Book Review: Florence by Ciye Cho

Title: Florence
Author: Ciye Cho
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance 
Publisher: self published (I received an e-copy from the author)
Publication Date: July 2012 
Pages: 336
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of a dark ocean.

Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand–and find out where she belongs–Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart… and her very soul.

My Review:

Florence Waverley is an outsider in her own world. Kids she’s been in the same class with for years still call her the new girl or the quiet one. After being abducted by a merman during a school field trip, Florence finds herself an outsider once more. A human among the merpeople of Niemela – a beautiful underwater world.

In this new world the ideas of work, order and purpose are the three things that Niemelans hold dearest to their hearts. Everyone has their place and is required to work for their society. Florence is out of her depth and has no role – except that for what she has been brought to Niemela for: to be the handsome Prince Kiren’s Familiar – a gift from his brother, the surly Prince Rolan, for Kiren’s coronation in a few days.

In this unfamiliar world where things appear to be perfect, Florence learns that there’s more to anything than meets the eye and that maybe you might be an outsider in your own world but can find yourself belonging in another.

I loved reading this beautiful story of mermaids and the incredible world of Niemela. The imagery was gorgeous. From the first descriptions of the underwater world, I felt like I could have been there along with Florence, experiencing the wonders with her. It was vibrant and the descriptions of everything from the scenery to the characters was in-depth and memorizing.

The world of Niemela was one that I enjoyed inhabiting whilst reading  Florence. In many ways it comes across as a Utopian society but as I was drawn further and further into the story I came to realize – much as Florence herself did – that not everything is as it seems on the surface.

The characters were fantastic. From King Iriego to the Wise Ones and everyone in between – I loved reading about all the inhabitants of the underwater city. Yolee was a fantastic best friend for Florence as she imersed herself in the Niemelian culture. My favourite characters were the two royal brothers: Rolan – the “Prince of Doom” who appeared to dislike and distrust the human, and Kiren – the younger prince on the verge of becoming a King but the cheekier of the two. I thought they were fantastic characters who could not have been more different. I liked how they interacted with each other, with the other citizens and also with Florence. Both so different and yet I found myself loving both.

I love good romance story and I loved how the romance played out during this novel. It’s not in your face – rather more subtle – and it felt perfectly natural for the story and it’s characters.

Ciye Cho has succeeded in creating a story and a world that is both beautiful and imaginative – who know there were that many uses for kelp? I recommend this story for anyone who lives reading about different worlds that are incredibly crafted  and descriptions that are vibrant and vivid.

This is the book’s trailer that I thought was fantastic.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Smashwords (ebook) / Buy the Book (from the Florence website)


  1. Pingback: Book Review: Rory by Ciye Cho | whY.A.not?

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