Friday, August 31, 2012

Early Review: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous Beauty
Monstrous Beauty
by Elizabeth Fama

Expected publication: September 4th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)


My Review

The mermaid Syrenka has loved before and only managed to find pain. But in the year 1872 she can't help but fall in love again, very hard, this time for Ezra, a very hadsome young marine biology student, who's fascinated by every sea creature. Needless to say, he's completely enchanted by her. They are quite happy for a while... but they could never imagine that their 'forbidden' romance would bring a lot of pain and suffering -to themselves and others- for years and years to come.

It's 2002 and seventeen-year-old Hester has just met a very strange, yet very charming man inside a cave by the beach. She is stragenly drawn to him, and can't help but come back and just be close to him. She's falling in love... and it's the worst thing she could ever do. Hester has promised herself to never fall in love. Ever since she was just a kid she's been hearing stories about the women in her family, who always seemed to die just after giving birth to their daughters. Including her mother. So, just to be safe, she decides to not love at all. But no doctor could ever find out what really happened to those women. Not even the modern medicine can tell. Is it some kind of genetic condition? Or could it be something more dangerous, like a curse?

When she mentions the mysterious deaths to the guy from the cave, he suggests she looks deeper into it. And when Hester starts to investigate, she discovers much more than she could ever expect to find. Is teh crypt where her ancestors are buried really haunted? Who is the little girl who used to play with her at the cemetery that no else can see but her? And why is it that everything always leads her back to the ocean? Are the myths of sea creatures really myths?

Gods. So much love, so much tragedy, so much sadness, violence and wasted lives. This book will break your heart and make you cry a freaking river. But you'll love it anyway. Elizabeth Fama is a complete genious. Her writing is perfectly fluid, clearly well planned and well thought of, her characters are very alive and almost spill out of the pages. It is, I daresay, an almost perfect tale. It has it all. Drama, tragedy, romance, true love, action, violence, magic, mystery and paranormal beings. And it all fits superbly.

I can't say I was terribly excited about starting this book. I didn't care much about the other mermaid books I've read recently (found them to be very childish, weak or even downright mediocre...), but, oh, boy. Was I surprised by Monstrous Beauty!!! It blew my mind. I just couldn't stop reading it. I could barely blink! (even bloodshot eyes are totally worth it, I promise!). It's not everyday I give a book 5 stars, so that alone should tell you how much I loved it.

Hester was so strong, so smart and likeable! I usually find main heroines annoying, but this one was just absolutely incredible. Ezra was definitely charming, if quite pitiable. He deserved so much more of life... Syrenka was one of the most fascinating characters I've ever read about. I really wanted her to find the happiness she had been looking for her very long life. Even if she did some very gruesome things while trying to achieve it. And the secondary characters were all captivating in their own ways. Peter, Sam, the priest, Nellie... they were all very complex, even if they had short appearances. Oh, and the double POVs were awesome.

There was nothing I didn't like in this book, except that it was too short. LOL. I wanted to keep on reading it forever. ;) Even if it did make me cry quite a bit.


If you like tales of true love with tons of mystery, drama and quite a bit of action and adventure thrown in the mix, you'll love Mostrous Beauty just like I did, especially if you're not a fan of mermaid books, like I was. And you'll follow my example and pre-order it right away, because it's so freaking good you have to have it. (My beautiful precioussssssss must be on its way. *-*).

* I'm so happy I received an eARC for this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

P.P. (Post posting): I sort of liked the eARC cover better, buuuut.... what's a girl to do, right?
Monstrous Beauty

So, do you think you'd like to read this book? If you've read it, what did you think? :3


  1. it's a fish!!
    But your review has warmed my mind a bit to it.
    But I'm confused, Syrenka fell in love then died ?

    1. *SPOILER*
      Yup, sort of dramatic, to save her baby and all that. :)

  2. Wow, amazing! :) I think we have that book here in Brazil, right Kah? But I prefer the american cover! *-* so beautiful and I've never read a book with mermaids though I have here SIREN xD

    1. I think maybe you have another book in mind, Helena. :) This one hasn't even been published as of yet. It can't possibly be in Brazil already. And the other cover was for the ARC, so it was replaced. thanks for stopping by

    2. No, I heared they will release it here, I'm sure lol or it was with another mermaid book o.O whatever I had it in my to-read list anyway xD

  3. I have this book on order. It's not at the absolute top of my list, but I am looking forward to it. I am so glad you enjoyed it!
    Tammy @


I would love to read what you have to say. :)