This eARC was provided through NetGalley from Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

When I saw the third installment of Lovelace’s “women are some kind of magic” collection, I squealed. A high pitched, girly, super exited squeal. I loved the first two of the collection- (read my reviews here and here) and I was pumped to find that NetGalley had the third, ready to download, no request required. It immediately jumped to the top of the TBR line, which I figured was perfectly fine because I knew I’d devour it in a day.

In The Mermaid…, Lovelace (as usual) starts the collection with a trigger warning, which moves on to a forward from Lang Leav that introduces the rest of the collection. Leav mentions what power the voice has, and sets the preface for what is to come while reading. Next, Lovelace tosses in a few “from the poet” stanzas that grab the reader’s attention. Then, the collection is broken down into four parts: the sky, the shipwreck, the song, and the surviving.

The Sky kicks off with some powerful poems of what I interpret to be Lovelace’s past traumas. There are poems of abuse, rape, and childhood molestation, which transition into how she escaped there terrors as a child with books and fairy tales. Though clearly affected by the past, the author still finds solace in the idea of love, of the fairy tale endings, even when she is struggling to believe in their true existence.

The Shipwreck is a continuation of The Sky, but progressing into adulthood and relationships. Still dealing with abuse, still trying to find solace in fairy tales, still trying to find love but only finding the heartache. I felt this section is where Lovelace is showing her loss of voice. She knows she should have spoke up, but wasn’t able to find her voice to do so.

The Song is the return of the voice. It is where Lovelace calls out those that have done wrong, and stating that they will never take from her again. There is also forgiveness and closure, which I’ve noticed as a trend in Lovelace’s work. The reader can see the therapy in the poetry and the power behind it.

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Finally, The Surviving starts out:

“a chorus of mermaids cried out to her then, “DON’T BE AFRAID TO SING…”

Lovelace calls upon her fellow poets and together, they compose the last section of the collection, sharing poems from Caitlyn Siehl, Clementine von Radics, Trista Mateer, Gretchen Gomez, Noor Shirazie, Jenna Clare, Ky Robinson, Yena Sharma Purmasir, Morgan Nikola-Wren, McKayla Robbin, Sophia Elaine Hanson, Orion Carloto, and Nikita Gill. It’s a strong roll call, and every other page is from Lovelace, filling in with “morals of the story”-style poetry.

Lovelace has yet again nailed it. At first, I wasn’t sure if I enjoyed The Mermaid… as much as I enjoyed The Witch… because the latter was such a strong battle cry, but the more I read into the poetry, the more I understood that even though it’s a quieter voice, it is still extremely powerful. I will be purchasing a finalized copy for my collection, and I encourage others to do the same.

Expected Publication Date: March 5, 2019