Review: ‘Monstrous Beauty’ by Elizabeth Fama

I received this book for free from NetGalley, requested from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ‘Monstrous Beauty’ by Elizabeth FamaMonstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) on September 4th, 2012
Genres: Love & Romance, Mermaids, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 295
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley, requested from publisher
Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

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The title sure sums up this book nicely. Monstrous Beauty.. How can a beauty be a monster as well? Well if you read this one, you’ll be sure to question whether or not that person has good intentions. These mermaids are beautiful, yet conniving. Their ways are manipulative, deceitful, and downright dangerous. And yes that is why mermaids are one of my favourite genres in teen novels. There’s so much intrigue and craziness found in the depths of the sea.

It’s told in two viewpoints. One from the past, and one of the present. Elizabeth Fama weaves both together so well, that at the end the conclusion sums up everything that has happened quite nicely. Almost like a neat little package. With a bow on top of course. Beautiful writing woven with a plot that made me want to keep reading well into the night. The characters are unbelievably flawed, yet you can feel their vulnerability and the reasons why they did what they sought out to do. Syrenka being one character that you can’t help but love and hate at the same time. Sure there were a lot of characters introduced in the book, and yes I had to flip back through pages to remember who they were, but it wasn’t hard to remember some more memorable characters.

The pacing is perfect, and the story and plot kept developing so fast, that I couldn’t help but finish reading it well into the night. There’s always that big ending that makes you keep reading, and Monstrous Beauty definitely has it. Mermaids are the new dystopia themed novels, and Monstrous Beauty adds to that trend. I will definitely gobble up more books in this series, quite happily I might add.


There is no satisfaction in eternity. Only loss.
You’re not a dork, you’re adorkable.
It’s just not every day you find a male model hiding in a cave.
A lifetime with you wouldn’t have been enough.





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  2. Cali W.

    May 25, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Cool review! i love mermaid books with some romance; i will have to give this book a try. 😉

  3. Ashley @ FireStarBooks

    December 8, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    OMG! I LOOOOVEEE Mermaid books! I heard soooo many great things about it and I am sooo happy that you loved it too! I must start this one soon! 😀

  4. Preeti Joan

    December 5, 2012 at 7:39 AM

    I’ve been looking for good mermaid books for a while. I’ve read Of Poseidon and I thought it was cool. So I have been searching for more “similar” books and I think I’ve found it! I definitely love your review. It makes me want to read it ASAP!

  5. Grace Lo

    October 9, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    I too was quite intrigued by the title and its meaning, and reading your review definitely made me want to read more!
    It’s interesting to read a book with two separate time periods, and an author that could manage to do that would be a genius in my book. Right now, I can’t help but wonder what kind of person Ezra is . . . *insert ominous music*

  6. The Bumble Girl

    August 22, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    This. Sounds. Amazing! I’ve seen it around, and love the summary/cover, but haven’t heard much about it. The whole two viewpoints and the weaving of the past and the future really intrigues me. I am definitely adding this to my wishlist – thank you 🙂

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