Mermaids, we have the Mer folk today as the blog tour for Pauline Creeden's latest, Scales, makes a stop here today. There's an excerpt of Verona's story and our review. Enjoy!
Scales (A Falling in Deep collection novella) by Pauline Creeden
Paperback/eBook, 140 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by AltWit Press
Verona is a bottom feeder. She is the one mer in her clan who is considered the ugliest and least intelligent. Growing up with the constant bullying and abuse wasn’t the worst of what her kind had in store for her. At seventeen years old, she must now endure “The Reckoning.”
The scales will measure her worth to her clan. Will she endure thirty days as a land-walker to gather information and knowledge to appease her clan and return a valued member? Will she wait three years, until she is twenty, and find a mer of her kind to accept her and marry her? Or will she suffer exile for the rest of her life?
My ear pulls back at a buzz in the current. The gentle hum of electro-magnetic pulses from the snout of a shark is approaching. No. Three sharks. A panicked chirp escapes my lips. I need help. But what Mer will help me now?
A thought pops into my head so suddenly that I stop swimming. Maybe I could find a pod of dolphins. I follow my chirp with a long squeal and veer away from the electro-magnetic pulses in the current.
I strain my ear. No answer.
I repeat the chirp and long squeal.
In my panic, I swim away from the magnetic current with all the strength I have. Black spots crowd my vision. Have I lost so much blood? This can’t be happening. Fainting would not help. My muscles ache from lack of oxygen, so I slow down and try to catch my breath.
Please heal faster, I tell my body. At least stop bleeding.
I force my panicked heart to slow so that the sharks won’t see me as prey.
I scan the area for anything to use as a weapon, but the sea floor produces nothing to use as a spear, nothing that would stab at a shark and keep it away from me. Even a sharp shell would work. I could cut one of the sharks and the other two would commence their frenzy on the victim of my attack. Sharks don’t care what they eat, as long as it is bleeding and panicking.
A vicious cycle.
Sunlight glints off a white body near the surface. It dives deeper and darts back and forth, scenting the current.
Stay still. It’s too late to run.
I close my eyes.
Salt water in; salt water out. I breathe slowly and deeply.
They will ignore me if I calm myself. If I don’t act like prey, there’s a chance they might leave me alone. A nudge bounces against my shoulder, and my breaths quicken.
They are testing me. First a nudge, then a test bite. If I can resist the panic, they might still ignore me even after taking the bite. I’m not their first choice for a meal. I have a chance.
Unspoken prayers burst from my heart and mind. There has to be some way to survive this. My heartbeat pounds in my ears and take over my every thought, my every sense. Every nerve ending on my body stands alert, waiting, wondering where they will bite me. Where will the pain come from? My arm? My fin?
Rating: 4 of 5
Cover comment: Gorgeous imagery
Book source: I received a promotional copy
Funny, I've never really been a fan of mermaid stories (with the exception of Ariel) and lately I have been rethinking my position on this very topic. After having read Scales, a novella by Pauline Creeden, and the first in her Falling in Deep series, I can say I've changed. Mermaids are actually pretty cool.
If they're anything like Verona, the main character of Scales, they're downright intriguing. Cast out by her own Mer people for being weak, Verona lives as a bottom feeder, trying to survive and get by all alone. Should she stay and prove her worth to her own kind or try to make it in the world of Land Walkers (when I hear a term like 'walkers' I immediately think of something negative due to Game of Thrones and Walking Dead). During her travels she receives help from one of her kind, a guy named Bailey. Since we've seen the cruelty and vindictive nature of the Mer folk, we wonder what his true motive is.
I liked the writing and found this new world exciting and somber. Verona is a character in obvious transformation, she has no choice if she wants to live. I also liked Bailey and wonder what he really wants. This novella ends on a cliffhanger, so readers will have to wait until the next story to find out. Since I'm invested in Verona's life, I'll read on to see what happens. Call me a fan of mermaids now.
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