Mermaids are Real : The Mystiq Prong by Bo Wu
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
“’Crabs talk?’ asked Benji.
‘Everything in nature speaks. Not everything in nature listens,’ said Octavius nodding Topside.”
Benji Fisher has spent the first twelve years of his life growing up in a small fishing town Topside. He’s gotten used to the gang of dolphins who follow him on his surfboard and the voices he hears under the water; odd things that have, in their repetition, become part of normal everyday life.
However, none of that prepares him for the recruitment speech he gets from an octopus named Octavius and three of the dolphins the night before his thirteenth birthday.
What would you do if your ‘calling’ in life required you to take a leap/dive of faith? Would you take the plunge?
Sometimes, I am really grateful that I review books, because it makes me find new books I may not have come across otherwise, or even made myself read to the end. If it wasn’t a review copy, I may not have known of it, and that would be a shame because this book was amazing. The world building was absolutely fantastic and I adored the concept and level of details.
It starts off immediately interesting, and we are introduced to Benji, whom bullies call the fishboy. He can hear the classroom goldfish, who also calls him fishboy. (Fishes in this book are quite sharp and sarcastic.)
But hey, it isn’t an insult, after all! Benji finds out that he is actually a merman, and his destiny is to wield the Mystic Prong, as he is one of the last Mystiquariens. All the mermaids live in Aquari, the oceans and seas. Us humans are called Topsiders, as compared to their underwater existence.
Mr. Wu has described aquatic life so so beautifully – fishes, sharks, whales, eels, corals reefs, and of course, the mermaids. Their homes, and traditions, and the color of their scales. Evocatively described and very beautiful. I sometimes went off re-reading those passages because they were so beautiful. Not joking, I did want to go visit. If you’re a mermaid, you are allowed to invite a Topsider to Aquari, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed in case any mermaids are reading this.
Being a Mystiquarien, he has powers. I will not elaborate, because it’s a big part of the story, but it’s superbly executed and written by Mr. Wu. Benji has some new friends in Aquari who help him figure things out and harness his powers for the good.
Minor characters are also well fleshed out, and the story definitely has a lot of depth. I especially like the narrative about how us Topsiders aren’t taking care of Nature as much as we keep taking from it and using it for our benefit.
I would love it if more people read this book. Maybe a different perspective, like this book has, will encourage people to be a little more mindful. After all, humans aren’t the only creatures on the planet! Mr. Wu has wrapped up this message in an wonderfully detailed fantasy story.
As the book ends, the loose ends are neatly tied up, and yet there is enough for a sequel (which I eagerly await, if the author chooses to write one).
If there is just one negative about this book, it would be this – sometimes the sentences got a bit clunky and slightly disconnected. And there were a couple of instances where characters weren’t really introduced but suddenly part of the conversation. I was confused at those points and wondering where these guys showed up from. However, these are small things that can be rectified by an editor.
The story still remains, in my opinion, well-written and humble and thoughtful and detailed, all at the same time.
*A review copy was provided to Oh Just Books by the author in exchange for an honest review*
4 thoughts on “Review : Mermaids are Real : The Mystiq Prong by Bo Wu”
Thanks so much for reviewing the book, M. I appreciate you taking the time to do so and also your super kind words. Best of luck with your blog.
Look forward to sending you the next one!!
Sounds like such a lovely story. I've been looking for books that have mermaids or an underwater theme to it coincidentally. I would only worry about it being too young for me.
P.S. Maybe it is me but I noticed like a light grey/white layer underneath your words. If so, then you can get rid of them going to HTML on your review. Pressing control+f and deleting all the words that say white. You can also bypass this by pasting your summary or anything else as plain text. It'll remove it automatically. I might just be seeing things though!
I'm so glad you liked the review! I look forward to reading your next!
Hi Adriana, thank you for your lovely comment! It is a clean book that can be read by children too, but it's still quite fun even as an adult. I believe nowadays with adults loving YA, it is easy to see the appeal of Mermaids are Real, too (in that context). I did enjoy the book, so do let me know if you decide to check it out 🙂
Thank you for letting me know! I transferred the review from my note app, and the formatting probably got messed up. I've edited it now 🙂