Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blind Speed Dating #26

Genre: Middle grade fantasy
Word Count: 37 000


Twelve-year-old Annette doesn’t know she’s part mermaid or who her real parents are. But when she’s kidnapped by a circus and put in a fishbowl, she has to admit her costume is unusually realistic. And, well, she can breathe underwater.

It turns out her mother is Malice, self-proclaimed King of the Sea, and her father, Riel, is a glass-making wizard. They help her escape from the circus, but soon she’s tangled up in a much more dangerous plot. Malice and Riel are determined to destroy each other and they both need Annette’s help to do it. She gradually discovers the reasons for their hatred, the price Malice paid to marry a human, and the fact that her dad has a Leviathan hidden under his kitchen.

Annette wants nothing to do with her power-crazy parents. Unfortunately, she will have to choose between their separate worlds in order to be free.

First 250:

Annette was sure she’d be late, the way old Hazel insisted on curling her hair and tying it up in those ridiculous blue ribbons. Annette thought they made her look much younger than she actually was—more like eight than twelve—but there was no use arguing about it. She had to wait while her best, pale-yellow dress was pressed and smoothed until there couldn’t possibly be any wrinkles left. Then she sprinted towards the crowd gathered on the shore of her village. She was relieved, when she got there, that the circus hadn’t started yet.

A ferryboat floated in the bay with coloured lanterns strung along its deck. They shone like dozens of rainbows, light sparkling over the water. Annette spotted a few of her classmates in the crowd. She would’ve liked to have someone to watch with, but each of them seemed to be wrapped up—mom on one side, dad on the other, siblings all around—and none of them returned her glance. She dug her toe into the sand, wishing she wasn’t all alone.

Then the show started and Annette forgot about everything else. Acrobats swung from the ship’s mast, kicking their feet towards the stars. There were clowns and magicians, ferocious lions and huge, exotic birds. Beautiful women danced and twirled, their faces bright with paint. Strong men tossed them in the air. The whole thing was over in a blink, and Annette held her breath as the last performer stepped onto the deck. 

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