Monday, January 30, 2012

Between Sea and Sky, by Jaclyn Dolamore (fiction) - mermaids, flying folk, love and loss

The lure of the forbidden...
The temptation to go just a step further from home...
The realization that you might not ever be able to go back...

Esmerine's world encompasses not only the classic attraction of mermaids and humans for one another, but also the tensions between the land-dwellers and the flying Fandarsee. Reveling in the 'life of the mind' and deeply intelligent discussion, these flying folk also are the messenger corps of this wide place, able to travel faster and farther than even the nobility's best horses.

Perhaps the memory of their childhood friendship will be enough to convince Alan to defy his overbearing father's demands long enough to help Esmerine find her sister. Or maybe the elder Fandarsee's deep loathing of merfolk will hinder their search until it's too late for Dosia.

You'll have to read Between the Sea and Sky to find out for yourself. Check with your local library or independent bookstore for this original and complex tale of the peoples of land, sea, and sky.

Book info: Between the Sea and Sky / Jaclyn Dolamore. Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2011. [author's website] [publisher site]

My Recommendation: At last, Esmerine has earned her siren’s golden belt, imbued it with magic so she can defend the mermaid village and the sea. She’s excited to join her older sister Dosia as a siren; they’ve always enjoyed that junction of air and ocean, not to mention their glimpses of land-dwellers in boats and on shore.

Merfolk sometimes tease Esmerine about her childhood friendship with that flying boy who brought books to share with her on a tiny island. Paper never lasts under the sea, so she has only memories of the stories she and Alander read together. Perhaps she’ll see other flying folk soon, and one of those messengers can take her greetings to him.

The young sirens patrol near the surface, and if necessary use the power of their alluring songs to stop greedy humans from overfishing or exploring too close to the merfolk. Sometimes they must resort to overturning a boat or letting the ocean claim intruders from the surface. Always, always, always, the sirens have been warned against speaking to human men, for the pull felt between mermaids and men is strong and subtle.

When Dosia doesn’t return from a secret rendezvous with a young man on land, Esmerine knows that she must go ashore, transform her beautiful tail to awkward legs, put on human clothes, endure the fiery pains of each footstep, and find her sister before it’s too late – and Dosia is doomed to have land-legs forever.

At the seaport, she learns that her friend Alander now works at a bookshop – maybe he can check with the flying messengers to help Esmerine find Dosia. Grown up, he’s known as Alan now; the Fandarsee man discovers that Lord Carlo had fallen in love with Dosia and has taken her by carriage to his mountain castle to be married there.

How can Esmerine travel all the way from the shore to the mountains? Will it be too late to help Dosia return to the sea? And why does even arguing about little things with Alan feel better than Esmerine’s patrols with the sirens?

In this richly imagined world where humans, merfolk, and Fandarsee must find ways to co-exist, young Esmerine must discover where her heart can truly live. (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy courtesy of the publisher.


  1. Nice to meet you from A to Z. Is this book for Middle Grade?
    Do you review only books from publishers?

    1. Hi, Susan - yes, this book would be fine for Middle Graders, even though Esmerine is 16 years old. There is some danger and peril to the characters, but the 'love interest' is gentle and not explicit.

      And since I am an independent reviewer, I do not guarantee recommendation for any book that I read, nor a specific timeframe for posting my recommendations on BooksYALove.

      I do honor any publisher or author requests that reviews not appear too far in advance of the book's actual publication date; it's mean to tempt readers with a great book that won't be available to them for months and months!


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