Of Sea and Song
by Chanda Hahn
I killed a man to protect my sisters, and now I am a fugitive. With bounty hunters hot on my trail— willing to take me dead or alive— I’m forced to disguise myself as a cabin boy on the Bella Donna. I should have been safe at sea, but I cannot escape the dangerous feelings evoked by the ship's handsome captain.
For I am Merisol, one of the adoptive daughters of Lady Eville, and to escape my past and save my friends I will make an uncertain bargain with a shady sea witch. The deal sounds too good to be true. What could possibly go wrong?
“𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘦 𝘢 𝘥𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘢.” 𝘐 𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘮𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘏𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘥. “𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘩 𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳.”
Um... okay. Well first, you gain some brain cells. Second, you steal some common sense, and third you recollect your missing backbone. Voila! You're a smart person. Oh wait, you wanted something else-
𝘼 𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙢𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙘 𝙥𝙞𝙘𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙖 𝙗𝙤𝙤𝙠 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙨𝙤 𝙢𝙪𝙘𝙝 𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙖𝙡, 𝙡𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙞𝙩 𝙗𝙚𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙞𝙩 𝙗𝙚𝙜𝙖𝙣.
𝐄𝐩𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐝𝐞 𝟏- 𝐃𝐢𝐚𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐮𝐞 𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐎𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐢𝐧
The director clapped his hands, fumbling with his clipboard at the same time. First day of shooting and my back was already dripping with sweat, harsh lights beat down on the rest of the actors, highlighting their features with a beam of shine. Ugh, I sighed, I was already tired.
"So" the director began, "as you all know, this whole movie will be based on The Little Mermaid" he paused for emphasis, gaining a little applause from the workers "all of you know of the story, I assume. Mermaid gets emotionally traumatized by dad, starts talking to fish, and stares at a man she saved from drowning, therefore causing him to fall inventively and unconditionally in love. Despite only having a day or two to get to know each other. We all know, that's adorable." The man chuckled while all of u stood there, trying to make sense of his words "The whole thing will be changed in its entirety and new forms of speech will be implemented directly into the storyline- yes?" His head swiveled to face me as my hand arose in question.
"What do you mean by changing and adding new forms of speech?" I asked, my frown making itself visible. It was a fairy tale. How much more speech things could it have added to it?
The director's face flushed a deep red, not unlike the wig that someone had positioned on my scalp. "Well, we need to transport the watchers of the movie to a whole new world, think America's Top Model in olden fantasy days. Just without the models. Or the America." His voice continued on, regardless of the spaced-out look of the cast nearby.
"We need all of you to use the words 'for' in the sense of 'for her knew what he was doing', at least a minimum of five times per scene" This statement drew confused glances in between the actors, including me. Ooookay, I thought. Not that weird. Use 'for' a lot. Got it.
"You" He pointed at me, directly staring into my eyes. Um... was he going to teal my soul-"since you're the protagonist, I'll need you to mention the fact that you have red hair, curves and a feminine figure in the voice-over, so everyone knows how conceited and self-absorbed you are." I started nodding, thinking that the request was strange but not all that out of this world.
The director pushed on, listing things all of us should hold close while acting.
"Hey you, you're the love interest, I want you to declare your love in as many words as possible" The guy that was supposed to play the part of the fated romantic point, nodded, not really paying attention.
"The villain, yes you. Who else? Well, I want you to use overdramatic forms of expressing yourself, is that understood? I want everyone to feel uncomfortable once you open your mouth." A middle-aged lady in a flannel shirt grumbled in reply.
"The rest of you" The director pointed once again to the extras "do whatever feels better for your role, just remember the three rules, use 'for' a lot, describe yourself quite a bit, and don't forget, always look for the most awkward wording possible,"
𝙵𝚘𝚘𝚝𝚗𝚘𝚝𝚎𝚜 𝚘𝚗 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚜𝚌𝚛𝚒𝚙𝚝:
𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘪𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘨𝘶𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘧𝘶𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘷𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘺, 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥, 𝘢𝘭𝘢𝘴, 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘨𝘪𝘨𝘴 𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘬𝘭𝘺, 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘴𝘵 𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥. 𝘈 𝘣𝘪𝘵 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘰𝘱 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘣𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘥𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘦, 𝘦𝘯𝘫𝘰𝘺𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘭 𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘦. 𝘖𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘭𝘭, 𝘐 𝘭𝘢𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘴𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘢 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘤𝘩 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯. 𝘗𝘧𝘧𝘧𝘵. 𝘐'𝘮 𝘴𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘺, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘐 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥𝘯'𝘵 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 𝘪𝘵. 𝘐 𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘣𝘪𝘵 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘴𝘦𝘵𝘶𝘱 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘥 𝘴𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘥𝘯'𝘵 𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘨𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘜𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘭𝘢𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦.
𝐄𝐩𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐝𝐞 𝟐- 𝐑𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐨 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐉𝐮𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐛𝐢𝐝𝐝𝐞𝐧 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐨𝐝𝐲
"This is going to be a rather short section because the romance will happen overnight" The director announced while we were having out makeup done. "We don't want the whole movie to be the setup, we want for them to meet, hate each other for six scenes and confess their love by scene seven." He wrung his hands nervously. "We need to make this the epitome of Romeo and Juliette but a more intense and less death-y version. Any questions?"
All of us shook our heads in unison. The instructions seemed easy enough.
The instructions weren't easy.
“𝘐 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘯𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘩𝘶𝘳𝘵 𝘩𝘪𝘮!” 𝘐 𝘺𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬. 𝘏𝘦𝘳 𝘯𝘢𝘪𝘭𝘴 𝘳𝘪𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘵 𝘮𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘢𝘵. “𝘍𝘰𝘳 𝘐 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘉𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘯𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘰𝘰!”
There was silence on the set after my acted outburst. Solemn and awaiting for the cursory weight to drop. Everyone leaned forward to catch more of the performance, breaths held aloft like a feather. Then a giggle escaped my lips and soon I was holding unto my stomach for fear of cackling wildly because oh goodness, never had I uttered a more cheesy life in my entire acting career. The workers on the set started laughing as well, my costars sniffing back tears at the exaggerated confession of my supposed love. Holy mermaid shells, this was going to be a long day.
𝘍𝘰𝘰𝘵𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘤𝘳𝘪𝘱𝘵:
𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘯'𝘵 𝘯𝘰 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦, 𝘺'𝘢𝘭𝘭. 𝘐 𝘢𝘮 𝘥𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘏𝘦𝘭𝘱. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘳𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘬𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘮𝘦 𝘴𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘭𝘺 𝘐 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘤𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘣𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘭𝘢𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘍𝘪𝘳𝘴𝘵𝘭𝘺, 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘭 𝘉𝘈𝘔, 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 60 𝘵𝘰 1000 𝘪𝘯 𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘸𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘺 𝘱𝘢𝘨𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘩𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘴𝘢𝘺 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘴𝘰 𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘥𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘳𝘰𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘺𝘺𝘺𝘺, 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘪𝘴𝘯'𝘵 𝘢 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘵. 𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘭𝘺, 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘴𝘰 𝘥𝘳𝘢𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘪𝘥𝘴. 𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘐 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘺𝘣𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘰𝘯.
Now, because I literally exceeded whatever that's up there, I shall touch on the characters because come on, ranting is a way of living.
The MC... well, I sincerely don't know what's up with her. I think she was supposed to go into this humongous character ARC but somehow got on the wrong bus and ended up in the 'too weak to do anything' city. I still cannot find any reason to like her, apart from wanting her hair as my own. At times it felt like she was a growing toddler the size of a peanut (brain size considered into that as well) and that she was unaware of the fact that a personality didn't rain from the ocean. Get it? Ocean? Mermaids? Heheh. Overall, I still don't know what she was supposed to be acting at, her every decision was horrible and the one time she showed promise for redemption, another BAM, gone down the toilet.
I trust myself in saying that the rest of the characters were good. Not great, but like, meh. Minus the love interest but frankly, I can describe him easily:
- Thinks being a jerk is cute.
- Thinks being 7 feet tall is God's gift to humanity.
- And thinks owning people is so hot and worthy of adoration.
- Oh! And of course, he was lost potential. So much.
The one guy that made all the suffering of my soul worth it, unfortunately, got taken off the movie as his presence was a balm to the open wound of *swinging hands wildly* this thing. He shall forever be missed and always loved. I still think it was such a dumb decision-
The rest of the cast was there for entertainment purposes only, fun to look at, quite forgettable in the long run. High five for those in the back! I may forget you, but you still exist. I think.
Putting myself in the shoes of the person who chose to read this book, I must say that the plot was well developed. However, once again, SO. MUCH. POTENTIAL. Pirates, mermaids, sea witches, handsome prince with rogue tendencies, strong MC, lovable side characters, hate to romance. *sigh* This saddened me more than you would think. I liked how the setting and the worldbuilding were explained, at least the places we visited were worth the brain bleaching I forced myself to take when reading the 'lovey dovey lines'. I adored the mermaids, even though some were carnivorous (I liked them more that way, not going to lie), appreciated the subtle mentions of other fantastical creatures which lightened the load I was supposed to bear throughout it all. Hands down, the best thing out of the story. Although come on, plot twists? They don't exist here. Unless you count the end and I was simply irritated with that.
On a closing note, this book was fun. I can admit that. It was like watching a train wreck but being unable to turn away from the wreckage. I came into this not even expecting anything really. I was like, book! I shall read it. Synopsis? Super interesting. Outcome? Hmm. Maybe worth it? I liked how the MC tried to be something other than useless thus failing at that. The overdramatic scenes just made me wheeze excessively so, point for you? I hope that the next book is worth a whole entire day of reading because Aura is one of the dumbest, weakest protagonist I have ever heard about and her story intrigues me for the sole reason of roasting shenanigans.
Now, I need to go take a real long nap to redeem myself from the 'I let go of a breathe I didn't realize I had been holding' phrase being used twice.
I can overlook it once.
Twice though? Ha! You thought.
The fast pace made it possible for me to get immersed in the story and further more cause me great amounts of cackling material.
How the MC survived, I have no clue.
Someone's death could've been avoided.
The fact that I dreamed all of them had died.
*sigh* Masochist, tis I.