ARC Review: Florence by Ciye Cho

Posted June 20th, 2012 in book review / 8 comments


by Ciye Cho

Publisher: Self-Published (July 1, 2012)
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Review Request by Author
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 stars)

Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of a dark ocean.

Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand–and find out where she belongs–Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart… and her very soul. ~ Goodreads

At a Glance
Let’s put it this way, I planned on reading this book in a month or so but once I read the first few chapters to decide whether or not to accept the review request, I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what was going to happen next. I then proceeded to read the whole book in a day and a half.

The Good
Under the Sea…
Florence tries her best to stay unnoticed. It’s better that way, easier. Then the merpeople had to screw that all up. Captured and taken far under the ocean, Florence finds that breathing under water is possible, that for some reason she understands the merpeople’s language, and that being the only human amongst a sea of merpeople is as scary as it sounds. Now the focus of attention, Florence must learn to live in a new world of beauty and terror. For the Darkness lurks in this underwater world and it has horrible plans for the people of the sea, the Niemelan. Now the question is whether Florence should trust Kiren, the soon to be crowned King, or his brother Rolan, the merman who has treated her ruthlessly from the beginning but has inner torment Florence can’t help but want to fix.

This was my first mermaid book, and I was not disappointed. It had everything: beautiful descriptions that made it feel like I was deep within the ocean right along with Florence, an evil force out to destroy the merpeople, and a kind of love triangle that wasn’t as clear cut as one might think. Cho has a way of weaving a tale that makes you jump with glee and wallow in heartache all at the same time.

Florence was an interesting character. She wasn’t larger than life or especially amazing one way or the other. She was an average girl who preferred anonymity over the spotlight. And when thrust into a world where she is the outsider, she does her best to find her place. Though the majority of the Niemelan hate her, she has a few friends that make being stuck underwater bearable. As the story went on, Florence’s determination and bravery grew as she had to choose sides in an upcoming conflict. She doesn’t take the easy road. She carves her own path and finds that she actually likes her new home and her new friends.

I thought the side characters were pretty interesting, too. Kiren, with his smooth talking and undeniable charm. Rolan, the strong, silent type who’s motives and intentions no one can guess. Their sister Yolee, free spirited and loving. They all brought out good and bad parts of Florence. They drew her further into their world until she no longer wanted to leave.

The Darkness…
I also enjoyed the baddies in this book. We are never quite sure who to trust or what the Darkness wants from the Niemelan. There was a lot going on behind the scenes and little was revealed until near the end of the book, which helped amp up the suspense and mystery. The horrendous creatures that continued to attack the Nienmelan gave me the creeps. Cho does not hold back when it comes to detailed descriptions. I could imagine every inch of the creatures to the point of giving myself nightmares.

Till the End…
The story flowed very well. There was a good balance of action, world building, and romance. I was sad to turn the last page because I didn’t want to leave the characters and world I had become so attached to in Florence. This is the kind of book that will hold your attention the whole way through.

The Bad
The only thing that bothered me was how many questions I was left with by the end. I wish there was a little more to leave me satisfied. I hope Cho is planning on a second book because if not then I would be disappointed that it ended like it did.

The Snuggly
The romance is very YA-ish. Kissing is as far as this book goes, so it’s suitable for most ages. I liked how Florence built a slow relationship with one of the brothers even when a romance seemed so unlikely. The couple only get together near the end so I would say the focus is not romance. But I didn’t mind that at all.

If you’ve never read a mermaid book before, I think Florence is a great way to start. And if you have read many mermaid books, I don’t see how you could leave this one out of your reading list. I was sucked into the story straight away and I never wanted to be spit back out. 🙂 Highly recommended.

He turned to look at me and added, “I’m aware of how wrong it is to have a human here.”

“It’s more than wrong–it’s dangerous,” said Rolan. He paused to stare at me. “We have to get rid of it.”

My eyes widened. Did they know I could understand them?

Kiren looked at me and his smile faded. “It’s a she…” he whispered, more to himself than to his brother. “But yes, it is far too dangerous.” He let out another sigh, then bit down on his lower lip for a moment. “Such a shame…”

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8 Responses to “ARC Review: Florence by Ciye Cho”

  1. Ashley

    I know I’m kind of digging up an old post here, but I LOVE your review! I’ve been wanting to read Florence but just haven’t gotten around to getting a copy yet. Now I can’t wait to read it!

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