In a genre that is wildly saturated with vampires, werewolves, zombies and dystopian hierarchies that make armys out of their offspring and/or send them to fight for survival; I am always on the lookout for something different to keep my imagination entertained. And so I was relieved to find that Emerald Isle by Kate Hinderer is about a different race of mythological creatures. Welcome to the world of the Mermaids.
Or, Mermen to be precise. Two of them. And they are both vying for the attention of our protagonist, Audyn.
Audyn is working on Fascination Island – a high brow exclusive holiday resort – as a lifeguard, having run from her life in New York after finding her boyfriend in a compromising position with her so called best friend. She throws herself into her work with a new resolve – no boys, no distractions and no serious relationship. To put it simply, Audyn is a woman scorned. So when she learns from Linley, a girl who introduces herself one day, that her brother Tristan has taken a liking to her, Audyn is not pleased. In fact, she’s down right outraged as it intervenes with her ‘no boys’ plan. Enter Levi, who is shy, sweet and everything Tristan is not and Audyn quickly makes up her mind which of the boys she wants to be friends with.
But like everything, all is not as it seems and she soon finds out that first impressions aren’t always the right impressions; Audyn quickly realises that shy and endearing does not necessarily mean safe and trusting. When Levi leads Audyn to danger, it is Tristan that comes to her rescue but not before revealing the true nature of both the boys’ heritage – one that is meant to be kept hidden from human eyes…
Tristan and Levi are mermen from rival tribes that pretty much hate each other. While one tries their hardest to protect Audyn, the other does everything he can to change her into one of them. But when a bigger danger emerges all three have to join forces to save the merpeople from a fate that isn’t worth thinking about.
I have mixed feelings about this book. At first, I found it very hard to like Audyn because she came across as being pretty mean and rude to any member of the opposite sex who tried to be friends with her. There’s having a ‘no boys’ rule and there’s having a ‘don’t even try it or I’ll stab your eyes out’ attitude and Audyn fell into the latter. Not that it stopped Levi or Tristan who seemed to enjoy her ‘treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen’ attitude.
I wasn’t sold on how the relationship between Audyn and Tristan developed. One minute she hated him, the next she loved him and it was only towards the latter part of the book that I was convinced about Audyn’s feelings towards him.
Storywise, however, this book fared better. Whilst there are hints very early on that merpeople would play a key part in this story, the build up to the climax – and ultimately the root of why Levi and Tristan despised each other – was nicely told. In fact once the drama started to unfold, what started off as an okay read turned into quite the page-turner.
For fans of YA paranormal thrillers with a hint of romance, this has everything: A feisty protagonist; the tall, brooding boy who falls head over heels for our lead female; the threat of a love rival; together with the thrill of a whole tribe of people being in danger; finishing with the sad redemption of one character. Whilst The Emerald Isle does seem to follow this pattern, it holds its own by bringing in a tribe of mythical creatures that hasn’t really been touched on before.
The Emerald Isle has a mix of predictable romance and unpredictable drama and for that reason I would recommend adding this book to your reading list for some escapism on a rainy day.
Title: Emerald Isle (A Fascination Island Book)
Author: Kate Hinderer
Available: Out Now
To escape a bad break-up and fighting parents Audyn takes a job as a lifeguard at Fascination Island. The posh five-star resort lives up to its name in every way, including the strange rules the owner has about entering the water at night. Despite declaring it a boy-free summer, it isn’t long before the shy, endearing Levi and the mysterious, tattooed Tristan begin vying for her attention. When Levi tries to push his advantage and Tristan comes to the rescue, Audyn realizes there is more to both these boys and the island they inhabit. Suddenly, she’s forced to acknowledge a reality she’d never considered and to pick a side in the conflict that has been waging for decades.
For more details on THE EMERALD ISLE and Kate Hinderer, visit her blog here