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BRINE AND BONE by Kate Stradling - Review

May 11, 2018


My rating: 5 of 5 Stars

How I Got It: eBook Purchase

Publication Date: January 17, 2018

Publisher: Eulalia Skye Press

Point of View: 3rd Person Heroine

Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling





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So I am WAAAAAY behind on my book reviews! Sorry any of you still-faithful readers out there. Life completely got away from me these last few months, and I've barely had time to READ, much less to offer proper reviews for what I'm reading. But I've encountered some really awesome books recently, and I want to take a moment to give them some love and encourage you to give them a try.


In particular, THIS wonderful story by Kate Stradling. Now you might remember that I read and loved Kate Stradling's Namesake last year. It was one of my top new releases of 2017, it was just THAT good.


But . . . Brine and Bone is better.


For starters, it's a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid." Note, this is definitely a retelling of the ANDERSEN tale, and has nothing at all to do with the famous Disney iteration. Heck, this story isn't even told from the point-of-view of the titular mermaid, but gives us instead the perspective of the OTHER woman in that tale.


I tell ya, what a great twist! But a tough one to pull off. The mermaid is such a compelling character in the original fairy tale and a known and admired heroine. While the other girl . . . she doesn't have a whole lot going for her personality-wise in Andersen's version. Can she possibly be made interesting enough to carry an entire story, particularly when thrown up against that famous mermaid?


In Kate Stradling's hands she can. Magdalena is one of my favorite heroines of recent reading history! She is so well-drawn and so likable, and from her perspective . . . wow, this story takes on a whole new, almost horror-story element that I never saw before. It's brilliant! 


I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that Stradling used some incredible twists to make certain that Magdalena truly FELT all the pain and all the sacrifice which usually is felt only by the mermaid herself. Without that pain and sacrifice, the story wouldn't have meant nearly as much, but man . . . it all comes together beautifully in these pages!


Readers beware--this is only a novella. So don't go into it expecting a LONG read. I read it late into one night then woke up early the next morning to finish it. And then was sad I'd read it so  quickly! But rest assured, it's the perfect length for the story being told. I was sad to finish because I liked it so much, but I also wouldn't have wanted the author to drag it out unnecessarily. It's a perfectly balanced, perfectly poised story.


In fact, I loved it so much, I went right out and bought a paperback copy, which I mailed to my bestest buddy across the country . . . something I only do with ABSOLUTE favorite books! Last year, I had to compulsively buy and send her copies of Strange the Dreamer and Spindle. You know a book is special when it passes the Esther-Must-Read-This-Now Test. ;)

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