Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Title: Monstrous Beauty
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Edition: Paperback
Published: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)/Square Fish
Pages: 352
Source: Bought from Fullybooked, Fort
Category: Paranormal, Romance, Fantasy
Trailer: not available.


Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

Captured by the beauty of the cover, Monstrous Beauty gave me an emotional wreckage worse than my previous reads had put me through. I wasn't surprised at all by the colorful world of it because friends babbling about it nonstop when I told them I wanted to buy a copy. It was the unexplainable sensation put together that bombarded me most. Monstrous Beauty can be summed up in two perspectives: beautiful inside and out and love is the powerful magic of all.

Looking at the cover of this magnificent book on Goodreads and on Instagram, I’ve always marveled by how pretty it truly is. The moment I touched the cover, I knew, pictures didn't do it justice. One can say it is something plain but the amazing typography alone is mesmerizing. Add to it the soft flow of the mysterious woman's hair in water is just absolutely stunning. Then the feel of it. The feel of the cover is therapeutic. Comforting to the eyes, challenging to the mind, penetrating to the heart.

Monstrous Beauty is more than the eyes meet. The simple yet fantastic world building set in a small town, down to the breathtaking underwater empire is mind-blowing. From a modern world we know it today, I didn't expect that I would be totally blown away by how magnificent Fama wrote this. Her version of an old mermaid tale surely set my mermaid story standards to a whole new level. The beauty of the sea can be frightening yet it can transform one's weary soul to a blissful one. Images of different sea creatures flooded my mind faster than I intended it to be because the creatures in this story are foreign to me. Fama embraced her characters and made them her own. The danger she mixed with the beauty made the sea very much intoxicating. It was everything a reader can ever hoped for.

The discovery of an ancient dark secret and ancestral history is my second favorite aspect of Monstrous Beauty. How everything is intertwined smoothly without any single flaw deserves a round of applause. Goosebumps every page turn, sweat on my forehead and fast heartbeats are my companions while reading. How brilliantly the plot was dissected to bring unraveling emotions to the reader was phenomenal. Fama gave her readers a wonderful story and the way she wrote it is lyrical to me. Very crisp, very detailed. Mind and heart blowing, indeed.

My number one favorite aspect of Monstrous Beauty is of course, THE love story. The plot is remarkable. From the smallest decision to not conceive, all the way down to a vast discovery of a curse, sure did wonders to my mind and heart. Hester is brave enough to face the unknown on her own and the pain she has to go through? Indescribable. I’m so glad she has Peter.

“Let me stay a little longer, Hester.” This line. This is the culprit of why my heart is bleeding so bad. I think this is how it feels like to have a massacred heart. Ezra, after being pinned for more than a hundred years, asked Hester for more time to be with her before she unpins him. His character is the literal meaning of “forever is not enough”. Even through the tragedy he and Syrenka experienced in their first life together, he still loved her so dearly he’s willing to sacrifice one more time for her. This, for me, is a modern take (and much painful version) of Romeo and Juliet. Ezra is a character of nobility and embodies true love that he’s proven no amount of time can ever make him stop loving Syrenka. His love is so tender and pure than even curse couldn’t stop him. By remembering his character right now while I am typing this, I couldn’t help but sob and wail because the rawness of the pain I have for him is real. He is stunning, heroic, one of a kind, gentle and loving. I will wallow with him in this tragedy.

Monstrous Beauty is a story of eternal love, magic and tragedy mixed beautifully. It is one of the so many astounding novels ever written. Thrilling, mystifying and excruciating to the heart, Monstrous Beauty brings the kind of love that will haunt and torment you. This is a book that will change you forever.

"The more she loved, the more she ached."
"It's bittersweet, isn't it," he murmured.
"What does that mean?"

"Being together, but not being together."
"We are meant to be together, Hester. I knew it when I first saw you [...]. Until then I have been sleepwalking through a miserable existence. And then with no warning you were there -- I still don't understand how it's possible -- and I couldn't believe my luck. I couldn't bear it that you walked away before you discovered it yourself."
 "Let me stay a little bit longer, Hester."

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