Review: Merminia (Merminia, #1) by Emm Cole

Merminia (Merminia, #1) by Emm Cole
Publisher: Self-published
Released: September 7th 2012
Format: Ebook
Source: My own
In an underwater world that is as beautiful as it is ruthless, the mertribes are not about to make peace with each other. Selinne is a mermaid who is certain she can take care of herself. But when she is captured by the bloodthirsty Litiants, she finds unlikely help from Gabriel, a warrior who appears as indifferent as he is handsome.

As Selinne struggles to make sense of the good and evil around her, she discovers that there is no escaping love or her place in the raging war of the sea.
This book was such a thrill to read. I felt like I was on a roll, having read another fin-tastic mermaid book after my last one.

By chapter 3, I was hooked. We know a war between the Merminians and Litiants is brewing, and because of that, the Merminian mermaids are worried for the mermen. At the same time, Cole dishes out the basics of Merminia: the mermaids emit healing light rays from their hands (which change colour depending on emotion), mates are for life, and a Merminian promise is unbreakable.

It was easy for me to connect with the main character, Selinne, right from the beginning because she was so genuine. Selinne is carefree and headstrong. This does not in any way make her petty, rude or blunt. In situations where she is truly helpless, she accepts aid from others, but doesn't pass up any opportunity to defend herself either.
Most mermaids craved the attention of doting mermen. She was not one of those mermaids.
This mermaid doesn't crave attention because she wants to seem selfless or anything—she is selfless. She doesn't want to sit around braiding her hair like other mermaids, chat about merboys and be 'feminine', and yet isn't the rough, tomboy-ish type. She's completely wild in her own special way.

The love triangle in Merminia is one I will remember for a long time. Essentially, it's Aramis, Selinne's childhood friend, versus Gabriel, Litiant warrior prince. I was so conflicted over both mermen at first (it didn't help that both of them were smokin' hot under the sea).

Gabriel's had a tough childhood with the villain Merconius as his father, but his moral and mental strength enabled him to bide his time until he knew he could properly stop his father's tyranny. He's fierce, but not ruthless, and as he falls harder for Selinne, he finds that she's also the only one whom he can confide in.
"I have seen so much hatred," he said above a whisper. "I have seen the lowliest of betrayals. Most of my life has been ugliness—until you." — Gabriel
Aramis only had eyes for Selinne despite other mermaids flitting around him. He's protective of Selinne, yet knows when to let Selinne fight for herself. Aramis has a charm of his own, and occasionally, a witty side of him will show. When I got to the elusive hair-eating fish and sea turtle part, it totally sealed the deal: I was on Team Aramis.
He wanted to pull her to him and kiss her in front of all three spoiled mermaids. He wanted to more than anything. But did she want him to? ... Whether or not she became his, he knew her smile when she saw the carved stone would be his alone to keep.
"I am done acting as if every time you look my way that I am not struggling just to breathe. That while I tease you or you find a reason to fight with me that I am not thinking about kissing you and wrapping you in my arms." — Aramis
Both mermen are worthy, but perhaps it was because Aramis had more of his backstory with Selinne told that I gravitated towards him more. On a side note, I think that Gabriel didn't handle the part with Selinne's lock of hair as well as I expected him to. I felt that Cole gave more insight into Aramis' character than Gabriel's, because when I finished reading, Aramis left the biggest impression on me. Or maybe it's just really my preference towards the gorgeous, sandy-haired merman...

Either way, I hope Gabriel redeems himself in the sequel, Keeping Merminia, because it seems like Aramis may never get his chance ):

I am in awe of the secondary characters as I am of the main ones. Merconius is a terrifying villain, and his ruthlessness is established pretty early. He's a sadist who can even hurt his own kin at the slightest dissatisfaction. Estelle, the wife of Merconius, worries about her sons and cares for her Litiants, yet shows disdain for Selinne. Her display of arrogance, compassion, selfishness and fear made her an exceptional three-dimensional character. Even though I didn't like her personality much, I understood her actions, and she became so real to me that I could even picture the way she delivered her lines in my head. Zara, with her sincerity and silent determination despite her scarred past, makes for an admirable character and first Litiant friend to Selinne. Lucia is a seemingly insignificant character, but her role later on just proves my point on how central supporting characters are to this book. They enhance scenes on an immense scale because of how multi-faceted they are.

Other than the Merminians and their healing-mood-ring rays, other mer-clans such as the Julgrens and Litiants each have their unique traits. Julgrens are masters of camouflage and their mermaids are compared to the Amazons. Litiant mermaids can read minds and access every single memory you've ever had. I've to admit, I feel pretty smug about only the mermaids getting the special abilities!

There were also deep moments in the book such as this, which really resonated with me:
"The fates may play their games of magic and will death and terror as they please. But my mistakes and triumphs cannot be owned by them or you. ... Whether you kill me or continue to hold me as a slave, you can't take who I am from me. ... I have loved and been loved. I cannot ask for a better existence than that." — Selinne 

So movie-worthy.

I had a bit of difficulty getting into the story because of the writing, though. Cole's writing style consists of mostly short – and sometimes choppy – sentences, due to her only occasional use of commas. However, she makes up for this with choice vocabulary. It took a while for me to accustom myself with how the story was told, but once I did, it didn't pose much of a problem to the rest of my reading experience. Additionally, I feel that some parts could've been reorganised, such as letting the tale of Adessia's ring be a prologue instead. The extent of the ring's power also wasn't well-established from the start.

Merminia left me wanting to hear more from its characters. I want to know how the plot continues, too, because Cole is such a master at weaving complexities concerning characters and conflict. Wow, accidental alliteration there, lol. She makes it so that each character is undeniably linked to the main character as well as the grander scheme of things, and a single turn of events can greatly affect a character's relationship with another. You don't even realise this until Cole points it out through her characters, which is equally amazing as it is earth-shattering.

Merminia is now on my list of fave mermaid books. It's probably the first indie mermaid novel that I really love, and I need Keeping Merminia like NOW (but I have that reading pile... ): ). Oh well. At least it's already published, and that means there's more Aramis to look forward to... ;)

Emm Cole is the author of Merminia and Keeping Merminia, a paranormal romance/fantasy series. She lives with her husband and two spunky children. When she’s not writing, she is often highlighting favorite passages in books. (According to Emm, authors Markus Zusak, Maggie Stiefvater, and John Green are pen-wielding super heroes.) Don’t share your Sour Patch Kids or Swedish Fish with her, because she’ll eat them all. Emm is a fan of everything supernatural and finds that drama in stories is always more entertaining than the real kind. She also enjoys thought-provoking art and is an admitted TV series junkie who has The Vampire Diaries, Freaks and Geeks, and Friday Night Lights memorised. If a pop culture reference wasn’t acknowledged on Gilmore Girls, she probably finds it irrelevant.

Connect with Emm: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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