The Mermaid's Madness (Princess Novels)
by Jim C. Hines
Cover Artist: Scott Fischer
Review by Mel Jacob
DAW Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780756405830
Date: 06 October 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Jim Hines continues his new series of old fairy tales re-interpreted with The Mermaid's Madness. The three princesses: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty (Talia), and Cinderella (Danielle) struggle to save the life of beloved Queen Beatrice, Danielle's mother-in-law, after the mad mermaid Lirea stabs her and steals her soul. If Bea's soul isn't returned, her body will die.
Driven mad when she killed the prince she loved, Lirea has vowed vengeance on all humans and leads her people, the undine, in war against them. Lirea also wants to kill her sister Lannadae, a potential rival for leadership of the undine. She has already killed another sister and her father to become queen. She hates the witch, her grandmother, who enchanted her and the knife. She has vowed to kill her.
The three princesses sail aboard Bea's ship, Phillipa, crafted by the fairy queen and sworn to Queen Bea. The ship, once the home of the dryad Hephyra who captains it, can prove speed and out sail most other vessels. Desperate to save Queen Bea, they sail in search of the witch who enchanted the knife Lirea used. Lannadae accompanies them to show the way.
The ship survives attacks by the undine and Lirea's Hiladi allies. Snow's magic and her enchanted mirrors help. The three women brave the perils of the witch's isle to confront and capture her.
Hines gradually reveals the "true" history of the three women and Lirea. Dark histories haunt them all, but are worse for Snow, Talia, and Lirea than Danielle. She at least has found her prince and now has a precocious young son, Jakob.
An acclaimed author for his trilogy Jig the Goblin, he began the Princess Novels with the The Stepsister Scheme in January 2009. According to an interview, he has as many as five such novels planned.