Article first published as Book Review:The Mers by Ami Blackwelder
Knowing who you are and believing in yourself are what most
believe create that inner feeling of completeness and possibly even happiness.
For those who do not know of their familial background, a quest for information
almost always begins.
In The Mers by Ami Blackwelder, the author takes us into
such a situation, one our heroine, Mira, can only guess at. Living among the Mers, a people that have
evolved after the Great Deluge, she understands she is not like them. They have
gills and webbed appendages, while she is not comfortable in the water and is
not equipped with the standard gills or webs. Her hair is another stand out, it
is bright cherry red and is not like that of any of her friends. Nonetheless she knows she is loved and she
loves her friends and family with abandon. She just feels a little like an
outcast because she is not like anyone else she knows. She thinks she may be more like the humans, but they are bad and she
does not want to think about them. They are dangerous and want nothing more
than to destroy the Mers.
After the flood, necessity caused many changes and when adaptions
such as the Mers possessed came to light it created fear and distrust. War
ensued and after peace was brokered, the Mers were allowed to live their lives
on Liberty Shore, the former Ellis Island, away from the humans. The Humans
kept New Jersey and life became more peaceful. The treaty worked for many
years, but things were beginning to change. Strange water waves and dangerous
sea creatures were now in evidence and threatening the lives and existence of
the Mers. While lives were lost among the Mers, it was the disappearances that
were the most disturbing. Life was becoming unbearable. Pirates were raiding
their shores looking for bounty but kidnapping Mers as well. What was behind
this new and sinister danger?
As the danger creeps even closer, Mira learns a small piece
of her past. She is a foundling, and her adopted parents believe she is human.
They want only what is best for her and fear for her safety. Mira decides to
break the rules and she and her best friend Nerin cross the border that separates
these two entities in an effort to find the answers she is searching for. Is she
really prepared for the answers? What they discover is both shocking and horrifying;
they must find a way to warn the Mers, but how? They have been captured, but
there is something very strange happening to Mira, she seems to be gaining the
ability to do small bits of mind control. When they are helped by the Kings own
son to escape, they find themselves in a fight for their lives to save their
family and friends. Even as this evil is raging on, Mira learns part of the
truth of her past. Can she live with what she learns of who she is?
Blackwelder has given us a dystopian world and created a
society of different people that have become survivors. As with all societies
she has built in the pettishness, and jealousy, as well as the fear of those
who are different. Through it all she has weaved a gentle twist of romance and
hope, and a love of family.
Her characters create feelings in the reader, the mostly
gentle ways of the Mer draw you to them, yet their strength makes you
understand their capabilities. The Humans have their own foibles and while most
are caring and loving, the class system that is in place separates them too
much. The distinctions are too extreme causing a feudal system with a King that
has proclaimed his power. Blackwelder has given us a wicked Monarch that is
easy to dislike, one who also has something to hide. Not because he is ashamed
but because he plans to win at all costs.
If you enjoy end of the world scenarios, as well as mystery,
romance and danger you will enjoy The Mers. There is beauty and abundance
littered with hope. But betrayal raises the stakes and the adventure keeps you
reading to find out how the Mers can survive, or even if they will.
This book was received as a free download from the author. All opinions are my own based on my reading and understanding of the material.