I had to sit on this one for a day or so to gather my thoughts to talk about it. I went in not sure that I would like it, since I'm not a huge fan of mermaids. The idea was intriguing enough- the mermaid's ancestors were the pregnant slaves thrown overboard during the slave trade, and the babies born from them developed into mermaids. I think the thing that hit me the most was the whys behind it. Is this our world? Is the water magical? How did it turn humans into mermaids? Where is Yetu's home? Does her interaction with Oori take place in the far future, or the present? What is this war between humans and mermaids that was talked about? What happened? There are too many unanswered questions here, and they all could have been answered IF THE BOOK WERE LONGER. There are just way too many knowledge gaps for me to enjoy the story or find it believable. The book is a measly 160 pages. It would have been a beautiful, in depth, well rounded story at 200 pages more. It was also confusing. The story bounced from present to past, and I had trouble following what the heck was happening. A heading for the chapter or a little more explanation would have been key. The other thing that grinds my gears... four authors? Really? The music group wrote a song that inspired Rivers to write the story. Ok, so name them on the dedication page. Acknowledge them at the end. You don't need to have them as co-authors on a 160 page book. That's just absurd, and feels like a shameless plug in to sell the music group.
There's a few good things here. The inclusivity, in terms of gender roles and sexuality was wonderful, and flowed well with the story- it didn't feel forced or shoe-horned. The historians and the ceremony of the sharing of the history was a wonderfully unique idea. The way the mermaids talk- through electricity, makes sense and is something I haven't seen suggested before.
All in all, great ideas, but confusingly put together and at an unsatisfying length.