Monday, November 3, 2014

Promises by Amber Garr (4 stars)

About Promises
Book One of the Syrenka Series
(from Goodreads)

Sometimes following your heart can end up destroying the ones you love.

When seventeen-year-old Eviana Dumahl is faced with the responsibility of an arranged marriage and clan leadership, she is forced to choose between the life required of a mermaid and one of a teenage girl simply infatuated with the wrong guy. Kain, her devoted fiance, would make a wonderful husband except that she's been in love with Brendan, a shape-shifting selkie, ever since they were kids. Choosing to abandon her family, her clan, and her life with Kain will have dire consequences far beyond anything she could have imagined.

A war is brewing amongst the clans and Eviana unwittingly becomes a pawn in the intricate schemes of a twisted mastermind. With Brendan's life on the line, she has no choice but to involve those she once considered friends. Amidst encountering senseless tragedies and immense loss, Eviana discovers that she is more valuable as a clan leader than anyone ever suspected. Her survival is not only dependent upon the loyalty of her friends, but also on her acceptance of a life she so adamantly tried to escape.

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Eviana knows what she wants, and she's not afraid to do what's necessary to get it. She's in love, but it's not the guy--or the species for that matter--her parents have chosen. Eviana makes decisions based on love, but she doesn't have all the information. Will she really have to choose between her love and her family?

This was my first foray into the mermaid universe, and I wasn't sure what to expect. But, I loved the mermaid folklore and idea of selkies (I'd never heard of them before this book). Thankfully, this is a series, because I'm totally invested.

First, Eviana is a great character, flawed but full of heart. She struggles with her decision to leave her family, and her arranged marriage, knowing it will hurt those she leaves behind. But she truly believes she should follow her heart. It's a struggle she has throughout the book, and one without an easy answer. At times, she seems a bit whiny, but she has a lot to process. Who among us never whined as a teenager? But it never felt overdone or annoying. 

I have to admit... I am Team Kain. Since the book starts with Eviana already madly in love with her selkie, Brendan, I took it as fact; however, I didn't feel the connection between them. Granted, problems for them quickly arise, so it might not be a fair assessment. 

What I found most fascinating were all the creatures and clan politics. Some first books suffer from laying the groundwork, but this one was a fast read full of tantalizing information. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

If you are looking for a fast-paced, exciting, and intriguing read, look no further. 

Rating: 4 stars

About the Author

Amber Garr spends her days as a scientist and nights writing about other worlds. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain she has a supernatural sense of smell. Amber is a multiple Royal Palm Literary Award winner, author of the bestselling The Syrenka Series, The Leila Marx Novels, The Water Crisis Chronicles, and the upcoming Death Warden Series. When not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie. 

For even more fun facts, visit her Website About page

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