Once upon a time . . . that’s how the old stories always begin.
Once upon a time there was a king of a fallen kingdom. He was just and he was beloved. Or so the numbers said. One day, he gathered together the greatest, wisest minds in all the land—not sorcerers, but scientists—and he bade them fashion him a son. A prince. A perfect prince to embody his father’s legacy.
The scientists each brought the prince a gift: beauty, strength, ambition, intellect, pride. But they must have forgotten something because when he saw the mermaids dance at the Cirque de la Mer, he ran away to join them.
For a year, he trained them, performed with them, thought he was happy. For a year he thought he was free. But then Nerites came: A merman who refused to be tamed. A captive from another kingdom. A beast in a glass cage.
The old stories always end with happy ever after. But this isn’t one of the old stories. This is a story of princes and monsters.
This is a very short novella or a long short story about a space prince who really likes mermaids (and one particular merman). It feels experimental, and not just because it’s set on a scifi world where mermaids are treated like trained whales in an aquarium.
The writing is luxurious and dreamy, quite different from the other Alexis Hall books I’ve read. And the content is very thought-provoking.
It’s not really a romance, except it is? Except nothing happens but a lot of longing looks and face-touching. Is it bestiality if one half of the romantic couple thinks the other is basically just a marine animal? Except then he starts to attribute emotions and intelligence and whatnot, and also the merman would probably kill/eat him if given the chance. Does a merman have romantic capabilities for humans, or is the space prince just projecting? What’s with the Free Willy scene at the end?
There’s a lot of questions and not a whole lot of answers, which is somewhat frustrating but makes for excellent discussion. Somebody read this ASAP and then tell me what you think.
Read: June 16, 2015