The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill
Series: Genre: Fantasy | Retellingt | Young Adult
Length: 320 pages
Published on 3rd May 2018 by Scholastic
Purchase: Amazon | TBD
Louise O’Neill: Twitter | Goodreads
Purchased for myself from WhSmith
Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans. A book with the darkest of undercurrents, full of rage and rallying cries: storytelling at its most spellbinding.
Its just gone midnight and I leave tomorrow to go to London!
When I initially picked up this retelling of The Little Mermaid it was shelved under the teen section and it covers some pretty heavy topics which took me back a bit.
[physical and mental abuse, eating disorders, homophobia, abortions, and possibly others I’ve forgotten about]
I asked my friends who’d read it and they all agreed that it was Young Adult.
So with this information I went back in with a new point of view and found it easier to digest.
I read this whole book over 3 days which for me is amazingly quick. I really did enjoy it.
The Surface Breaks focuses on Gaia struggling to find her place in her Kingdom that is under a patriarch rule – to the point any female mermaids deemed Not Pretty Enough, Not Good Enough, Not Conforming Enough, are banished to the outlands to starve.
Following the story we all know Gaia falls in love with a human boy, saves his life, and seeks out a way to become home to win his love.
In doing so she gives up her voice.
Her time on land was interesting to read about because it was a challenge for her to win his love whilst not only voiceless, but in agonising pain in her legs. The description of the pain and look of her feet as time progresses is very gruesome!
Added to this the boys mother doesn’t really trust her and the boy isn’t the best at keeping his mood swings in check. So Gaia has a challenge indeed.
My favourite parts from this book were the scenes that featured Sea Witch. It was great to see her as such a contrast to the world and rules Gaia knew.
But also when she shows up at the end to provide Gaia with a new possibility. A new life.
Its at this point that really moved the read to a 4 star read for me.
When Gaia realises she has her own choices and power. When she takes a stand for herself, and pathes the way for a better future for herself and her sisters.
I definitely recommend giving this book a read, and by the time this post goes live I’ll have met Louise too!!!