BookNook — Young Adult book reviewsI have read no other book like Monstrous Beauty. We have mermaids, ghosts, history, lineage, love, heartbreak, and a fascinating story with multiple characters whose lives, deaths, and fates are all intertwined.I love how Monstrous Beauty is told in two different time periods: modern day and the 1800s. It allows us to follow Hester's life as she tries to piece together her history, and follow Syrenka's life as she lives the very history that Hester is trying to uncover. We read about Syrenka's tragedy, and then switch to Hester trying to figure out her lineage, and what may be a curse that follows her family.Monstrous Beauty is riddled with a lot of death and sadness. The truth that finally emerges is really devastating.. but I won't spoil it for you. ;) The mermaids are brutal, harsh, and violent. They earn a very bad reputation amongst the sailor and fishermen's myths, and for the most part, it is well deserved.I was actually surprised how little romance is in the book. Obviously, the story itself was fueled by romance, but it doesn't dominate the story at all. The main point of the story is really the mystery aspect—Hester trying to learn about her lineage. She follows clues from the library to the graveyard to the bottom of the ocean. She tries to figure out why all the mothers in her family die after giving birth. The reason behind that is linked to a tragic love story, but we mostly learn about the history of that love rather than actually experience it first-hand.I suppose the romance was my main disappointment. It was sweet between Syrenka and Ezra, but there wasn't much romance between Hester and Ezra. Obviously it all gets explained in the end and it makes sense, but the romance between Hester and Ezra was so small, fleeting, and insta-lovey that I didn't care for it. There is a reason for that insta-love, but it didn't make it much more tolerable for me.But overall, I really enjoyed this story. I loved trying to piece together all the facts and uncover the truth. Once I got about 60 or 70% through, I pretty much already knew exactly what the ending will be, which was a bit of a bummer. But the book was still dark, creepy, and very much worth reading! My favourite part is definitely how all the characters come together at the end. They all play a significant role in the history, and it's brilliant to see how they overlap and intertwine!