Saturday, October 23, 2010

Forgive My Fins, by Tera Lynn Childs

Lily has always had a crush on swimming hunk Brody Bennett, but all she ever seems to get is unwanted attention from her obnoxious neighbor Quince. The worst part is that she is running out of time. Lily is a Thalassinian princess - a mermaid - and if she doesn't bond with Brody by her 18th birthday, her underwater kingdom will go without an heir. An unexpected prank at the Prom from Quince causes complications when he accidentally bonds Lily to himself (instead of to her true love). Now, she must prove that her affections are really with Brody and not with Quince to be free of the bond.

The story is tried and true, and utterly familiar and predictable. We all know that she will end up with Quince, since even though she despises him from the beginning, everyone around them thinks that they will be a great couple. We simply have to wait for her to recognize it as well. The key is whether the journey to the predictable conclusion will be worthwhile. I'll freely admit that "true love" romances are not my thing (more on that below), but this one in particular really didn't break any new ground. Mermaid stories (especially ones that compare mermaid life to American high school life) have been common enough in recent years. This one is so lacking in tension and suspense, that I found myself counting the pages until we got to the part where she would get over herself and fall for Quince.

OK, so why so cold on the true love theme? You might rack that cynicism up to me being a guy, but I suspect that age has more to do with it than gender. I like a good romance, where the characters struggle with their feelings and fall in love, but the idea that one can just be in love without any effort is so unrealistic and so uninteresting. Why would you care about people who don't have to work at it? In the end, I wasn't really convinced that Lily's feelings for Quince were any deeper than her infatuation with Brody.

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