Genre: Fantasy, Y.A
Age Group: teen+
Expected publication date: July 1st
Blurb: Florence is seventeen and invisible, she has been for most of her life and she likes it that way. She isn't popular and her clothes aren't in the latest fashions so being unnoticed is ideal. On a field trip to a small neighbouring island the unexpected happens and Florence is kidnapped by of all things a monstrous man with purple skin and yellow eyes.
She finds herself in a world that differs a great deal from her own. delivered there to become a magical familiar for the heir to the throne. Niemela is this world under the sea and some how Florence must find a way to return to the surface.
My thoughts: First of all, I began to read the book at night while I was very tired. The opening was enough to keep me reading and then the adventure really began. I love books that have anything to do with the sea. As a girl who lives on one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean (Barbados for those of you who don't know) the sea has always been one of my favourite places.
The first thing I noticed was that the author had some knowledge of the sea, Some people attempt to write books about the sea when they have never ever seen it in person. You simply can't write about something you haven't seen no matter how much you've heard about it.
The Fantasy created by Ciye in this book is very different from most books I've read that contained mythical sea creatures. Oh don't get me wrong there pretty, but not in the way portrayed by most authors. All in all I really loved the story and I would recommend that anyone who is a lover of fantasy and adventure get a copy.
My Rating: 5/5
Now for your reading pleasure an Interview with Ciye Cho
Bajan Rosa: When the idea for Florence come to you?
Ciye: Almost a year ago. I thought it would be cool to write a book about merfolk. Something different and possibly unexpected. Something with multicolored merpeople as vivid as the corals in a reef. Something with living architecture and deep-sea volcanoes.
(really loved this concept!)
Bajan Rosa: How old were you when you started writing the book and how old are you now?
Ciye: I was 25 when I started it. I'm now 26.
(A year wow! that's fast)
Bajan Rosa: Was it hard to complete Florence?
Ciye: Yes and no. It was hard arranging all the details into a tidy package, but it was also fun taking an imaginary journey below the sea.
Bajan Rosa: What inspired the Characters, the Merpeople especially?
Ciye: I wanted the Niemelans to be a species ruled by purpose, order, and belonging. And with that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to have characters who weren't in sync with the rest of their kind. (For example, Yolee, who doesn't behave like her peers; Rolan, who keeps to himself; and Kiren, who has too many secrets to be an ordinary mer.)
As for Florence, I wanted to tell this story through the eyes of an outsider. I liked the idea that Florence is not only trying to escape... but also trying to discover where she belongs.
Bajan Rosa: Do you live close to the sea? Or did you do research and did this knowledge come in handy while you wrote your book?
Ciye: I live on the Gold Coast (in Australia), so the sea isn't that faraway. When I was a child, my parents brought me to Hamilton Island and I remember snorkeling there. The colors of the reef were dazzling! Like an underwater dream. So I guess those memories came in handy when I wrote "Florence."
However, I also watched a lot of documentaries (stuff like Blue Planet)... and of course, I read a lot of YA fiction.