"Sketching his crooked smile had become a habit for Halen, not easily tamed. Flipping through her notebook, the boy's gray eyes stared back from the pages--almost one hundred drawings in three months..."
Tiffany Daune's novel Coral & Bone introduced me to a new world in YA (three worlds, maybe?)...
It's a modern day version of Earth with mermaids, sirens, half-sirens, guardians and the sacred and terrifying blue moon siren.
Daune's heroine, Halen, started off a little difficult to reach for me as a reader. I couldn't understand why she wore earplugs in her high school class, why she panicked and had an attack of what I call the "crazies" or what exactly she and her mother were running from.
I know, I know...when I teach creative writing workshops, I always always always get on my writers about starting with too much fluff and backstory in that first chapter. I'm constantly beating them over their heads to drop us in the middle of the action and that's exactly what our author did. Sp I should shut up already and get on with the review...
I promise it didn't take me long to catch up, though. And I'm glad I stuck with it. This ride is worth the uber entrenched first scene.
The crux of the book lies in the fact that Halen, our unwilling Campbell-esque hero, is the last to understand what's going on in Elosia and on Earth. She's part of a prophecy and situated just so--she can either hinder the destruction of all Elosia and Earth hold dear or she can actually cause the destruction of all Elosia and Earth hold dear.
This was all very new territory to me and Daune went and took that coconut-wearing image of mermaids that I've held dear since the first time I watched "Peter Pan" and turned it on its head.
These mermaids are terrifying and deadly and, much to my dismay, are able to make me jump in my chair when they come through the bathroom drain with their poisonous selves. They were terrifying!
The plot relied heavily on intrigue. Lots of secrets and mistruths spread out the entire book that it got just a bit tiresome--I think maybe somewhere in there, enough could have been enough. Give the girl the information she needs to save the world already. It's twisty and turny and you're never really allowed to get comfy with what you think you know....it's actually a good thing!
I struggled a tiny little bit with the romance between Halen and her guardian Dax (who might've held a candle for his previous charge?). It was slow to start and I didn't always feel the connection I was supposed to...but I also have to keep in mind, Daune's timing in the story went rather quickly...I'm so used to my heroes and heroines knowing it's mad, deep, forever true love from the starting gun, maybe it's not supposed to be overwhelming and perfect in this first book. (Lucky for me, the author left the ending open for another book in the series. Yay!)
Things I loved:
- The author created something so new, so beautiful in the worlds she built. I was hooked.
- The cover. Beautiful. Creepy. Ethereal. Awful. LOVED IT!
- Halen's journey. I wasn't always sure I'd root for her, but I really do think Halen did what all heroes are supposed to...they end up different than they started.
I was impressed!
Title: Coral & Bone
Author: Tiffany Daune
Publisher: Tiffany Daune
Price: $3.99 (ebook)
Author Website: TiffanyDaune.com
Author Twitter: @tiffanydaune
Goodreads review available here.
(I received a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley. All opinions are my own, ya'll!)