Book Review: Nymphs

Monday, 24 August 2015

Nothing is better than red velvet cookies and a good book!
Thank you to Headline Publishing Group for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Nymphs goes on sale on the 27th of August in the UK! You can pre-order yourself a copy here.

This is quite a long review as I did really enjoy this book and apparently got very into writing about it. 

If you'd prefer a more condensed read, then I wrote a short piece on TalkNerdyWithUs for Nymphs' publication day. You can read that here.

A young man is found dead after a college party in a small town. His body bears the marks of a brutal attack, but police are mystified as to the actual cause of death.

Afterwards, student Didi Tiensuu is approached by two mysterious women. Beautiful and other-wordly, they have come to warn her that she is in danger. And to live, she must forever leave her other life behind.

There are evil forces at work that mere mortals can never comprehend. And Didi is about to discover her past is a lie. The night of reckoning is coming and the choice is hers. Reject her fate. Or accept her destiny and embrace her power.

Nymphs is based on a Finnish fantasy-drama television series titled Nymfit, before being adapted into a book series by the show's concept creator, Miiko Oikkonen, and author Sari Luhtanen.
I had never heard nor seen of the series prior, so I went into the Nymphs world with fresh eyes.

I will say that there are quite a lot characters in this book with what I'm guessing are Finnish names. However, don't fret, it's not quite Game of Thrones level just yet. Even if you do get confused along the way and forget who's who (which may have happened to me a few times), then there's a page at the start of a book which slots each character into a category and gives a brief description of their relation to the story. Although, don't give it a glance before you start reading or it might spoil some pretty big revelations!!

Nymphs is a fantastic book and a wholly enjoyable read. Oikkonen, the innovator behind Nymphs, has created this magical world which mixes Greek mythology and modern day Helsinki and Sari Luhtanen has made this come to life vividly on paper. Every character and location is so distinct from the next due to the impeccable writing.

The plot itself is truly gripping. If there was a way to watch the television series with subtitles I completely would because I can see it working excellently as a show. Immediately you are thrown into the action and introduced to the protagonist, Didi.

Tonight is the night Didi will finally get to do the horizontal tango with her boyfriend, Johannes. But it doesn't quite go to plan and Johannes mysterious demise sends Didi's life spiraling out of control.

We follow Didi's journey as she comes to terms with the fact that is a nymph, and not just any old nymph. She's supposedly the Nymph of Legend, or so she is told by Nadia and Kati, two older nymphs whose care she is placed into.

The dynamic between the three nymphs is an interesting one. You have Kati, the oldest, who is definitely the leader of the trio with her bossy and authoritative attitude. Initially, we're definitely meant to dislike Kati and the standoffish vibe her character gives off. However, as the novel goes on and we learn more about Kati's past and the reason for her hostility towards the satyrs becomes apparent. By the end, I had actually warmed to Kati a lot. Her dislike of the satyrs is obvious considering the fact these beasts persecute them for who they are and that nymphkind (is that a word?) has been on the run from them for centuries.

Nadia is the polar opposite. She's caring from the get-go and while Kati can kick some ass, Nadia would be invaluable at a brawl due to her healing powers. She's also one half of one Nymphs' many Romeo and Juliet-esque couples, having been in love with Jesper, a satyr, much to Kati's disapproval. There's a lot being set up in this book without you even realising it which adds to all the fun when you discover the clues were there pages back and you'd missed them! Jesper himself said it best early on in the book, "The most likely scenario is that this story of ours is going to come to a sad ending". Oh, Jesper, you couldn't have been more right. It does and it is tragic.

Our central character, Didi, is probably my least favourite nymph. It saddens me to say this as I did quite like Didi at the start. She's certainly a firecracker, but she does make some very rash and stupid decisions without really thinking them through and not all of them can be blamed on the moon's power over a nymph. Naive and reckless decisions aside, Didi's not short of admirers due to her nymph allure. But the one guy who has forever had her heart is the lovely Samuel.

Oh, Samuel. Never have I been more frustrated over a character, yet still be able to say wholeheartedly that they were probably my favourite character. Samuel's in the medical profession and has known Didi since they were children. Their romance is all quite forbidden I-want-you-but-I-can't-be-with-you cliche and normally that would be eye rolling inducing for me, but I actually liked them as a pairing. While the book itself has plenty of witty and humorous one liners, Samuel's generally the go-to character for comedic relief. He's the Simon Lewis of the Nymphs world.

Don't be fooled into thinking Nymphs is your typical teen paranormal adventure because it isn't. I just wanted to warn anyone contemplating picking this one up that there are several mature themes. You see, these nymphs need to have sex once a month in order to stay alive. However, their coitus (Yeah, I couldn't type that without thinking of Sheldon Cooper either) partners end up dead. Yup, you read that correctly. These nymphs literally have killer vaginas! But smutty times aside, the sub plot of Erik, a professor and satyr, being infatuated with Didi after she reminds him a lot of his deceased love, Rose, and after hearing that she is the Nymph of Legend is often uncomfortable. Erik, while described as being devilishly handsome, is like hundreds of years older than Didi and because he believes she will fulfill a prophecy, he goes to great lengths to attempt to get close to the girl.

Despite that awkwardness, I had a blast reading Nymphs. If you can look past all the horizontal tango and pervy satyrs, then it's actually quite a compelling story that you'll easily find yourself engrossed in.  At times the book can get quite ridiculous and the characters, mainly Didi, can get tedious. But there will be characters you will root for even if it isn't our redheaded protagonist. The nymphs are badass in their own right and I really adored the sense of family they had.

Upon doing a little bit of research, I have found that the Nymphs book series has a second novel. I'm not sure if we'll be seeing it over on our shores any time soon as Nymphs is only just being published this week, but if and when it does I can't wait to pick it up and delve back into the world of these immortal yet beautiful creatures.

Nymphs goes in sale on the 27th of August. Be sure to grab yourself a copy of this international phenomenon here.

 

Hope you have a great day! Happy reading!
Until next time,
Samantha

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