Thursday, July 11, 2013

YA Fantasy: Midnight Pearls by Debbie Viguie

Series: Once Upon a Time
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date: 2003
Format: paperback
Source: purchased used
Read: to clean out my TBR pile
Pages: 198
Reading time: an hour and 45 minutes

From GoodReads: In a quiet fishing village seventeen years ago, one lone fisherman rescued a child from the sea. He and his wife raised the girl, Pearl, as their own daughter, never allowing themselves to wonder long about where she came from — or notice her silver hair, usually pale skin, and wide, dark blue eyes. Pearl grows from a mysterious child into an unusual young woman, not always welcomed in the village. As all the other girls her age find husbands, she has only one friend to ease her loneliness. One very special, secret companion: Prince James. But their friendship is shaken when trouble erupts in the kingdom — a conspiracy against the royal family combines with an evil enchantment from beneath the sea. Now, just when Pearl and James need each other most, bewitching magic and hints about Pearl's past threaten to tear them apart...forever.

My review: Midnight Pearls is much like the rest of the Once Upon a Time series in that its retelling of a classic tale is quite inventive, but it goes by way too fast. There's not much easing into the setting and characters before the main plot takes off, so readers don't really get in-depth looks at the main figures. Things got super-complicated super-fast, like, "Whoa, where did that come from?" And then there was a major time skip; one page, someone's uncovering a huge conspiracy, but on the next, we've skipped ahead a couple days and no one's doing anything to deal with the murder plot.

But Viguie certainly held up the series' reputation for creativity. The story of "The Little Mermaid" is split between multiple characters, which ups the ante. Without just one "Little Mermaid," the plot becomes more complicated and, really, more interesting, since readers also lose their preconceived notions of the ending. The writing could also be cheesy and unintentionally funny at times, making Midnight Pearls a fun read in which to lose oneself for a couple hours.

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