Scales by Pauline Creeden

Scales (A Mermaid Tale #0.5) by Pauline Creeden

Publisher: AltWit Press

Publication date: May 26, 2015

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Publisher's description

Verona is a bottom feeder. She is the one mer in her clan who is considered the ugliest and least intelligent. Growing up with the constant bullying and abuse wasn’t the worst of what her kind had in store for her. At seventeen years old, she must now endure “The Reckoning.”

The scales will measure her worth to her clan. Will she endure thirty days as a land-walker to gather information and knowledge to appease her clan and return a valued member? Will she wait three years, until she is twenty, and find a mer of her kind to accept her and marry her? Or will she suffer exile for the rest of her life?

My review (first shared on September 7, 2016)

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.

This is my first experience with a novella and my first experience with mermaids in fantasy fiction. The author dives right in (literally - see what I did there) to the tale of Verona. As a bottom feeder, she has to go through The Reckoning. Either live as a Land Walker for 30 days and bring back information and knowledge, find another mer who is willing to marry her, or live in exile the rest of her days - and not just any exile, an exile where she is in constant danger from her very own species.

Cast out as dim-witted and useless, Verona quickly proves that she is quite plucky and wise. She gets unlikely assistance from a mer who may be her answer to returning to her world or may just be repaying an old debt before he abandons her to the wilds of Bermuda as well. Verona teaches herself to hunt, avoids danger, and even finds recreation by eavesdropping on a Land Walker’s evening television program. There was a lot of story packed into a few pages and it left me wanting to read more about Verona. Ms. Creeden doesn’t paint a sympathetic picture of the mer folk. They are petty, lack compassion, and value knowledge above and even to the exclusion of close, personal relationships. Is it really best for warm-hearted Verona to return to them? Or would she be more at home with the passion-driven Land Walkers? Hopefully, we’ll find out more in the next novella in the collection when it is released. A quick read gives the reader a peek into a whole new fantasy world that leaves you wanting more - recommended.