Viguié, Debbie. Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of The Little Mermaid. Simon Pulse, 2006 (reprint). ISBN 978-1416940166 208 pp. $7.99
Very loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Little Mermaid,” Midnight Pearls is the story of a girl found on a beach, taken in by a fisherman and his wife and claimed as their own. Truly a fish out of water, pale-skinned Pearl with her powers of premonition has few friends, except for Prince James, with whom she developed a friendship as a young girl. Just when she thinks they will marry, mermaid Faye (who has sold her voice to the sea-witch for the chance to go ashore and rescue Pearl, who is her brother’s intended) shows up and steals the Prince’s heart.
Following the same formula as in another book in this series, readers are led to believe that romance is brewing, when in fact, the boy who is closest to the girl turns out to be merely a brotherly figure, and true love strikes fast and furious with someone else. It worked in Tracy Lynn’s Snow (Simon & Schuster, 2002), it doesn’t work so well here, perhaps because of the introduction of a third party: Robert, who wants to destroy Prince James’s kingdom. Other problems include lack of character development, uneven pacing, and overly dramatic dialogue.
Save your money, and for lush, complex fairy tale retellings, try Donna Jo Napoli or Robin McKinley.