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Merman (The Mongrel Series)

Merman - K.Z. Snow
3.5 stars

The story continues about two years after the end of Mongrel, the first book in this series. I really liked the camaraderie in this, the playful banter between the four main characters, Clancy, Simon, Fanule and Will. This was the highlight of the book for me— Snow’s deft touch as she skillfully lays the brushstrokes, drawing these guys and their supporting cast; she sets up simple, quiet scenes between them that feel real even in this fantasy world. I really appreciated this.

So, we settle back into Snow’s hybrid steam-punk-pnr world and get more development of the main characters. In the prequel we got a good feel for Will and Fan— who they are and the dynamic between them. But this show belongs to Clancy, the sensitive and fastidiously refined vamp, and Simon, his brawny, blue-collar working stiff. We get to find out more about what happened between them in Mongrel, that there was and remains a sparky, magnetic attraction. It’s slow going at first though, as Clancy distances himself from Simon because of qualms based on his own insecurities when it comes to commitment or love or acceptance of himself.

As in Mongrel, there is another mystery, this time about nefarious goings-on and the abuse of prison inmates on Floating Brick Island, just off the coast of Puriton. Simon, who now runs his own mechanic shop, is commissioned to build an underwater vessel, a “bubble” or bathysphere, to be used to explore the deep ocean trench next to the island. There could be a link between this project and the appearance of a strange part-fish/part-human mutant creature found washed up on the shore. A creature who used to be an inmate of Floating Brick Island prison many, many years ago…

The connection between the project and this merman creature is left pretty vague though. And, in the middle section of the book, “Separation,” there is an awful lot of explaining about the merman and how he came to be, and whether he is nefarious or a victim of circumstance. The action slows way down with a series of convos between various characters. Ugh. Fortunately, things pick up in the last section of the story when all the characters work together toward a satisfactory ending.

This book did not feel as strong as its prequel. Perhaps this is due to some pacing issues and my ambivalent feelings about the merman. Nevertheless, I greatly enjoyed, once more, the wonderfully descriptive writing found here. For this review and lots more please visit: The Blog of Sid Love