Review: Drown by Ester Dalseno

I am happy to be able to share my review of Drown with you! Before I get started with my review here is some information about the book you may want to know













Title: Drown: A Twisted Take on the Classic Fairy Tale

Author: Esther Dalseno

Genre: YA, Retelling, Fantasy

Page Count: 260

Publication Date: October 31st, 2015


Seven emotionless princesses.
Three ghostly sirens.
A beautiful, malicious witch haunted by memories.
A handsome, self-mutilating prince.

Belonging to a race that is mostly animal with little humanity, a world obsessed with beauty where morality holds no sway, a little mermaid escapes to the ocean’s surface. Discovering music, a magnificent palace of glass and limestone, and a troubled human prince, she is driven by love to consult the elusive sea-witch who secretly dominates the entire species of merfolk. Upon paying an enormous price for her humanity, the little mermaid begins a new life, uncovering secrets of sexuality and the Immortal Soul. As a deadly virus threatens to contaminate the bloodstreams of the whole merfolk race, the little mermaid must choose between the lives of her people, the man she loves, or herself.

A complete reinvention of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, this is a magical-realist fable that captures the essence of sacrifice and the price of humanity.


About the Author:


Esther Dalseno was born in Australia. After living in both Portland, Oregon and Sydney, New South Wales, she headed off to see the world.

Writing and teaching, she has lived in Laos, Vietnam and South Korea and has traveled the world extensively, from Johannesburg to Barcelona.

Esther now lives in with her family in Berlin.


My Review:

Can I just start by saying how much I enjoy this cover! It’s beautiful!!!

As a girl who grew up watching Disney movies I thought I knew the story of The Little Mermaid. Ariel is pretty much the only Little Mermaid I have ever read about or seen. I have never read a mermaid book before Drown, but after reading this story I will have to change that.

I know the Disney version of The Little Mermaid is a cute and happy movie, however if you were to look up Han Christian Andersen’s original version you will find the story to be completely different. After finishing this book I had to see what the original version was like and I found that Esther captured the feeling of the original version by adding her on take of the story in Drown. It was both haunting and beautifully written and not afraid to show a little darkness and tragedy.

Fairytales are stories I have enjoyed since I was young, and finding retellings is a great way to experience the tales in a new way. Drown gave me the opportunity to see a new and darker side to The Little Mermaid. Not only was the darker themes and side to the story done in a beautiful way, Esther’s writing had a quality that added almost a feel of poetry to the story. Even during something unpleasant I couldn’t help but find beauty in the words.

Not only were the readers given a new take on the original story, but Esther did a great job adding some history of how the mermaids came to be in the first place. Unlike most stories that just start the story in a world already created, Esther adds the creation of a new species and world to the start of her story. Not only is this interesting to read but it helps you understand some of the characters in a better way. You learn why situations happen like they do or why some characters act in a specific way. I love how she tied the history in with what happens during the present time of the story.

There are also a few twists along the way. As you read you can see the underlining story we all know, yet there are new elements added to the plot and some parts may take you by surprise while reading. This kept the story from being predictable and boring. I would like to go into more details, but I don’t want to risk spoiling anything for future readers.

Getting to see the transitions the little mermaid makes as she goes on this new adventure to a new world was well done. We are able to see what she is feeling and how she thinks. The way she was taught and things she has never seen before or misunderstood is nicely handled throughout the book. We see how two different cultures think and act which adds another layer to the story.

The only issue I really had with this book was at the beginning. Learning the history for the story was not something that grabbed my attention right off. It wasn’t boring, but I was ready to get to the story about the little mermaid. The history only lasted a few chapters and I was grateful for the information later on. As I read, the story really picked up and while I started thinking this was not going to be enjoyable I soon had my mind changed.

Overall, I found this a nice read and really enjoyed it. The darkness to a classic fairytale was fun to read, if anything it was nice to see something different. I will definitely be checking out more books by this author in the future. I give this story 4 hearts!


Have you read this book? If you have what did you think?



4 thoughts on “Review: Drown by Ester Dalseno

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