Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Review - The Rising by Terra Harmony

The Rising (The Painted Maidens Trilogy, #1)Title: The Rising (The Painted Maidens #1)
Author: Terra Harmony
Expected publication: 7th November 2013 by Patchwork Press
Source: NetGalley

Fifteen-year-old Serena is the youngest member of a dying race. The increasing acidity of the ocean is destroying her home, slowly eating away at the once thriving underwater landscape. But since the night of Serena’s birth, it is an outside force that most threatens their dwindling population. Werewolves, who once served as protectors for mermaids in the Kingdom of the Undine, now seek to eliminate all who dwell in the ocean — and Serena is about to find herself right in the middle of the deadly conflict.

Given the title of Werewolf Liaison, Serena is determined to make things right for her people. When she ventures to The Dry, she meets Liam, the werewolf with hazel eyes, and her whole world gets turned upside down. As Serena discovers the real history between werewolves and mermaids, she is left wondering who her true enemies are. [Goodreads]

I started reading this after just finishing a book I’d rated 5 stars…I was on that book high, hoping this would carry on. Unfortunately, I came back down to earth and felt myself struggling through the start of The Rising. I need to point out that this isn’t a negative review, I did actually enjoy most of the story and the premise of a history between mermaids and werewolves, but the book didn’t blow me away. As I started it, I found myself getting confused with the terminology the author used so early on and it kept drawing me out of the narrative. It felt like I was stumbling my way through the first few chapters, trying to make sense of not only what was going on, but what was making me carry on reading. I very nearly gave up, but decided to keep going hoping it would get better.

I think the main problem was that the author was throwing too much at me, too soon. I was actually really looking forward to reading a book centred around mermaids, as I can’t think of one I’ve read before, but I think the magic of the mermaids and their kingdom just became lost and failed to hook me in at the beginning. The author has created this well detailed kingdom under the sea, where the Society lives and work, but due to these details, the reader needs to quickly learn what the rules are regarding these mermaids and how their Society works. There was no exciting scene to get me interested enough to want to learn this information, which in turn made the details feel forced upon me.

However, once I got used to the mermaids way of life, the plot picked up. We’re introduced to the threat of werewolves that guard The Dry – the land above the kingdom, and the harsh truth of rising Co2 levels in the sea which are rapidly destroying the mermaid’s natural habitat. The story follows Serena, the youngest mermaid left in Society, as she is given the job of Werewolf Liaison as an attempt to rectify the broken down relationship between mermaids and werewolves that has gone on for sixteen years. Once their protectors on The Dry, the wolves turned against the mermaids as they came ashore in an event named The Maiden’s Massacre, which left them all dead apart from Serena. The plot culminates in a very eventful ending which proved to be quite a dark and gruesome read – something I was not expecting, but I’m glad it didn’t end on a cliffhanger. The story was set-up for the following book without leaving me crying out in frustration, so I will decide later whether or not I will carry on with the series.

There is a slight romance in the story that fitted in well with the plot and showed another side of Serena to the reader. I didn’t particularly connect with Serena though – she was labeled as an outcast to Society but we never knew why and I felt like I couldn’t really relate to her. She seemed to enjoy the fact that she was a bit of a loner, but got upset when she thought she wasn’t getting the support she wanted from the rest of Society. I did, however, really enjoy the scenes with Mariam in the kingdom’s archives – the images of shelves upon shelves of books containing the history of the kingdom, especially the King’s forbidden library enticed me. Both her and Rayne, the mermaid who runs the orphanage, acted as brilliant mother figures to Serena, and brought emotions out in the young mermaid we wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

I did also enjoy reading about the history of the kingdom and the feud between the mermaids and the werewolves. I think the author has created something quite original, especially with all the details she has included. However, it did leave me a bit confused over some plot points, mainly the truth behind Serena’s family, but I assume this will be looked at more closely in the following book. Overall, I thought this was quite a good read, and would recommend it for people interested in reading about mermaids with an original twist. 


  1. I've yet to find a mermaid book that *really* just blows me away, you know? It sounds like this is well done, but I'm not sure it sounds exceptional. Either way, thanks for putting it on my radar, Hannah! Great review :)

  2. I also loved the relationship between Serena and Mariam, the archives were in fact my favourite setting, too. I´m really interesting in finding out how the story continues. Nice review :)


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