Friday, August 3, 2012

Book Review: Nikolas and Company: The Merman

THE MERMAN AND THE MOON FORGOTTEN (Nikolas and Company, Episode 1)
by Kevin McGill
Aero Studies, 2012
ISBN13: 9780983415626
Grades 5 and up
Reviewed from purchased copy.

This is episode 1 of 4 from the thrilling new fantasy adventure series: Nikolas and Company!

A long time ago in a world not so far away...Senior stagecoach driver Yeri Willrow thought he was performing a simple drive and drop for his mysterious passengers, until they are attacked by foul-breath red-eyed creatures. He soon learns that his passengers are a family of automaton-legged merfolk, and he is their only hope. Yeri suddenly finds himself tasked with saving the merfolk or they will fall to the peril of the creature most foul.

Sometime in the near future...
Nick lives in a time when one can zip from country to country in mach-speed hovercars, extend their life indefinitely through cerebral downloads, and have every whim taken care of by their ever faithful nannydrone. 

Nick hates it.

Aside from the refugee camps, overpopulation, and unchecked consumerism filling every city across the globe, Nick just doesnt belong. That is when he hears the voice of a woman: 

The Rones lie about their true intent. They enter the city of Huron at the peril of us all.

Shortly after, his slightly crazed grandfather reveals to him:

"All you've ever heard about the Moon is a lie, my dear Nikolas. He was not always a mere satellite, a ghost wandering the stars. In an age before our own, Moon was our twin, and in him bore the whole of magical life. The cradle of this magical civilization was a fantastic metropolis filled with fire-breathing winged lions, volcano-born nymphs, automaton-legged mermaids, and so much magic you could smell it. We called this metropolis Huron, and you, Nikolas, are her steward."

A-A-A-U-U-G-G-H-H. Another book that ends in the middle of the story.  So many books these days seem to do this. The end isn't really an end. However, in this case, I rather expected it. After all the title does say, Episode 1. I do look forward to reading the upcoming installments. I quite enjoyed this one.  It's an interesting blend of fantasy and science fiction with some great twists and turns.  There is one at the end that really surprised me, which is always great.  But I didn't find this story predictable in any way and very entertaining.

Nick and his friends set out on a rather confusing adventure to a place they've never even heard of, but with poisonings, hideous tracking monsters, and the possibility of developing magical powers outweigh the negatives.  The characters in this book were certainly interesting.  Intelligent Nick who tends to create disaster at every turn, his twin brother Tim, seemingly the only cautious one, belligerent Haley who hates boys, Caroline, the motherly type, Brandy, the fashionista, and last but certainly not least, Grand, who has spent years flying about the earth in a beat up hovertruck.

The setting alternates between a surprisingly different version of the Moon and an Earth that sees little sunlight and revolves around a great deal of technology.  I found it fascinating how the author conveys a sense of place without spending a great deal of time on description. The story moves along at fast clip, I read it one evening. Many interesting things happen, including a rather interesting visit to a church in the midst of a funeral, funny and exciting all at the same time.

The only problem I had with the book, besides the cut off ending was the lack of description.  This lack aids in the rapid pace of the story, but I would have liked to have more details about the settings and various characters.  Plus the wording in a few places was a bit awkward. But these were minor issues and didn't overly inhibit the flow of the story. I recommend this book to all who enjoy a fast paced, entertainingly creative story.


  1. Although it definitely sounds like a unique story, I feel strongly that each book in a series should have a complete story arc. Leaving readers hanging is a pet peeve for many! >.<

  2. This sounds like an interesting book. I enjoy series- but usually prefer if the main story is all wrapped up at the end of a book. Great review- very honest.



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