{Review / Book + Kindle Fire Giveaway} EMERGE by Tobie Easton

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

    I CAN'T SWIM. No matter how sparkly and tempting that water is. No matter how it glistens in the sunlight, ripples in the California breeze, or reflects the swaying palm trees. One quick dip and my legs will go poof. Besides, I'm late for P.E. again. 

(pg. 6, US e-ARC edition)

As you know, I read a LOT of novels featuring mermaids. Many have disappointed me, solely because I’ve read so many. Others have pleasantly surprised me. EMERGE by Tobie Easton was a wonderful surprise. It had everything I wanted and more. I’m not even sure I can capture the feeling of how much I enjoyed the world-building in EMERGE. Some mermaid books make me roll my eyes right away. One such stereotype: They’ve never been on land, but they know how to drive and do all the things. Easton thinks about how a mermaid would experience life on land and subtly weaves moments into the plot, such as preferring to eat seafood, but willing to eat human food, too, so long as it’s organic and not super-processed. Rather than have “cool underwater lingo” that gets exasperating in some novels, Easton throws in lines such as “she’s clinging to Clay like a slimy, black mussel clinging to the pier” (page 11, e-ARC edition) and creates cool new uses for konklili (seashells) I haven’t seen done in quite that fashion before. There are traditional Mer dances called allytrill, special outfits that aren’t human, and more that I’ll leave for you to uncover! Every new aspect just added an extra layer to the story for me, and the world of mer felt very natural and never forced.

I especially love the way Easton handles land legs. Many books don’t even think twice about switching from tail to leg, and the mermaid feels no…anything. Other books take a page out of The Little Mermaid’s book and make transforming a painful experience. Every step is a painful one. In EMERGE, the transition is exceptionally well thought-out. One question people often ask is: “How do mermaids reproduce?” In Easton’s world, when mermaids and mermen hit puberty, they get their land legs. They have very little control at first, and frequently switch from tail to legs and back again. If they’re thinking romantic thoughts or if a significant other is touching their legs, it’s much easier for them to keep their legs solid. This is the form mer take when it comes time to reproduce. The sensation of transforming isn’t an unpleasant one, and Lia feels positively joyful whenever it’s time to return to her tail, like the ocean is flowing back into her. No painful transformation here! I also like the way Lia compares herself to a toddler when it comes to how much control she has over her legs: Would you put a toddler in high heels? No. So why a mer with the same delicate balance?

I also love the way the legend of The Little Mermaid is woven into EMERGE. It’s not a retelling, nor is it a continuation. Instead, the curse of the Mermaid who gave up her immortality for a human has affected all generations of mer. The Mer went from being immortal to living the same lifespan as a human. Because of this, war has torn the Seven Seas apart. The Mermaid’s father the king was executed for his daughter’s disastrous mistake, and Mer have been fighting to seize the throne ever since. It’s especially unsafe down below for Lia and her family, as descendants of The Little Mermaid. Lia’s family is very progressive. They live on land and send their daughters to school with humans once they have control of their legs. For the last twenty years, they and other like-minded Mer have lived on land and serve on the Community Advisory Board at the Foundation.

When Lia uncovers a Mer hiding her illegal Siren abilities and using her powers to romance Clay, the boy Lia likes (but has no intention of dating, since he’s human and that’s illegal), she decides to join the Foundation and dig through the archives to figure out how to stop Sireny before it’s too late. But in order to save Clay, Lia might have to do something illegal herself. Is it worth destroying her family and her heritage in order to save a human?I actually thought EMERGE was a stand-alone. It works really well as a stand-alone, too, and has a full-closure ending. I don’t know where The Mer Chronicles will go next. Will it continue Lia’s adventures or focus on a new mer’s perspective? I have absolutely no clue, but I’m excited to find out!
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C O N T E N T R A T I N G S

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Honestly, I can't remember because I took notes on this part on my phone before the motherboard died and everything was lost. What I CAN tell you from memory:

The romance wasn't too mature for younger readers and never went too far. There was frank talk about sex, puberty, and mermaid reproduction in conversation between the mermaids because it's the reason they're allowed to have human legs to begin with and a normal part of their life that affects them every day. 

I don't recall any language and I don't have anything bookmarked in my e-book copy, but I wouldn't swear by it.
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C O V E R   D E S I G N:


It's a bit neutral compared to other mermaid novel covers I've seen, but I love the glow of the cover, especially around the title, and the sparkle of the ocean. 

All the blue makes me very calm when I look at this cover!
~*~
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Title:  EMERGE

Author: Tobie Easton
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Received: For Review
Purchase Links:


Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indie | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD 
 
SUMMARY:

Lia Nautilus may be a Mermaid, but she’s never lived in the ocean. Ever since the infamous Little Mermaid unleashed a curse that stripped Mer of their immortality, war has ravaged the Seven Seas.

So Lia has grown up in a secret community of land-dwelling Mer hidden among Malibu’s seaside mansions. Her biggest problems are surviving P.E. and keeping her feelings for Clay Ericson in check. Sure, he’s gorgeous in that cocky, leather jacket sort of way and makes her feel like there’s a school of fish swimming in her stomach, but getting involved with a human could put Lia's entire community at risk. So it’s for the best that he’s dating that new girl, right?

That is, until Lia finds out she isn't the only one at school keeping a potentially deadly secret. And this new girl? Her eyes are dead set on Clay, who doesn't realize the danger he's in. If Lia hopes to save him, she’ll have to get closer to Clay than ever. Lia’s parents would totally flip if they found out she was falling for a human boy, but the more time she spends with Clay, the harder it is for Lia to deny her feelings. After making a horrible mistake, Lia will risk everything to stop Clay from falling in love with the wrong girl.

~*~

Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she’s grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie hosts book clubs for tweens and teens. She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies. Learn more about Tobie and her upcoming books at www.TobieEaston.com.

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****Giveaway*****

Enter to win...

*An Amazon Fire Tablet (US Only)
*EMERGE stickers and bookmarks, one set of mermaid flash tattoos, a seashell necklace, and a signed paperback of Emerge (US Only)
*Three (3) digital copies of Emerge by Tobie Easton (INT)


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