The Rising by Terra Harmony | Mermaid & Werewolf Conflict

The Rising (The Painted Maidens #1)
Terra Harmony
Genres: Fantasy, Supernatural, Romance
Age Group: Young Adult
Publication Date: 7th  November 2013
Number of Pages: 271
Source: Netgalley

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Fifteen-year-old Serena is the youngest member of a dying race. The increasing acidity of the ocean is destroying her home, slowly eating away at the once thriving underwater landscape. But since the night of Serena’s birth, it is an outside force that most threatens their dwindling population. Werewolves, who once served as protectors for mermaids in the Kingdom of the Undine, now seek to eliminate all who dwell in the ocean — and Serena is about to find herself right in the middle of the deadly conflict.
Given the title of Werewolf Liaison, Serena is determined to make things right for her people. When she ventures to The Dry, she meets Liam, the werewolf with hazel eyes, and her whole world gets turned upside down. As Serena discovers the real history between werewolves and mermaids, she is left wondering who her true enemies are.

The Undine species are mermaids who are able to visit ‘The Dry’ by changing their fins into legs and protect themselves by encasing their bodies in an armour of scales. The Undine are facing many challenges as the world evolves: the humans, or Ungainly’s, are continuing to explore more of the ocean and the Undine risk being found; ocean pollution is destroying their food sources and habitat; but the most threatening of all is their conflict with the Werewolves who were once their protectors. The Werewolves were responsible for protecting the Undine during their mating and birthing events which have to occur on land during a full moon. The conflict began when the Werewolves carried out the ‘Maidens Massacre’ 15 years ago and since then the Undine have not been able to carry and birth any new infants.

Serena is a 15 year old Undine – the last Undine to have been born! Serena is also an orphan and is an outcast within the Undine. When Serena is presented before the Undine Court with charges against her of meddling with the Ungainly world, Serena becomes the latest celebrity within the Undine World – her worst nightmare – and a trial begins which may result in her being sentenced to death. As the trial continues, Serena is given the job ‘Werewolf Liaison’ (the first in 15 years) which she attributes to the fact that the King hates her. However, events soon unfold which led Serena to discover the real reason for the Werewolf/Undine conflict and also secrets within her own past.

I wasn’t quite sure whether I was going to enjoy The Rising before starting it. I’d read a couple of mermaid based stories recently which were quite disappointing and I was starting to think that maybe I wasn’t a mermaid story kind of person. But WOW, The Rising was great and unlike any other mermaid story I’ve read. I’ve loved Serena’s character, at times she was indecisive but I’m not against this in a character, she was introverted but as the court trial proceeds and she is laboured with the job ‘Werewolf Liaison’ she becomes stronger, kicks Werewolf arse and also sticks it to the Undine. I was routing for Serena to discover the truth all through this story and I was definitely wishing she’d be found innocent of her meddling charges.

I also really enjoyed the world building involved within this story, especially the Undine culture and their traditions. I liked the way that modern issues, such as ocean pollution, were presented as affecting the Undine and their constant battle against preserving their species. All the aspects that are explained about the Undine traditions, such as the complexity of their mating and birthing process and the reasoning behind their job system, made me feel that I understood the Undine well and why they did what they did, which sometimes felt a personal attack on Serena and others.

The unveiling of the conflict’s truth was also incredible and the ending – OMG! When can I get my hands on the second book - don’t leave me hanging Terra Harmony!

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