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Review: Mermaid's Destiny

My rating: 2 of 5 stars ⭐⭐
Duration: 6 hrs 48 mins.
Publisher: Alvin Chiew.

Mermaid's Destiny, Meragon Book 1 by Mira Crest is a light, sweet, magical adventure requiring teamwork in the face of adversity, to challenge kingdoms and traditions across the supernatural realms.

Audible Summary: "Mermaid. Dragon Shifter. An action-filled tale of epic adventure and magic. 
Cirona's the royal heir of the Merfolk, locked up in a dark prison next to a large and mighty black dragon, Argun. Bound by the magical cages that imprison them, forging an unwilling alliance might be their only avenue of escape. 

But breaking out is only the beginning. Finding themselves in an ancient city, Cirona and Argun must use their wits and magic to battle enemies of dark magic and stop an old evil from arising.

©2018 Alvin Chiew (P)2019 Alvin Chiew." 

Mermaid's Destiny is a sweet, clean, little fantasy adventure, but despite being categorised as Epic Fantasy on Audible, it felt much more like a children's book. Until a gently passionate clinch in Chapter 25, I would have said it was solidly middle-grade, but the romance may bump it up to young YA. (Though it is not a 'kissing book', to paraphrase The Princess Bride, I think that it would have been in the 11-13 Years shelf of my local library.)

I found the story rather slow to get going, with dragon and mermaid taking forever to figure out where they were, how to escape, and whether or not to work together. Once they did, the action picked up, and they had to combine their strengths and overcome their people's indoctrinated prejudices to save Cirona's soul, and Argun's heart.

As their journey progressed it was nice to see the quiet, empathetic mermaid prove to be the more magically-powerful of the two, and gain confidence in both her abilities and her character as she battled onwards beside the warrior dragon. Argun, in turn, learnt the benefit of Cirona's compassion and consideration, dampening his fiery arrogance a little as his appreciation and affection for Cirona grew.

Part of the reason why it felt overwhelmingly like a children's book is because it conforms to all the basic tenets of junior fiction; the language is clear and simple, there is no swearing, the lines between good and evil are distinct and unyielding, and the soulmates' faith in each other turns to a true love that conquers all. There are moral messages throughout which teach the benefits of teamwork and friendship, embracing the differences between communities, and the perils of avarice and the pursuit of power.

Whilst there is some resolution, it's unfortunate that the story ended on quite such a cliffhanger. It's nice when the first book in a series is a stand-alone story which leaves room for more adventures, rather than feeling so unfinished. It appears that the author prefers beginning series to completing them, as Mira Crest has several 'Book 1' titles for various series' on both Amazon and Audible, but they have not been followed up.

The narrator, Beverley Murray, had a nice, clear voice and read in a bright, lively, manner. Her performance reminded me of being read fairytales at bedtime as a child.

The voice Murray gave Cirona made her sound very young, which fit the story well once I realised it was YA. There was not really enough depth in her voice for the dragon, Argun, as he often sounded like a middle-aged, matronly woman.

I would happily listen to Murray again, though, and think that she would be a wonderful narrator for other children's books and women's fiction, in particular.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fantasy adventure they can listen to on road trips with older children, or those looking for a book to suit kids who are at that 'in between' age; too old for middle-grade books but not quite ready for the adult themes in YA. Be prepared to wait for answers, however, as the next book in the series is unavailable.

*I received this audiobook free of charge in the hope of an honest, unbiased review.

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