Monday, October 27, 2008

Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of "The Little Mermaid"

Midnight Pearls:
A Retelling of "The Little Mermaid"

(Once upon a Time Series)
By Debbie Viguie (Author's Website)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: October 2006
ISBN-13: 9781416940166
208 pages

First sentence: The fisherman sat quietly in his boat staring at the darkening skies.

Midnight Pearl by Debbie Viguie is a retelling of The Little Mermaid. Finneas the fisherman is out fishing on a sunny day that later turns into a violent storm while he is out in the sea. Just when he thought that his life would end there, he hears a voice telling him to cast his nets and he pulls out a little girl. The little girl looks like a four-year-old with an unusual countenance. She looks human and yet not quite. That gives Finneas the strength to make it back to land—alive. He and his wife, Mary, care for the little girl like their own. They call her Pearl for she carries with her a shiny, midnight blue coloured pearl when he fished her out of the sea.

Pearl has a secret friend named James. She does not know of his identity until much later and James turns out to be a prince. They continued to be friends and things get a little complicated when they are of the age to get married. At the same time, somebody is plotting a conspiracy to kill the king, James’ father.

Who is Pearl? The girl asks herself, too, but she never gets the answer. As the story develops, she finds out about her true identity, but will she have the courage to face it? Evil is brewing from beneath the sea. There are also two otherworldly characters named Kale and Faye who are important to the story.

The plot is jerky in some parts but is quickly compensated when they are explained in the later part of the story. I was hoping for the story to be better developed as it seems that the author took shortcuts to cut the long story short. I didn’t get the chance to grow into the tale and feel for the characters. It is interesting, though, to see the twist, as in the friendship between James and Pearl, and the conspiracy against the royal family.

Midnight Pearls is an enjoyable quick read and an interesting retelling. I will check out the other stories in the "Once upon a Time" series such as Beauty Sleep (for Sleeping Beauty), Snow (for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves) and many others.

NOTE: I bought the book at the MPH warehouse sale for the price of MYR5 (~USD1.40). Great bargain!