Posted in 2020 Books

OWL Exam – Defense Against the Dark Arts

Ah, good old Defense Against the Dark Arts class seems like a fitting way to end this year’s O.W.L. Examinations Readathon for April. It is one of those classes that I might do well in, or I might not – depending on who was teaching it! This class had a pretty interesting prompt – we had to study a Grindylow by reading a book that was set at sea or by the coast.

Deidre Sequeira is a resident of and teacher in San Antonio, TX. She enjoys reading, karaoke, and late night dinners and coffee at Jim’s diners. She has her B.A. in English with a Concentration in Teaching Certification and is a great proponent of education, especially of the arts and humanities. She’s been writing stories since she was a child and always dreamt of putting them out in the world. Some of her storytelling inspirations include Sarah J. Maas, Holly Black, Victoria Aveyard, Mary Higgins Clark, Kate DiCamillo, and Rick Riordan.

This book was chosen by a friend as part of a reading group I’m in. It’s called Women Reading, but good news for me is they take in men too if they’re interested. It’s a pretty close group of people from over at Litsy and each month we read a selected book and discuss. Due to the COVID situation, this time around it’s e-books being chosen instead of sending and marking up physical books. Which turned out to be a good thing because I got to read this book!

It starts out very similar to The Little Mermaid which I grew up watching as a kid (didn’t all of us 90 babies?). A mermaid princess is being raised by a very strict father and no mother. She is set to marry a merman, but instead saves a human man from drowning and falls in love with him. She is upset and runs off again and again to be with him and her chance at happily ever after, instead of a forced marriage to someone she isn’t IN love with. Bad things happen and some of the mermaids are kidnapped and everyone is forced to make some tough decision. Want to know what they are? Read the book!

I really did enjoy this book, but it took a bit to get into it. I was worried it was just going to be your basic retelling of The Little Mermaid, which I had already read one of this year which you can check out HERE.

I am glad to say that this book takes such a turn away from the traditional story and it is really interesting! I think the cook might have to be my favorite character of them all. She is this older mermaid who even the guards are terrified to make angry because of how she can react. I loved reading parts where these big bad army guys are quaking having to face down this woman. I also enjoyed that not everyone let Isla get away with acting a bit spoiled. She is upset that she has to be in this arranged marriage and give up her chance at a future full of love and her fiancee basically tells her that she isn’t the only one giving up their future here.

I did wonder what was the real intention of the bad guys in this book. I guess that my law background has tainted me, because no one, absolutely no one, acts like The Order does without having a darn good reason. Plus, as a Batman fan, I have a lot of exposure to bad guys like The Joker with a really intense backstory that made them who they are. But I will definitely keep following the series as finances allow, to keep up with these guys and learn more about them! I would recommend this book to fans of YA fantasy novels or retellings of classic stories because while it isn’t entirely true to Ariel’s story, it does share similarities that readers would enjoy.

O.W.L. Examinations:


I am an avid book reader and have recently started to keep journals of my book reviews of books I've read. This serves two purposes for me - to keep up with the books I read and better remember them, and to also either recommend them (or not) to others.

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