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    Misleading book cover

    Why oh why couldn’t the story have been as alluring as the book cover? Return to Atlantis held very little of the thrill or enjoyment that the cover promised. It did have potential, sure, but the focus of the story were turned in the complete wrong direction making what potential there was moot. I actually liked the start to the story with the boat accident, Kai’s unknown past and her connecting to the ocean. It held some intrigue, especially when Manu stepped into the picture to retrieve her and their immediate attraction to each other, but that was as far as my interest went. The book was very world- and story driven, which in itself isn’t bad at all, but in this case it was such a major part of the writing that it completely stole the focus from the characterization and the relationship development between Kai and Manu. While the story tried to convince me they were drawn to each other and had this sizzling connection I just couldn’t believe it. There was nothing there for me too see between two generic characters with missing depth and emotional complexity. Since the politics and the ways of ocean living took center stage over the characterization Manu and Kai simply weren’t given any room for personal growth. The only personality traits I got was given to me through the action in the plot and sadly that didn’t make the characters that appealing to me either when Kai was selfless to a self destructive degree. It removed the realism and what little natural character development there was. While I have nothing against a selfless character her selflessness didn’t make sense either. She basically got abducted and dragged into a dangerous world unlike the one she grew up in with all the people in it complete strangers to her. She was then told she would have to sacrifice and fight to save said world and people, become queen and arrange a marriage for herself. Her response is pretty much “sure thing!” and then she went ahead and accepted her new role in life and threw herself into danger constantly to save said strangers with no argument or care for her own safety. Talk about a TSTL character. That wasn’t the only senseless thing either. They learnt she had survived from a stone that glowed when she jumped into the ocean. Yet, she lived right by the ocean, worked with sea life and had been a Marine. You mean to tell me that she never once took a dip in the ocean in her life as a “human”? And then we have the unexplained memory loss. She was by human standards 8 years old when she was found and she somehow had completely forgotten everything from before that. How? Amnesia? Some mermaid thing? The fact that this isn’t explained or even acknowledged is what makes it so senseless to me and makes it seem like a plot hole. The fact that the story lacked complexity and a lot of explanations made it sort of bareboned. The only times it went into detail was to explain the mer culture, politics, laws, battles, you have it. In turn that made the story very slow and dragged out considering I found no interest in this when there was no character development or compelling relationship to back it up or compensate for it. Sure, the idea behind the book with the whole mer theme, lost princess, class conflict and forbidden romance is very interesting and had potential to become a good book. However, because of all of the above and how the mer theme went a bit overboard, the book became too childish for my taste. It simply didn’t have anything speaking for the older audience it was directed to more than a sex scene popping up, which felt very off with the way this book was handled. I think it would have been better to remove the sex and have this as a children’s book instead. It did, after all, remind me a bit too much of The little mermaid.

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