Book: Monstrous Beauty
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Rating: zero stars (out of four)
Release date: Sept. 4, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Source: ALA 2012
This book was dark. It had disturbing elements. It had a rape scene (and I do not handle rape scenes well) and gave me a nauseous feeling. I was so, so, SO excited to read this book because it was about evil mermaids. And I know this sounds a little ridiculous, but I was really looking forward to reading something that featured mermaids without them being so sweet and unicorn-rainbow-esque. Unfortunately, this book kind of was on the whole other side of the spectrum. It was too dark for my taste. It was the exact opposite of puppies and sunshine.
It was gruesome. The story was violent and some of the events surrounding the people were tragic and/or unnerving. I didn’t like the characters and how they were used by other people. I was also pretty creeped out by a few scenes. There was a decent amount of death too and I didn’t feel most of it was warranted or succeeded in moving the plot forward. It didn’t seem to serve a point and only drove the story into deeper and darker tunnels of gloom. Now that’s a really bad analogy, but this story left me highly dissatisfied when I finished it. The cover was sooo pretty (the arc version) and the premise was enticing, but when I actually got into the book, well, that was an entirely different story.
The characters were ruthlessly mean and conniving. I was scared for how things would turn out and a lot of the suspense and drama was unnerving. Plus it was so violent...which isn’t something you coming from me. Most violence in books doesn’t really affect me because if I can’t visualize it. But for some reason this violence stuck with me and it left me feeling physically sick.
I could not get over the rape scene near the beginning of the book. I didn’t know why it was included and made my skin crawl a little bit. I didn’t want to think about it and there didn’t seem to be much warning. You were just reading along and then all of a sudden RAPE. Geez. No. No. No, thanks.
Overall this book was a grave disappointment. I had been expecting dark mermaid folklore and I while got that, I got it to the extreme. There were a lot of violence and it just left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I was surprised when I saw other reviewers giving such high praise when Monstrous Beauty had such a negative effect on me. I would never recommend this and if you dislike violent or dark elements, steer clear of this mermaid novel.