Review: Florence by Ciye Cho

Title:  Florence
Author:  Ciye Cho
Series:  First book in an as-yet untitled series
Publisher:  Studio Amazepop
Publication Date:  July 1, 2012
Pages:  328
Format/Source:  eARC/Received from author for review
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Fantasy, Paranormal

Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of a dark ocean.

Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand–and find out where she belongs–Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart… and her very soul. (From Goodreads)

A Great Welcome into the World of Mermaid Books…

I loved The Little Mermaid as a kid.  I mean, LOVED it.  It remains my favorite Disney movie to this day.  I could go into a story about me and my neighbor as children but I’ll refrain.  So the point is, I really love mermaids.  And for some reason, I had never read a mermaid book until reading Florence.  I have plenty on my TBR list, but I just never got around to reading any.  So I was really excited when Ciye Cho emailed me and asked me to read and review Florence. I jumped at the chance, and I’m so glad I did, because this was a wonderful book to read as an introduction to the mermaid genre.

Action, Complexity, and Intrigue, Oh My!…

Right from the preface, Cho had me excited and interested in the story and the main character, Florence.  I love it when authors start off with a really suspenseful or active scene so that I can just completely become hooked right off the bat.

Plus, another one of my favorite aspects in books – complex characters – was in abundance in Florence.  I loved how some of the characters seemed one way at first, and then as the story went on you realized more about them and they did a complete 180!  And Cho really went into detail about the backstories of these characters so that you understood why they were that way, rather than just having a character be bad simply to have an antagonist, or having a character who was brooding for no reason.

I also really liked a lot of the characters.  I liked Florence for the most part, although I did cringe a bit when she became a typical girl and wondered why a guy could possibly like her.  But it kind of worked in this situation because Florence was a human and her love interest was a merman, and the mermaids look very different than humans.  And I loved Yolee!  She was so cute and funny, and I could completely see her dragging Florence around, showing her all of Niemela!

Worldbuilding and Writing Skills…

I think Florence was really well-written, especially the descriptions of the underwater world of Niemela.  One of my favorite descriptions was of a whale with a basket underneath it, with mermaids inside the basket:  “The whale and its basket reminded me of a blimp.  It traveled at a gentle pace, and I wondered if its commuters were ever late for work. (Sorry boss, the 9:30 whale just would not stop grazing!)”  This made me laugh, and I love the idea of the whale being like a blimp that mermaids commute in!

Here are a couple more of my favorite quotes:

“Below the shallow waters lay bruises of indigo:  coral reefs that pulsed in the morning light.”

“Back then, early in the morning when everyone was still asleep, I used to comb the seashore for bits of sea-smoothed glass, daydreaming that they were coins from an underwater kingdom.  I used to wonder how much currency you’d need to start a life below the sea.”

Bonus Points…

Cho gets some of my famous (not-so-famous, really) bonus points for the following reasons:
  • Florence is set in Australia.  I am currently loving Australia after watching and obsessing over the show Dance Academy.  The author lives in Australia, so I guess it makes sense that the novel is set there, but still, 50,000 bonus points.
  • I finally found a book trailer that I like!  I normally really do not like book trailers at all.  They either ruin the book for me (since I’m such a weirdo about spoilers), or they’re just very cheesy and weird.  But Cho’s trailer for Florence is really pretty great!  (Go here to check out the trailer:  1 million bonus points!

My rating for Florence by Ciye Cho:

4 big stars.  I think the writing was great, I loved the complexity of the characters, and I just loved the whole underwater world that Ciye Cho pulled me into!  I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Book Website
Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way for this review.


  1. fakesteph

    June 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I've been meaning to read a mermaid book for a long time, as well, but I haven't yet. I'm so glad to hear that your first experience was a good one. I'm going to make an effort to read more mermaids!

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      I really want to read some more! And yeah, this was a great one to read as a first mermaid book.

  2. Jessie Marie

    June 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    *raises hand* I, too haven't read any mermaid books. Why is that? I could go into some long, drawn-out psychoanalysis about the effects the Little Mermaid had on us as kids. Maybe we think the magic stops there, that no other mermaid story could be as amazing as Ariel and gang? I dunno but it's really common that we'll read about all sorts of different paranormals, and the mermaids get left on the shelves as pretty decorations (cause let's face it, the covers are always pretty!).

    Anyway, loved your review of this one. The story sounds intriguing, the characters sound great and the imagination seems endless. One I'll probably want to pick up! *runs off to see this book trailer*

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Yeah, why do we LOVE The Little Mermaid and when all these mermaid books come out we don't flock to them? Strange…

      Thanks! You should definitely check this one out!

  3. Bittner

    June 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    I didn't even know there was a mermaid genre! But also, being underwater makes me feel claustrophobic so I'm not sure how I would fee about this one. But I'm glad you liked it. And your bonus points are famous to me!

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      Yeah, there are some parts in this book where I could see where your claustrophobia might come into play, but I think you'd be okay for most of the book. And I'm glad my bonus points are famous to someone! ;)

  4. Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books

    June 29, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    I have not yet read a mermaid book. I feel like I wouldn't like it, but since I've never read one I feel like I should also give it a try. I'm so undecided.

    One summer, when my cousin was visiting, I watched Little Mermaid pretty much 24/7. To this day the words "Little Mermaid" makes her shudder. She is grateful she had three boys.

    I'm glad you liked Florence. If I decide to give mermaid books a try I will definitely consider it.

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 4, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Well, you should give a mermaid book a try. If you don't love it, maybe they're not your thing. But at least you could say you tried it!

  5. Kate@Midnight Book Girl

    July 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Sounds like a good book… I may have to lift the ban on mermaid books to read it!

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Wait – you have a BAN on mermaid books? Did you have a bad interaction with a mermaid book and now you've sworn off them for good? Or are you really just not interested in mermaid books. I think it's pretty interesting that out of all the paranormal books, mermaids seem to be the ones that is the least read. Jessie has some interesting theories up higher in the comments, and it's just kind of strange. But I'd be interested to hear why you have a ban on mermaid books!

  6. LHughes

    July 13, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    I love mermaids, but I haven't run into many mermaid books that I really, really like. But I'm encouraged that this one could be good based on what you said about the suspense and world-building. So I'll have to give it a shot :)

    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 14, 2012 at 10:10 pm

      This is the only mermaid book I've read, so I really have nothing to compare it to, but I really enjoyed it!

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