A mermaid’s supernatural beauty serves one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death.

The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure.

Eighteen-year-old Meela has already lost her brother to the Massacre, and she has lived with a secret that’s haunted her since childhood. For any hope of survival, she must overcome the demons of her past and become a ruthless mermaid killer.

For the first time, Eriana Kwai’s Massacre warriors are female, and Meela must fight for her people’s freedom on the Pacific Ocean’s deadliest battleground.

Goodreads rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.23 stars)

My rating: ✮✮✮ (3 stars)

I had such high hopes for this book. When someone tells me that a book involves lesbian mermaids, I was hoping to see openly gay characters. However, this was not the case. But I will get to that later, after talking about what I did enjoy.

I enjoyed the idea of having women fighters. I liked the idea that the village learned from their mistakes, and decided that women could be as good at fighting as men, and I find that so good for younger readers who feel like women aren’t as strong as men. I found it interesting how they went through the same five years’ training, and that was deemed suitable for them to be competent fighters. I just really liked the equality between the two sexes and that men and women were the same when in battle.

It makes me think back to watching Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. “I am no man!”

I also liked the idea of mermaids and humans at war. It changes from the idea of men hunting mermaids, or mermaids seen as rare or valuable. I liked that Tiana treated mermaids and humans as if they were the same. It gave me a fresh insight into writing and how you don’t need to follow the general trend, and stepping out can work to your advantage.

The idea of girls on a boat in the middle of nowhere seemed like it would have it’s difficult times, but I am so impressed with the character growth of Dani. Don’t get me wrong, I hate her as a person, and I think she needs psychiatric help with the self-harm and the lack of sleep, and the murder, but I am so intrigued into how her experiences being raised by her father influenced how she viewed her time on the boat. I thought it was brilliant character development and well-written.

Okay, now sit down and listen to what was wrong with this book. I said at the start of my review about being told this book had lesbian mermaids. What I wasn’t told, was that the whole idea of being a lesbian wasn’t touchd upon fully until the end of the book. Meela was, I’d almost say pushed, into a relationship with her male friend in the village, and she kept it going, not knowing why she didn’t feel the same about him. I can understand her not knowing she was a lesbian when she first kissed Lysi when she was around ten (10), but when she’s a teenager, put through an all-girl fighting school, I think her sexuality could have been developed. I am disappointed that she didn’t know she was gay before Lysi got taken at the end. I would have liked her sexuality to be open, and not something which can only be discovered by kissing a man and realising you didn’t feel the same.

I feel like her relationship with Tanuu, if not written properly, could be problematic, especially to younger readers who identify as lesbian.

Nevertheless, this book is about kickass women doing what men couldn’t do. It is fully centred around strong female characters, be them human or mermaid, and it was a positive change to read about them. I may have issues with this book and how it touched upon sexuality, but I am glad it exists for all the positive reasons I mentioned above.


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