Published by Walker Books Australia on February 1, 2014
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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Nymph is the first book in an exciting trilogy, The Love Oracles, by newcomer Tonya Alexandra.
An idyllic Greek island. Obsessed demigods. A fallen nymph. A mortal boy. Merope, a beautiful but faded star nymph, is banished to Earth for displeasing the gods. She tries to fit in, go to school and live a normal “human” life. And then she meets Lukas – but relationships between men and goddesses are forbidden. Will their love grow? Or will Merope and Lukas feel the wrath of the gods?
My Review – A star nymph falls in love with a forbidden human
Nymph offered an interesting mythological romance from the perspective of a star nymph being banished to earth by the Greek gods and falling in love with a forbidden human. I love Greek mythology and anything based on it, but unfortunately this one wasn’t for me.
The insta-love is rampant, with Merope and Lukas falling for each other as soon as they laid eyes on each other. The two constantly play a game of getting close, and pulling away, because falling in love with a human is forbidden for anyone from above. I couldn’t connect to either of the characters as well, it’s another one of those girl obsessed with a guy sort of stories. Merope is the silly kind of girl who makes it her life’s mission to get with a guy, even though as a banished nymph she has more to worry about.
Ultimately, this book wasn’t for me. I got about halfway before deciding to move on, as it felt like a story I’ve read over and over again but with different names and places. The concept of Greek gods and goddesses was really interesting, and I haven’t read anything from the perspective of a star nymph wanting to live on earth for education before. The writing sounded like it was more suited to a middle grade audience for its simplicity, but young teens who love easy reading romances would also love this.
1. Nymph is based off Greek mythology, what inspired you to write a myth of your own? What greek myths and characters is this one based on?
Nymph is based on a myth about the star nymph, Merope, who is the faded star in her constellation because she is ashamed of marrying a mortal instead of a god. I came across this myth while researching Atlas after reading Jeanette Winterson’s book Weight. She wrote the story about Atlas from his point of view and it inspired me to look at the characters of Greek myths in the same way – as real people. The Pleiades are one set of Atlas’s daughters, Merope is the youngest of the seven sisters – just like me, I am the youngest of three sisters.
2. As a previous children’s book editor, what made you decide to write a story for the YA audience? What are some of your favourite YA reads and authors?
Nymph was never consciously written as a YA book. I just let the story spill out and because I wanted teenage characters it simply emerged that way.
Like a lot of other people, I’m loving John Green at the moment and David Levithan. I’m a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater and Jessica Shirvington’s work. Patrick Ness has me hooked. And I was totally addicted to PC Cast’s House of Night series a year or so ago, but the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn, is simply amazing. I could read that over and over.
3. Nymph has a heavy romance element to it, are romance stories some of your favourites? How would you describe the relationship between Merope and Lukas?
I think everyone likes a bit of romance! I grew up loving the classics – Cathy and Heathcliff, Elizabeth and Mr Darcy, and I still adore them. There’s more at stake when true love is involved don’t you think?
Merope and Lukas’s relationship is very intense, not only because it is forbidden, and not only because there is magic involved but because neither of them have experienced anything like it before. They were both kind of lonely before they met each other. And now they have someone who understands them and cherishes them. I think everyone in the world searches for that.
4. What have you got planned for the sequel?
There are two further books in the series, Heavenly Longing – in which Merope is on Mount Olympus, causing trouble with the gods, rejecting her role as a subservient nymph (her confidence has grown from being on Earth), and Lukas has his own dramas as he attempts to rescue her. I won’t tell you much about The Darkness Beneath – only that it’s set in Poseidon and Hades’s realms, so I get to dream up my own interpretation of those worlds – which I’m loving!
5. When did you decide that writing was your calling?
It’s been in me ever since I can remember. Creative writing was my favourite subject at school and I did it during my free time, as a little girl and later as a teenager, I never really stopped. But I am very practical person so I never imagined I would be able to do it ‘for a living’, so I went about getting real jobs (by that I mean paying jobs!) but they all involved writing on some level, from PR to web producing. It was never very interesting stuff to write about, apart from the travel writing – yes that’s been good. But it was better than not writing at all. It was only when I had my children that I had the time to investigate whether I could actually complete a novel (when my kids were sleeping) and I discovered to my surprise, I could!
6. What do you do when you’re not writing?
I have three small sons to look after and a new puppy who is very demanding and wants to go out on walks all the time. She has the cutest face imaginable, so I can’t deny her. My other favourite things are yoga, reading and drawing – and trying to stay away from the coffee shop which has just opened up on my door step. Their coffee is too good!
7. How do you find social media for an author?
Social media is amazing! I do have trouble prioritising it over actually writing, because I LOVE writing. But I like hearing from people who enjoyed the book. It is very satisfying after all the work you put in, to know someone loves your characters – because they become a little like family – it’s spooky.
I’m doing a cool thing with Instagram at the moment to keep me in character. My account is from the point of view of Merope. So I’m documenting Earth as she would see it as an Olympian. I would love people to post pics of mortal madness there #loveoracles or instagram/MeropeOnEarth
About the author
Tonya Alexandra always needed to be a writer. She needed words to capture her imaginings and to fully express herself. So she studied communications at university, did a PR job in Prague and worked as a Marketing Assistant at an educational publisher. She knew she wanted to write but didn t know how. After being a marketing guru for an internet start-up and a web content producer for Adobe, Tonya went on to study publishing and editing at Macleay College. She has since written travel articles for magazines and newspapers such The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. Nymph is her first novel.
Giveaway – Australians only
Walker Books Australia is giving Happy Indulgence subscribers the chance to win 1 of 2 Nymph paperbacks! To enter, fill in the rafflecopter form below. Entries will be checked.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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- Entries close on 24 March 2014.