I enjoyed this historical fantasy set in Louis XIV's court. A maid befriends a mermaid her scientific brother has caught and fights everyone with her insistence that it is an intelligent being with a soul.
This book was definitely hard for me to get into. Since I've had it in my possession, I've tried picking it up several times but kept setting it aside for a later date, figuring I just wasn't in the mood for it that day. I gave it its last try this weekend, and finally decided to give up.
I really wanted to like this book. I picked it up while browsing my library's fantasy section because I thought the story sounded interesting. And it is, but I can't put my finger on the reason why I couldn't get into it. I cared just enough to not want to return it unfinished, but still had to force myself to open it up.
There were some parts where the descriptions (of people, places, and esp. the morning routine of the royals) felt repetitive and boring, but there were also parts that felt like they hadn't been fleshed out enough (e.g. Odelette/Haleed's story). There were some characters that I liked (Lucien) and I was happy with the ending.
In seventeenth-century France, Louis XIV rules with flamboyant ambition. In his domain, wealth and beauty take all; frivolity begets cruelty; science and alchemy collide. From the Hall of Mirrors to the vermin-infested attics of the Chateau at Versailles, courtiers compete to please the king, sacrificing fortune, principles, and even the sacred bond between brother and sister.
By the fiftieth year of his reign, Louis XIV has made France the most powerful state in the western world. Yet the Sun King's appetite for glory knows no bounds. In a bold stroke, he sends his natural philosopher on an expedition to seek the source of immortality -- the rare, perhaps mythical, sea monsters. For the glory, of his God, his country, and his king, Father Yves de la Croix returns with his treasures: one heavy shroud packed in ice...and a covered basin that imprisons a shrieking creature.