Monday, August 13, 2012

4 STARS | Promises by Amber Garr

Title: Promises
Series: Syrenka #1
Author: Amber Garr
Age Group: Young Adult
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Elements: Mermaids, Shapeshifters
Publisher: Amber Garr
Format: PDF
ASIN: B006JS1TN4
Published: December 7th, 2011
Source: Bookshelf Confessions
Events: Book Tour | Summer Wrap Up Read-A-Thon | Review Copy Cleanup Challenge | Bout of Books Read-A-Thon | Sit Down and Write Write-A-Thon
Rating: 4/5 STARS
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Smashwords




Sometimes following your heart can end up destroying the ones you love.

When seventeen-year-old Eviana Dumahl is faced with the responsibility of an arranged marriage and clan leadership, she is forced to choose between the life required of a mermaid and one of a teenage girl simply infatuated with the wrong guy. Kain, her devoted fiancĂ© would make a wonderful husband except that she’s been in love with Brendan, a shape-shifting selkie, ever since they were kids. Choosing to abandon her family, her clan, and her life with Kain will have dire consequences far beyond anything she could have imagined.

A war is brewing amongst the clans and Eviana unwittingly becomes a pawn in the intricate schemes of a twisted mastermind. With Brendan’s life on the line, she has no choice but to involve those who she once considered friends. Amidst encountering senseless tragedies and immense loss, Eviana discovers that she is more valuable as a clan leader than anyone ever suspected. Her survival is not only dependent upon the loyalty of her friends, but also on her acceptance of a life that she had so adamantly tried to escape.

Promises is the first book of The Syrenka Series trilogy following Eviana and her friends through the perils of growing up in a discrete world that inherently threatens human society.
For anyone in a young love relationship, nothing else matters and responsibility and duty fly out the window. It's no different for Eviana Dumahl, next in line as leader of the Dumahl Clan, one of the strongest merfolk clans in the world. Forced into an arranged marriage to Kain Matthew, next in line as leader of the Matthew Clan, another of the strongest merfolk clans, by her parents, Eviana plans to run away with Brendan, who is a shapeshifting selkie and her boyfriend.

Eviana knows that it's selfish to run away from her family, her clan, her fiance, and her duties. She knows that her choice will hurt some and anger a lot. But what she doesn't know is that her choice has more dire consequences than she ever thought possible. An all-out war is brewing between the merfolk clans--and Eviana is unwittingly caught in the middle. Eviana will need to find the strength to rise to her place as leader of her clan and fight back--for all their sakes.

Something I wanted to point out was how Eviana, once she was informed of the war and internal clan struggles, said that if she had known of everything from the beginning, she would have made a different choice. I personally don't think she would have. This statement was made by an Eviana who grew and matured from who she was when she chose to run away. Eviana knew how important her role and duties within the clan were, even without the finer details, and she still ignored it all and only thought of herself. That is not a good trait in a leader--a leader thinks of her people first and herself last. Though Eviana grew from her experiences, it was too little, too late to prevent the consequences of her choice.

If I had to choose between Kain and Brendan, I would choose Kain, hands down. I felt so bad for him in the beginning, I wanted to give him a giant hug. It must be painful to love the girl you're engaged to marry and know that she'll never love you back. You know how in fairytales the princes has to be pure of heart to wake the sleeping princess? I like to think of Kain as being pure of heart, only his princess refuses to wake up. He tries to show Eviana the benefits of marrying him and the good it would do both their clans, but Eviana refuses to see. Kain is sweet, loving, and has so much strength. He really cares about his people--a great leader in the making! Toward the end, I felt Kain was right in his anger against Eviana--she ditched him on their wedding day! And what really irritated me was that she felt she had the right to feel hurt by his behavior toward her. I wanted to slap some sense into her. Though we don't see much of Brendan in Promises, I still feel I would choose Kain in the end.

The war brewing is between a group of merfolk who feel it is their right to use the Legacy they were gifted with, and those who feel it is wrong to use it. What is the Legacy, you ask? It is a gift the merfolk have to basically control other sea creatures (selkies, water sprites, nixies, kelpies) and humans. Those who think it is right to use the Legacy view themselves above everyone and see themselves as gods. Now what does Eviana have to do with all this? Eviana discovers she has a very strong, if not the strongest, ability to use the Legacy. Now both sides want her on their side of the war. As Sutherland said, Eviana is the key to, not only the two strongest clans, but also to winning the war.

The first chapter preview to book two, Betrayal, left me wanting to read more right away. I can't wait to see what happens next for Eviana and her friends, and the fate of all merfolk and sea creatures alike.

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Amber Garr spends her days conducting scientific experiments and wondering if her next door neighbor is secretly a vampire. Born in Pennsylvania, she lives in Florida with her husband and their furry kids. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain that she has a supernatural sense of smell. She writes both adult and young adult urban fantasies and when not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie.




Disclaimer: This review was originally posted in 2012 to my book blogs, Zodiac Book Reviews and A Bibliophiles Thoughts on Books.

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