Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review: Hannah (Daughters of the Sea) by Kathryn Lasky

Hannah (Daughters Of The Sea)
Book Details:
Hannah (Daughters Of The Sea)
by Kathryn Lasky
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2009, Scholastic Press
Hardback, 310 pages
ISBN: 9780439783101

Daughters of the Sea tells the story of 3 mermaid sisters who are separated at birth by a storm and go on to lead three very different lives. Book 1 is about Hannah, who spent her early days in an orphanage and is now a scullery maid in the house of rich, powerful family. She is irresistibly drawn to the sea and through a series of accidents and encounters discovers her true identity. Hannah realizes that she must keep the truth a secret but she also knows that soon she will have to make the choice - to be a creature of the land or the sea.
This book was both mysterious and sweet, as Hannah very slowly discovers what she is and where she truly comes from. Even though I found the whole process of discovery rather drawn out, I didn't mind the slow pace because of the age of the girl and setting that she lived in, at a time in which women were never even given the opportunity to go to college and the wage of a few dollars was considered good income. How the orphans were handled, some even being "adopted" into households in the midwest, had me wondering just how common this practice was at the time and how it played into geneologies. The intricacies of how the household is run that Hannah works in is enlightening, as I had no idea there was such a heirarchy among the servant class of that time period.
Hannah is only 14 when she goes through these changes to become a mermaid, but if that had happened to me at that age, I don't think I would have had the courage to abandon what security I could find for the great unknown of the vast ocean. What I found greatly disappointing was how her budding romance with the painter was just left hanging, with no resolution or explanation of what he was and why he left the ocean. I can only assume that since this is the first of three books, that his character will be further explored in future books. I also worried for the household that Hannah had been working in and what happened to them in the impending storm, but that loose end was not resolved either. The nuances of Hannah's revelation that give me clues as to what she is are interesting, such as the changing nature of Hannah's hair, her ability with the harp, and the way she sheds salt and scales. I always love when the author gives such attention to details. I look forward to reading about Hannah's two long-lost sisters and their own revelations.

The Cover: The cover is simple but accurate in its presentation of the main character, Hannah, as she is depicted in the book to swim in her nightgown and her hair seems to have a life of its own. I like it.

First Line: "They say the sea makes some people sick."
It's not the most original first line, and it gives very little clue as to what is happening in the plot, other than something to do with the sea. But it does make me wonder where the author is going from here, so it's not the worst first line, either.

Favorite Quote: "I don't flatter. I only tell the truth."

Read For: Pages Read Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge, Fantasy Challenge, Celebrate the Author Challenge


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