those years ruined me. I wanted her dead. I didn't get that wish. I'm upset, haha. But she was so well written. Anyway. You all need to read this book already. So very painful. But so very good. And I am glad I read this again.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a great review. Thank you for reading MB twice, Carina! It means so much to me. <3


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