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Radiant Shadows

Florence (Florence Waverley, #1)

Florence (Florence Waverley, #1) - Ciye Cho Beautifully descriptive, Florence has quickly become one of my favourite mermaid-fantasy books. An intricate world hidden below the sea complements characters motivated by the best of intentions. Refreshingly original, Florence took me on a journey I won't soon forget!I have always loved the ocean and as a child, I wished with all of my heart to be woken up one day to be told I was secretly a mermaid princess and it was time to go home. Florence has given me a piece of the world I used to dream of inhabiting. Niemela comes alive through Florence's descriptions of it's swaying kelp towers, it's numerous coral balconies and it's colourful mermaid inhabitants. I constantly had a cloud of visions swimming across my eyes, as with each new experience, Florence detailed her surroundings so well I could almost reach out and touch them. Cho has created a world that is just bursting with intricate detail and vivid colour and I found myself eager to get lost in it.The plot was well-paced, with Florence constantly on the edge of understanding Niemela and it's inhabitants, just before something new was introduced that forced her to question everything she had learned. The constant presence of the imposing Darkness, and the sea monsters that laid in wait, added an element of suspense and danger which helped keep the pacing flowing smoothly.As for the characters, they were my only real issue with Florence. All of the characters are likeable and relatively well done, but I didn't truly connect with any of them. I empathized with Florence's desire to fit in, considering she felt unwanted and unloved on the Surface without her father, but her acquiescence over being forced to stay in Niemela was slightly difficult to understand. I wasn't able to fully figure out Kiren, or his motives, until it was too little too late - though I did find some of his more charming moments endearing. Yolee was adorable, but her role was minimal so I couldn't relate to her feelings of being neglected. And Rolan - stone-faced, distant Rolan. He was so hot and cold that when he decided to be hot, I had my guard up, waiting for his rebuff. I couldn't figure out his reasons for being so aloof until he had laid it all out on the table; I was hoping for a little more show and a little less tell. The moments when he was hot though, he was HOT. The tension between him and Florence was palpable, and it was agonizing for so many of their moments to end with stolen glances or the lightest of touches.I thought the ending was almost perfect, resolving most of the main plot points, but leaving enough open that there most definitely could be (and should be!) a sequel. I want to know if Florence stays in Niemela, and how the Niemelans handle that decision. And how it is that she understood their language, and that her father seemed to draw creatures that resembled them? And what's going to happen between her and Rolan? What about the Wise Ones? Will Rolan be able to defend Niemela from them and their monsters?! I'd also like to see what's happening on the Surface - how is Florence's guardian/mother handling her disappearance? Would humans be able to find Niemela if they were looking hard enough for someone? Obviously, while there is resolution, there are also a LOT of questions that could be answered!Florence is a wonderful read and I'd recommend it to just about anyone. The vivid underwater landscape was enough to keep me reading, but a well-paced plot and likeable characters turned a decent read into something I really enjoyed.Find this review on my blog Radiant Shadows