I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.Breakwater by Catherine Jones Payne
Published by Fathom Ink Press on May 30th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, General, Young Adult Fiction
A red tide is rising.
As the daughter of one of the mer-king's trusted advisors, seventeen-year-old Jade has great responsibilities. When her fiancE murders a naiad, plunging the underwater city of Thessalonike into uproar, tensions surge between the mer and the naiads. Jade learns too late that the choices she makes ripple further than she'd ever imagined. And as she fights against the tide of anger in a city that lives for scandal, she discovers danger lurking in every canal, imperiling her family and shattering the ocean's fragile peace.
Can the city's divisions be mended before the upwelling of hate rips apart everything Jade loves?
Let’s chat shall we? I want to talk about this book before I actually talk about this book. Honestly, I’ve never really thought about mermaids. Yes as a teen or early adult I watched ‘The Little Mermaid’. Yes, if I wasn’t older than a couple of decades I might remember a fascination or wonderment about them as a child. Obviously if there was it was short lived because I have no memory of such. If you know me at all, I’m not besties with the fantasy genre. Yarp, I’ve had my nerd card threatened to be revoked over this. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read fantasy and even enjoyed fantasy, it’s just not my go to genre. It’s honestly been more than a minute since I spent some time with the genre. I dipped my toe with this book mostly thanks to the ever increasing insistence of Kristin. Have you yet realized that when I get tossed into something new/different/weird/quirky/chaotic/so on and so forth, it’s almost always her fault? Yup, I’ve noticed it too!
That being said let’s actually talk about ‘Breakwater’. Obviously I have it 4 stars which means I actually really liked it. Many of the the things I enjoyed are tempered with things that were off for me. One thing I really think this book needed is more back story. The story gave me some of what I wanted but not enough. What was the deal with Jade’s father? How was it the naiads were pushed into the corner they were in? They were obviously welcomed into the city at some point but when and how did it start going so sideways? I get it, the naiads and the mer were in a racial clash that was extremely reminiscent of current news with the refugees in Africa and the Middle East. It reminded me of racial issues of the 1950’s and 60’s. It reminded me how of things started with the Jews in Germany leading up to WWII. It reminded me of a lot of issues throughout human history where one race or class or gender even felt they were superior to another and found ways to invoke that superiority onto the other and push the other down and keep them down in what ends up as an attempt to eradicate them. That’s probably a little too deep for a young adult book review isn’t it? This is what I thought of as I read this book. It was entirely more political (without politics if that makes sense) than I expected from a book about mermaids. But, I’m not complaining.
The characters throughout the story were relate-able and bond-able. Sometimes, however, they lacked depth. I don’t mean like how shallow her friends were when the engagement was broken but in how they came to be in the situations they were in with the outlooks they had. It’s known that Jade’s father was killed by the naiads, which had to in some way color her views. While she was ready to stand up for them and embrace them I feel like there is more to Dad’s story than the dusting we were given to provide her this outlook. I respected her. I have a desire, no a need, to see where her story is going to lead. And for the love of gravy the cliff hanger at the end is enough to leave me checking for a release date on the next book already!