Another twist on the mermaid theme comes with a hefty dose of romance and a heavier dollop of comedy in this debut.
However, the word “mermaid” just isn’t allowed; call them “Syrena,” instead. Heroine Emma begins the book by failing to save her best friend from a shark attack. After the realistically bloody death, the book doesn’t wait long to plunge into comedy, complete with sitcom-style dialogue, that falls awkwardly flat at first. Banks works out some of the kinks in the humor as the book proceeds, and readers should get a kick out of it. Emma literally crashes into Syrena royal Galen, with whom she will become romantically entangled, and then not, in standard oh-no-will-they-ever-get-together style. Both appealing characters, they find themselves irresistibly attracted to each other, although they often argue. Emma overcomes her shock when she learns that Galen is a sea creature but must then learn that she, too, has paranormal powers in the sea. The author juxtaposes her brisk comedy against more serious, but still mild suspense that tends to fade into the background. The narrative shifts between Emma's first-person and Galen's third-person perspectives, a mixture that doesn’t quite jell. Best read for the comedy, then. A sequel appears probable.
Entertaining for readers riding the wave of mermaid fantasies. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)