Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Swimming Without A Net by Mary Janice Davidson

Happy New Year! OK, a day late, but still HAPPY NEW YEAR! It was this time last year that dee and I settled in here at the new site and I have to say it's been a good year. I hope everyone of you survived the transition from 2007 to 2008 flawlessly and that the new year finds you with healthy and happy. And now, without further ado...

Swimming Without A Net by MaryJanice Davidson

Plenty of Fish in the Sea

It's not normal for a mermaid to hate being out in open water, but Fred never claimed to be normal. To visit the undersea realm of Artur, the High Prince, and the rest of the royal merfamily, she has to fin it to the Cayman Islands. Luckily, hunky marine biologist Thomas is along for the swim - in his custom-made underwater RV. He'll be able to explore where no "outlander" has gone before and give Fred a place to escape to when the Undersea Folk start getting on her nerves.

Bus as Fred tries to fit in with her own kind, she finds herself hooked on bother Artur and Thomas, and caught between to factions of merfolk: those happy with swimming under the radar - and those who want to bring their existence to the surface...

As far as the BCC goes, eh, nice try but it really misses in several instances. You'll see what I mean as I dish. Before I go any further though, I'll point you to the dish of the first book in the series here.

OK, now that you've read that, you can see that I had doubts about the series after reading the first one. I still enjoyed the first one quite a bit, but as I read Net, I began to question my own devotion as a fan of MJD.

Basically, in SWAN Fred is summoned to attend a mermaid Pelagic, a meeting of merfolk to determine whether or not they would come to the surface and announce to the world their existence. Thomas is invited to go along as well, since Artur plans to use the chance to woo Fred, he wants to give Thomas the same chance. It isn't until after Fred arrives at the Caymans where the Pelagic is to take place, that she finds out the reason her attendance was required.

Fred's father was a traitor to the royal family, and though he is no longer welcome in their midst's, he did have some fellow merfolk who believed he was right in wanting to go public. Since Fred is a hybrid, both human and mermaid, her testimony is of the most importance at the Pelagic. Who better to help the merfolk decide whether or not to stay hidden than some one who lives a double life, as both a biped and a mermaid?

Fred faces opposition from several of the merfolk who feel that since Fred's father was a traitor she should be shunned as well. However, out of respect for the royal family, she is tolerated. But Fred is torn herself. After all, she knows that humans have not always shown a tolerance for different, and coming out of the water (so to speak) could cause the merfolk to be stuffed in aquariums and zoos to be gawked at and studied.

With her best friend Jonas along, Fred also finds an ally in Tennian. Another mermaid, who has ties to the royal family, but also seems to find Thomas very attractive. Fred isn't sure whether she likes Tennian or wants to see her cut up and fried into fish sticks.

In true Davidson style SWAN is short, just 281 pages. Also in true Davidson style, Fed has a mouth on her that won't quit. Where SWAN veers a bit from form is that it actually has a plot. Not only a plot but a subplot as well. The problem with this, is, once again, Davidson's affinity for short story telling.

SWAN has so much potential, but with the short word count and so much going on, it falls flat. Not one of the plot points gets explored as deeply as could/should be. The love "triangle" is talked about, not shown, and the Pelagic gets a lot of mention, but not much actual airtime. The ending is rushed, and not very satisfying as the threads are left too loose.

I did laugh out loud as we meet Artur's father the King, and find he has an affinity for HBO series TV, and believes that when addressing bipeds he should do so in the way they would in the normal course of things. Unfortunately, he learns this dialect from DEADWOOD, and refers to the humans quite colorfully.

All in all, I was quite disappointed in SWAN. I'll continue to buy the Undead books, but I think for all else, I'll have to pass. Like I quoted in the last dish, MJ has said she can write fast or she can write long, I think I'd prefer to see the long version when it comes to non-Betsy books.

Take Care


Karen said...

I have to agree with you about MJD. I continue to buy her Undead books, but have gone to the library for the rest. Too short, too rushed, just not worth the price.

Brandy said...

Not my favorite series of hers, for sure. I prefer the Alaskan Royals and the Undead books.

me said...

The only one of hers I've read was Sleeping with the Fishes, and I was debating whether or not to buy the next in the series. Thanks for the review, I think I'll get it from the library instead of buying it.

The Big Sis said...

Well, I think I will pass on this one. I've tended to get disappointed with MJD even on one of her Betsy books...we all know what a fiasco that turned in to. :) She has a great sense of humor and is easy reading, so I'll just wait for the next UD.

Ladytink_534 said...

I got this for Christmas! I loved the first one but I haven't gotten to this yet.