Book Review: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous Beauty
Monstrous Beauty #1
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Reading Level: YA
Genre: Fantasy/Mermaids
Released: September 4th 2012
Review Source: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Available: Amazon

Summary: (from goodreads) 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.

I have been on a mermaid reading streak lately and I kinda likey. Monstrous Beauty was definitely different from the others, but in a good way of course. Elizabeth Fama really got creative with the story. She mixed mermaids, ghosts and a little bit of American history and it all worked melodiously together. There is one little thing that I wish they hadn't changed in the final book - the cover. Why, oh why, did they change the cover?! It was so beautiful! On my cover, it shows Syrenka laying on the rocks with her beautiful long bleach blond hair and her beautiful, but dangerous mermaid tail. The cover was absolutely mesmerizing. 

The story is during the 1800's in America. Syrenka is a siren who falls for a young man named, Ezra. The only problem is that Ezra is human. But that doesn’t stop Syrenka. She finds a way to become human (I am not going to say how, but it was a little gruesome.). Then the story jumps to the present day and we meet Hester, a teenage girl in high school. Its summer and Hester is working her summer job. One day she meets this mysterious young man and instantly feels a connection with him. Kind of like something is pulling her to him. Now, Hester swore that she would never fall in love because all of the woman in her family, as far back as she can remember, have all died after giving birth. So Hester figures, if she doesn’t fall in love, she won't have a baby and die. But this strange "pull" keeps luring her more and more to this stranger. Then she decides to find out what really happened to all the women in her family because she believes that it's some kind of curse. Hester will find out more than she bargained for. She will also meet ghosts and sea creatures along the way. 

I really enjoyed reading Monstrous Beauty. There were some things that were predictable, but others that really had me guessing and wanting to read more to see what was going to happen. If you are into sirens and mermaids, even ghosts, Monstrous Beauty is the book for you. But I warn you, there are a few scenes that were pretty gruesome and graphic. But, if you can get past that, you will truly enjoy it.


  1. Ooh, this one sounds interesting... I'll have to get and find out about the curse :)

  2. I've been meaning to read this book but I have an ARC & I believe the author said the ending changed in the final version so I'm waiting until I can get a copy.


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