Fangs & Fins

(2 customer reviews)
Categories: , , Tag: Author: Narrator: Series: Length:


A dapper vampire. A sullen merman. Two heirs to a great conflict—and each needs to claim a beloved to become his kindred’s champion.

High school senior Ember Goodwin never had a sister, but after her mom’s remarriage, she now has two. The eldest is no stranger to her—Ivy is a witty girl in her grade who’s almost never spoken to the shy bookworm before—but she’s surprised to find the popular girl quite amiable. Their burgeoning friendship is tested, however, when Dean Horne, a pale, besuited charmer, shows interest in them both and plans to reveal his appetite for blood to the one who’ll stand by his side.

Seventeen-year-old Ivy Sheppard is tired of splitting her time between her dad’s and her mom’s, particularly when her dad uproots their lives to move them in with his new wife and step-daughter. Used to rolling with her parents’ whims, she tries to make the best of it and befriend her nerdy new step-sister. Her hectic life grows more unwieldy when she catches the eye of junior Calder Poole, whom she swears she sees swap well-toned legs for a pair of fins during a dip in a lake. Now she’s fending off suitors left and right, all while trying to get to the bottom of the strange happenings in her town.

The first book in the Blood, Bloom, & Water series sets family against family and friend against friend as an epic, ancient war comes to a head in a supposedly sleepy suburb.

2 reviews for Fangs & Fins

  1. Erica Freeman

    I enjoyed this book the premise of vampires vs mermaid was an interesting one, how exactly does that work when one lives completely on land when the other is most comfortable in the water, how do these two species come into contact and where does the conflict orginate from. Telling the story from dual POV purely from the girls’ perspectives is a great way to let the story unfold and see different sides of the situations they find themselves in. Although I enjoyed hearing only from the girls perspectives in this book it might be interesting to get a chapter or two from Dean and Calder, I would especially like a chapter from Orin the supposed neutral fae whose motivation is questionable.

    We meet our two leads, Ivy and Ember as they are still getting used to the very new idea of being family, their parents only getting married a week before the events of the book start to unfold. At first both girls notice the good looking mover who also happens to be a new guy at school and there’s some nice exchanges between them that suggest the classic trope of the focus of the story will be these two new sisters battling over the one guy. Quickly however Ivy upends all our expectations of the genre by refusing to get involved in a squabble, if her new step sister likes the new guy he’s all hers she has more important things to focus on, like studying and her little sister and adjusting to her new family.

    As the story progresses, we learn that both girls are being drawn into a war but on opposite sides. Ivy does everything she can to fight against this and find a way to get herself and Ember out of the situation safely, Ember however seems more keen to allow herself to be swept along in the romanticism of the idea of being destined for Dean and despite some niggling doubts in her own mind, she questions how old Dean actually is but argues to herself that in all the vampire media she loves the vampire is always older (often a lot older) than the girl and its an issue but not really (which is a question that does come up a lot when discussing the familiar tropes of the genre) and she questions some of the tactics of the vampires, it isn’t enough to stop her giving up everything that seems to make her her at the beginning of the book and siding whole heartedly with the vampires.

    Ivy is portrayed as a lot more level-headed, questioning everything when it comes to the war and notion of champions. She refuses to just accept something that was forced on her and her sister and is determined to find a way to get them both out safely. Even after Ember chooses her side, Ivy still wants to fight for her, to try and keep her safe from the vampires. I definitely found myself liking Ivy a lot more than I did, Ember.

    I also found myself liking Caulder more than Dean, their approach to the girls being so different in tone. At first seems Caulder seems meek and kind of withdrawn, he’s definitely reluctant to involve Ivy in the war or just being involved in the war at all despite the survival of his people depending on his actions. He respects Ivy’s request for space to process her new reality, there is a definite sense that he really likes her but wants her part to be as much her own choice as possible, he clearly feels guilty about the initial agreement to be a champion for him as she can’t remember it, he admits to her that the first time isn’t necessarily done with concent and that doesn’t sit right with him, as apposed to Dean who definitely seems to gaslights Ember into believing that she agreed to not only be his champion but his girlfriend. Calder carries a heavy weight of responsibility for his people and even changes schools in order to avoid unnecessary conflict with the vampires that are steadily taking over.

    Vampires are by their very nature dark, but there is something off about the vampires in this story. They keep things from their champion, and it feels like they manipulate her almost every instance.

    Orin is an interesting character as a fae he is an observer of the war, a neutral party. so he offers a sanctuary to both girls while they decide if they want to take up their positions of champion, Ember turns him down and is taken wholeheartedly into Dean’s world of vampires only Ivy remains reluctant and accepts his help and advice and space safe away from the vampires and the mermaids. There is a sense that Ivy and Orin grow closer in their time together, having seemingly open and honest conversations about both sides and him telling her more about the situation. The first hint we get that he isn’t as neutral as he claims is the way he watches the fight between the two girls, the choices of description making us question him.

    I enjoyed the epilogue where we saw the fall out from the fight which is usually skipped over in this type of book, and the questions that the authorities have finding unconscious teenagers after a supposed explosion and some half naked (the wrong half being naked) teenagers in the same vicinity. The family fallout is also really interesting to see as again this is normally something that is glossed over in this genre.

    Xoe Zen is a really excellent narrator bringing the characters to life and giving them some real emotion. Telling the story from the two girls’ perspectives, it was cool hearing the contrast in tone between them and how they played against each other.

  2. Jerry Harkey

    I’ve read and listened to many YA Fantasy books, and this one is not even “good of kind.” The characters are insipid and the world-building is chaotic. As the story line meanders along, you just cannot relate or even sympathize with any of the characters. My favorite is always the 90-year-old vampire boyfriend who talks and acts like an immature teenager…

Add a review