The Last Will and Testament of Captain Nemo: A Retelling of the Little Mermaid by Mary Schlegal
Available on amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Will-Testament-Captain-Nemo-ebook/dp/B06XQF1G5N
I picked up this book for free while it was on promotion. Here’s a little bit about the book before I get into my thoughts on it.
From the tragedy of The Little Mermaid, and the mystery of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, comes the truth that ties them both together: the story of the love that saved a life and started a war, of the quest that became an obsession . . . of the seaman who, for love of a mermaid, became a legend.
Genre: Fairy tales; retellings; fantasy
The subtitle of the story says that it is a retelling of “the Little Mermaid.” I disagree. I would call it an extension of the “Little Mermaid.” The Last Will and Testament of Captain Nemo is a short, yet exciting little story. It takes the form of Captain Nemo’s last letter before his death where he elaborates on how and why he created his Nautilus. It takes the classic tale by Hans Christian Anderson (not the Disney version) and adds upon it in a unique way. In so doing, the author links it to 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.
I have to say the beginning was a bit of a drag, but there is no way for the author to change that. In order to get to the tale, she had to retell the “Little Mermaid” story. For someone who knows the original tale it was a bit repetitive, which the author acknowledges in her introduction. But again, it’s necessary. Once the end of that tale comes, the story comes alive. I was lost in her narrative at the edge of my seat till the end. I enjoyed it immensely.
One gripe I had was how the author presents the antagonist. It was almost as if the narrator was trying really hard to tell me how bad, nasty, immoral, evil, and incapable of love he was, but I didn’t see it. Selfish, yes? Cruel, sure. But it wasn’t all that the narrator tried to tell me. Plus, the very events of the book tells me that the antagonist is capable of love. None of it would have happened if he couldn’t. But that was a minor gripe.
The writing style cleverly mimics classic books like 20,000 Leagues under the Sea with its long sentences and flowing, almost purple prose. It was a little hard to get into, but once I settled into the rhythm of the text I had no trouble. The writing style underscores the story—adding to the realism of a person in that time writing a letter.
I recommend you all pick up this book. It’s $0.99 on amazon, though I picked it up for free on Facebook, and you can read it through in about an hour. I don’t like to give perfect scores, and this one had some issues, but I feel confident giving it a 4.8.
-*heart* M.R. Anglin