I ll do the good first The basic plotline itself was interesting, and could have been really engaging The short version Sapphire and Conor s father disappears The book is written in Saph s POV They are convinced that he s still alive, just vanished Eventually, they both meet Mer people Elvira and Faro who introduce them to life under the sea There s quite a bit to work with there, and it s really a very good idea The writing itself is, for the most part, quite good It s very natural, and there s a floating, dreamlike quality to much of the narration that really suits the subject.
But there were a few roadblocks for me First of all, Faro is very preachy when showing Sapphire around underwater He s actually kind of unbearable I think I d hesitate to read any of the other books in the series just because of him Sapphire herself is a very difficult character to get behind She s so spacey that, in a single, brief conversation with her mother, she daydreams to the point that her mother has to yell to get her attention two or three times There s dreamy, and then there s on another planet I can deal with the former, and not so much with the latter.
But maybe the biggest thing that bothered me was how Saph and Conor dealt with their father s disappearance To me, there was no emotional truth to their reactions, or at least to Saph s She has, for reasons that are never fully made clear, totally bought into the idea that her father isn t dead, he just left them without a trace I never felt like she genuinely struggled with doubt that he was still alive, or felt true grief for his absence, or even anger at him for leaving them There s just not enough depth to her.
In the end, it simply didn t resonate with me I doubt I ll be reading the rest of the series, because I don t think I care enough about the characters to bother.
SUMMARYWhen Sapphire s father disappears, most people say he s been drowned, although thevicious of the townspeople say he ran off with another woman But neither Sapphy or her brother Conor believe either story Raised on the coast of Cornwall, they have an intimate connection to the sea and her mysteries Neither of them realizes quite how intimate When Sapphire feels an irresistible call to the ocean, she must choose where her loyalties lie to her Air family and the brother whom she adores, or to Ingo, whose power thrums in her veins.
MY OPINIONWhen I stumbled upon it in a Paperback Swap, the premise of Ingo appealed to my YA fantasy genes Unfortunately, the execution is a little weak The characters are not fully described, so that when one of them Sapphy, frequently does something that shows a complexity of heart and mind, I wasn t quite sure how we d gotten to that place There are some really lovely moments, like Sapphire mentally connecting to a dolphin while riding it, or a conversation her brother Conor has with honeybees There are also some awkward moments Sapphire, frankly, drones on and on about her connection to the ocean, but when her mother s new boyfriend suggests Sapphire should have the dog she s always wanted, Sapphire rethinks her loyalty to Ingo.
Overall, this is amature and vivid, almost mystical, view of merpeople than, for example, The Tale of Emily Windsnap It has the poignant sadness of the original version of A Little Mermaid, and it reflects Dun s deep, abiding love and respect for the sea.
By the way, I found a particularly vile review on , and had to respond to it The reviewer from Georgia warns that the contents of the book are junk and will cause the reader to go straight to hell Why she s letting her children read books at all is beyond me, but in my response, I used the word villipend I ve never read a book that painted a picture as well as Ingo did I read it several years ago, but Cornwall, England has stuck in my mind ever since The story centers on the life of twelve year old Sapphire and her older brother, Conor, and how they find an underwater world in their town s cove The book was part of a four story series, but it was definitely the strongest novel of the bunch I d reccomend it to anyone who knows how to read Sapphire and Conor live in a small beachside house, a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Atlantic Ocean On one normal summer morning, the two wake up to find their father has dissapeared And that just begins their journey to find him whether it s above ground or underwater And that s how brother and sister find Ingo, an ocean world with mermaids and mermen and dolphins and seals It s not your typical mermaid story either don t be decepted from the cover or the short blurb written on the back It s a fierce battle between Land and Water It questions anything you ve ever read or seen or heard Helen Dun is probably the most descriptive author ever Everything she writes comes out with a natural grace, so easy and tireless you think she was born into the story Even though it was a fantasy story, Sapphire and Conor seemed so real they could have lived down the street from me read this book you won t regret it, I promise.
First of all just look at this cover Is this not the most beautiful thing you have ever seen Ingo was a brilliant novel, being the first mermaid fictional novel I have actually ever read I know I know It was a really refreshing read after much darker novels that seem to sworm the YA department these days The charecters that Helen Dun has created are totally believable, and are bursting with personality.
Written in first person was also a nice touch, as we really got to delve deeper into Sapphires emotions throughout the novel.
Ingo is described in such a way which makes it seem enchanting while still having it s darkness within it, which I thought really gave Ingo a sense of danger for these children, which lead to me becoming anxious and excited Helen has executed this novel with perfectly with just the right amount of suspense and mystery to keep you wanting .
I must read the next one in the series The Tide Knot This revolutionizes the entire idea of mermaids Not fishy, scaked creatures, but sleek, half seal hybrids No, they do not comb thair hair while sitting on the rocks in the sun all day Judging from Faro alone, they are a majestic people.
And this hasdepth than any mermaid story I have ever read The idea that going into Ingo can hurt, that it can call you and suck you up in it forever, that it can make you part of itselfthat is so muchmature than any other mermaid book I have read The imagery is beautiful, told like a poet Some people complain how it drags, but even the slow parts i.
e conversation with Granny Carne are filled with mystery and keep you reading The action at the end is amazing emotional decisions, blah blah blah, but not told like an overdose of philosophy because it s from Sapphy s point of view these emotions don t interfere with the real action, just give the whole thingdepth you re tearing through the pages, hardly reading the words you see, because Roger is such a likable guy and you re wondering IF HE LL SURVIVE, and the odds aren t lookin too good it s always nice to see how our heroine reacts under pressure heroically, as is expected because that s the moment of truth, learning WHO our main character IS and Helen Dun did that part really well Now This next element is a big issue for a lot of people, and it ischaracters.
Some people say Sapphy is shallow, self absorbed, and annoying I say she s realistcally flawed and spunky Are you looking for a perfect character Most good books don t have a single one Others say Saph is dreamy to the point of no tolerance But what do you expect She has, after all, been swimming with mermaids every afternoon for a while Others say Conor is annoying along with Sapphy, in many cases He s a typically laid back, sweet and kind brother who loves his sister so much, he s angry beyond belief his sister keeps on hanging out with people of Ingo rather than those of Air No one says anything about Roger because he s too nice and all No one says anything about Granny Carne because, well, she s awesome Everyone likes the wise, tough, erratic old woman, and that s what Granny Carne is enough said People say Faro is eventhan just plain annoying, and that s because he is But you need him to argue with in your mind Characters you secretly argue with The author has done a masterful job if s he has created characters you argue with Interactive book Oh, yeah you also need him to help save Roger That too And the dad You can t touch him He s just an amazing character, almostso than Sapphy herself.
There s also a subplot of how the girl wants a dog As with the sea enchantment, this desire is all encompassing to the point of ridiculousness Another puzzling thing is that the author tries to elevate the sea the Mer live in to a different, almost spiritual, plane Ingo is only accessible by the mermaids, so you can be in the sea without being in Ingo If that sounds confusing, it s because it is.
On the positive side, I liked the girl s relationship with her brother, and the descriptions of swimming in the ocean made me want to break out my snorkel fins And lastly, without spoiling anything, let me say that the ending is the typical 1st book in a trilogy ending, in as much as it sucked No resolution, no answers, no sense of closure, and no payoff I won t be reading books 2 3.
Short form review Meh maid story.
Long form On the positive side, Dun does an excellent job of conveying some beautiful and poetic visions of undersea life while keeping Sapphire s breathless voice, a girl of about eleven twelve, rather young for her age Sapphire is convincingly imperfect she s impulsive, tells fibs, misses her father and has a flawed but positive relationship with her older brother and with her mother.
On the negative side, I found this book very slow, and only rarely gripping Sapphire, like a real child, has to tell the reader every thought that goes through her head and every step she takes through the day, sometimesthan once I got impatient with her In particular spoilers given how she misses her father and vows to keep searching for him, I lost considerable sympathy each time she went underwater with Faro the seal boy and FAILED TO ASK HIM ABOUT HER FATHER, even though she firmly believes that her father is underwater somewhere and alive She says she ll never stop searching, but when she s underwater in Ingo , she doesn t search spoilers A minor thing that didn t work for me the author combines mermaid and selkie lore, and has her mer folk not half fish but half seal So my mental picture is of not of the sleek elongated fishtailed creature on the cover, but of a plump, squatty short tailed beastie I Wish I Was Away In Ingo, Far Across The Sea, Sailing Over The Deepest Waters, Where Love Nor Care Can Trouble MeSapphire S Father Mysteriously Vanishes Into The Waves Off The Cornwall Coast Where Her Family Has Always Lived She Misses Him Terribly, And She Longs To Hear His Spellbinding Tales About The Mer, Who Live In The Underwater Kingdom Of Ingo Perhaps That Is Why She Imagines Herself Being Pulled Like A Magnet Toward The Sea But When Her Brother, Conor, Starts Disappearing For Hours On End, Sapphy Starts To Believe She Might Not Be The Only One Who Hears The Call Of The Ocean I hated this book As soon as I was finished reading it, I sent it to my library s used book store.
The main characters were frustrating right down to Saphire s name, and by the time the merpeople were finally revealed, it was too little too late for my taste I also think this falls victim to series cliches of not exposing enough of the mysteries to keep me satisfied with the intent of saving it for later books It definitely spins its wheels to where not enough happens I skimmed through the last third of the book, so maybe I missedexplanations Also, seals, or at least the kind in this book, don t attack people Vicious harbor seals I think the author needed to research marine wildlife , because it was riddled with similar biological stupidities I guess I was the wrong audience for this book too old, and too well learned about the oceans.
This book the best way to describe it, I think, is that despite predating A Monster Calls, it wants to be AMC a lyrical, mythical, semi allegorical exploration of death and coping mechanisms The problem is that Ingo also wants to be an adventure book about exciting fun times under the ocean, and you really can t have those themes co exist in one novel.
It starts out as a story about Sapphire s strained family, culminating in her dad going for a late night jaunt in his boat and never returning Her mother concludes relatively quickly that he s dead or otherwise gone for good Sapphire and her brother Conner hold onto the belief that he s alive and will return to them There s a bit of exploration of grief, but it feels like a pulled punch the writing is too flat, skimming over events and staying bluntly descriptive so the emotion of this traumatic time ends up muffled I know the writer s maxim is show, don t tell , but as a reader I ve always felt that it stops one exhortation short don t just tell me or show me, sometimes, but make me feel it Ingo gets pretty well to show I can tell the siblings are grieving but never moves on to feel.
The supernatural plot line, too, doesn t really work Blah blah wonder of the ocean, blah blah Faro spouts some canned dialogue about hating humans, blah blah nothing has any depth to it Ocean ecology is my jam It shouldn t be this easy to lose me But alas, lose me Ingo did Also perhaps this is clarified in sequels, but in this book Dun seems to vacillate a lot between casting Ingo as a dangerous fae kingdom and a comfortable magical wonderland There s a bit of unreliable narrator going on here not subtle stuff, really but the ending of the book seems to come down on both sides simultaneously, so it s not just that.
Initially, I read this book because I have an ancient galley of the third on my shelf from a conference years back but now I m thinking I ll never make it that far in the series This was an easy enough read, but my TR list is long enough that even cutting the fluff helps.