SPOILER ALERT!

The Mermaid's Mirror

The Mermaid's Mirror - L.K. Madigan *This review contains spoilers*
Frankly, I was underwhelmed. I don't mean to be overly critical because I think that Madigan is a first time author and I give kudos to her for publishing because it takes a lot of hard work to do so. However, I had major issues with this book. As a writer I think Madigan is fine, in fact I see a lot of potential as she's really good at descriptive writing. But. I really really think she needs to work on her character development. Pretty much all the characters in the book were lifeless to me. The only one who wasn't was a side character called Max (and perhaps his brother Henry too) who had some sort of expression, albeit it was for comic relief but it was something. Kai (the 'land' boyfriend) was boooring. And I realize Madigan probably did this to make the love interest under the sea seem more plausible, but Nix (the 'water' boyfriend)is also boring. He's just some random guy with sparkley eyes who somehow manages to give Lena the tinglies. We learn next to nothing about his character (beside the fact that he's...nice?) or his back-story and this is also the case with pretty much every character, I think. There's this massive, and I mean MASSIVE, triangle between Lena's dad, Lena's mom, and Lena's mom's best friend who ends up marrying Lena's dad 7 years after Lena's mom disappears...(following me?)...and it's only given a cursory glance in the plot--maybe some anguished eyes thrown in, but no confrontation, and we don't find out how Lena's mom ever found her pelt/cloak (I personally think it was Lena's step-mom, but this wasn't even hinted at). Life under the sea, while well written, was uninspiring. The fact that the cloak makes you forget meant that there was no emotional conflict for Lena under the sea (or hardly any). There are these big question marks that keep floating around (pardon the pun) and Lena seems content to make out with her boyfriend and...do nothing it seems.
The seal-goddess idea was really intriguing but it goes nowhere--a potentially grueling ordeal awaits Lena in her attempt to get a tail but instead of that she does a 180 and decides she must go to the surface and drop everything: her mother, her friends and the boyfriend she was about to make vows with because she remembers her father and step-mom and step-brother and this is more important. I'm not dissing Lena's choice but I'm left wondering why. The decision making was so abrupt and she didn't even say goodbye to Nix....I'm just...dissatisfied I guess. I felt like a new driver driving a standard and was stalling the car every block. You feel like you're going somewhere then...ooomph...stop.
However, all this said, I'll likely pick up another one of Madigan's books because she's got interesting ideas and a nice writing style. But, please, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!!