Reviews, Scottish Reads

Secrets of the Last Merfolk

In a small coastal town, Finn is enduring a winter vacation with his annoying new stepmother, wishing things could go back to how they were, while Sage is enjoying her new home, wishing things would stay as they are.

Finn has seen mysterious swimmers in the sea late at night. Then, from the clifftop, first Sage, then Finn, hears an eerie song. Could the local legend of merfolk living amid the waves actually be true? When the new friends meet the magical sea-people, they are amazed and impressed, but the merfolk are hiding a secret. The two human children must put aside their own problems and help in the battle against the young merfolk’s ancient underwater enemy before the last of their kind are lost forever.

Well this book was just magical! I haven’t read a middle grade book for … a really long time, I can’t even remember how long it’s been. I originally bought this book for two of my step kids, aged 11, as I love encouraging reading and the plot of this sounded really good. January started off a little bit rough for me, book wise, and I felt I was in danger of a reading slump as I hadn’t read anything joyful. I thought that a middle grade book surely guaranteed a happy ending and joyful moments.

As a child, I would have loved this book and as an adult I also loved it!

I absolutely adored the main characters in this book! Both of the main characters were 11 years old and just adorable. Finn was struggling to deal with a blended family and was annoyed by his step mum’s existence. He was finding it hard to adapt to life with divorced parents. I found his struggles to be really realistic as while I don’t really remember my own parents being together, I remember my parents being very upset by their parents splitting. Sage was always the new kid as her family moved a lot but she was adventurous and fiercely protective when it came to her family . She stood out but also wanted to fit in. The two locked horns initially but then bonded over the merfolk. As an adult I enjoyed these characters and also think that a child reading this book would too!

As a step parent, the way that Finn felt and acted towards his step mum was so sad but totally understandable from his point of view. I thought that her reaction to his behaviour was always with patience and kindness and I loved seeing their relationship grow.

The setting of this book was magnificent! I love the sea and little island and caves are always fun to read about! The sea itself played a key part on this story. If you enjoy stories with choppy seas and mysterious beings within the sea, then this may be a book for you!

This book was such an adventurous read and it was very exciting. I would absolutely hate to swim in the Scottish sea (it’s never warm!) or even to kayak while knowing there’s something dangerous just lurking. Nope, I couldn’t do it but I loved reading about it.

The story of the mermaids was tied into the storyline surrounding the harbour renovations and I felt like the book covered a lot of important topics such as standing up for what you believe in and doing the right thing, no matter how difficult.

I will definitely be buying more books by this author, for the kids…but also for me. The story was heartwarming, the characters were charming, I got a happy ending and goodness prevailed. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads, it was a high 4, like a 4.5. I think I may be reading middle grade books more often, especially when I’m feeling a little blue and know I need something light and cheery.

In the interest of full disclosure; I don’t know the author but I am friends with one of their children. My friend didn’t know that I was reading this until I marked it as finished on Goodreads, I was not under any obligation to gush about how much I enjoyed this book, these ramblings are all my own.

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