“Her father was wrong. Everything had changed. Her eyes had been opened. Even looking out to sea from her seat on the boat, it seemed clearer.”
*** A copy of this book was kindly given to me by the author through Ethereal Book Reviews in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
(Guest Reviewer Program) ***
If you are in the mood to read fantasy, but need a break from all those vampire, witch and wizard infested stories, read Discovering Daniel. If you want to read about life on a small island and discover a new underwater world, choose Discovering Daniel. Nadine Christian, living herself on the Pitcairn Island she describes in her story, decides to explore a lesser used mythical creature in her book: mermaids. Not the Ariel/Disney kind of mermaids, but a whole community of Mer both gracious and potentially dangerous… Christian is able to mix this fantasy element succesfully with the story of a young girl growing up on a small island; a girl who will find out soon enough there is more to the island than she originally thinks there is. Definitely recommended!
It all starts when Ava is just nine years old and goes on a fishing trip with her father and her uncle Sam. When Ava falls into the water after having seen something overwhelming, her father hits his head trying to save her… Leaving Ava alone and terrified in the water. What happens next is something she won’t be able to remember for a long time afterwards: they were saved by two splendid examples of the Mer community close to Pitcairn Island (‘mermales’). Whole communities of Mer have been existing all over the world for ages, keeping their residence deep down in the sea where humans cannot reach them. They have been been wrongly accused of attacking ships and killing people for so long that they now prefer to live in secret to avoid problems… But the two mermales knew Ava’s father, and they rescued him even though it was against the rules. The boy, Daniel, is only slightly older than Ava and calms her with his voice while his father Nathaniel goes out looking for uncle Sam.
Ava only remembers the events of that dreadful day when she is seventeen, and goes out to try and find Daniel against the will of her family. When her investigation finally leads Ava to Daniel, she is so intrigued by him that she simply cannot bear stop meeting with him. A Mer and a Walker (human) are forbidden to even interact, but both are stubborn and are slowly falling in love… Although neither of them admit it. Daniel is able to transform his mermale body into that of a human, and one day he changes to spend the day with Ava and learn more about her. But her Uncle Sam recognized Daniel, and sets Ava an ultimatum: she has to stop seeing Daniel, or he will stop it for her. The next day Daniel had promised her to show her his world and Ava simply couldn’t resist… Thinking one last day probably won’t hurt them. Unfortunately someone saw them as they were together, and Daniel was taken under custody by the Mer. His father Nathaniel gives Ava a choice: she could help getting Daniel free, but she would have to turn into a mermaid for it and enter the Mer world… Will she accept so she won’t lose Daniel again?
Discovering Daniel has pleasantly surprised me. This mix between fantasy, romance and island life just worked perfectly, and the writing style just flows and makes the story easy to read. The story has some twists and surprises thrown in as well; I can guarantee you won’t see it coming when they reveal the truth about Ava. I will definitely try to check out more of her work in the future!