Member Reviews

I really enjoyed the audiobook for Our Vengeful Souls.

This is a Little Mermaid retelling to me. You have Sereia who is Triton’s sister. She is stronger than him which threatened his claim to the throne. He banishes her to the human world and cruses her. If she ever tries to return, she will turn into a monster. This happens when she tries to save a girl from drowning.

I loved Kristi McManus’s story about possibly how Ursula came about and why she disliked Triton. The plot was well thought out and enjoyable.

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3.5/5 Stars

General Thoughts:

‘Our Vengeful Souls’ blends the legends of Atlantis with a backstory to Disney’s Ursula in ‘The Little Mermaid,’ aiming to offer a sympathetic backstory to the sea witch. The concept is intriguing, and the story is captivating, but the ending feels a little inconsistent (motivation/morals wise) and somewhat rushed. Knowing this is a backstory for Ursula, you know the ending wasn't going to be an HEA, though. Despite this nit-pick, the novel presents an engaging twist on what could have been a flat backstory.

Story Summary:

Sereia, a mermaid with extraordinary magic powers, becomes entangled in a family feud for her father’s throne with her brother Triton (hate that guy). When Triton curses Sereia to live as a human and threatens her with transformation into a monster upon returning to the sea, her journey takes her to Atlantis. There, she must adapt to life on land, navigate human relationships, and uncover secrets to break her curse. As Sereia goes deeper into her quest for revenge and identity, she faces consequences that challenge her perceptions of love, loyalty, and vengeance.

Final Thoughts:

The book starts strong with its imaginative blend of Atlantic mythology and Little Mermaid fairy tale elements. However, the sudden unfeelingness of formerly friendly people and Sereia’s abrupt descent into murderous rage at the conclusion feels forced and disproportionate, detracting from the sympathy we have built up. Despite this criticism, the novel shows a fresh perspective on familiar tales and explores complex themes of identity, justice, and destiny. 'Our Vengeful Souls’ will appeal to readers intrigued by mythological retellings, and villain backstories.

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I didn’t clock this was Ursula’s back story till the very end of the book but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. I felt it started out really strong I loved the Bon between the two sisters and the rivalry between her brother and herself. The middle felt a bit rushed, I think the romance could’ve been more developed and the time she spent on land felt very short. I did enjoy the ending and the revenge aspects that were worked through out the book. A fun summer read overall. I thought the narrator did a very good job and suited the book well.

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Thank you Netgalley and CamCat Books for this Audio Copy!

Little Mermaid/Ursula retelling with fight scenes and dark themes with betrayals and vengeance. This was a fun and enjoyable read and I liked the darker direction that it was taken in this book but the writing did leave some to be desired. There were some inconsistencies throughout the story and within the magic system but if you are able to see through that it is worth a read.

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Thank you to the author, publisher and Net Galley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed Our Vengeful Souls. This is a unique twist on the Little Mermaid. It kept me guessing throughout the story. There was family drama, adventure, love, friendship and revenge. It sounds like there will be a second one.--At least I hope so. I will be purchasing it for our high school library.

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Okay, now whaaaat?! This is such a good villain origin story (although I did not realize it would become that until the end). I really enjoyed this book and connecting some of the dots for The Little Mermaid, like how Ursula is King Triton's estranged sister (where have I been? clearly living under a rock).

Thank you to NetGalley, Kristi McManus, and CamCat Books | Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Audiobooks for an Advanced Listener's Copy (ALC) in exchange for my honest opinions.

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Our Vengeful Souls by Kristi McManus

Our Vengeful Souls is a retelling of The Little Mermaid, but more the prequel, or Origin Story. Have you ever wondered what caused The Sea Witch to become the monster that she is? Why does she hate her brother so much? And could her future as a Villain been changed? This is the story behind the sea witch, and how betrayal and vengeance, leads to the destruction of so many. This fantasy retelling is such a great story, instantly drawing you in, holding you until the very end. The story follows Sienna, the most powerful mermaid the Royals have ever seen, but because she is not a male, or the firstborn, her brother Tritan is the next in line. When Tritan shows his dark side and betrays his sister, a journey of betrayal, transformation, and a quest for revenge quickly follows, leading to death and destruction, and a Villain for the ages.

When Sienna's rescues her sister, her father, Poseidon god of the Sea is forced to see just how powerful she is. This unfortunately sparks a jealous rage in her brother Tritan, who tricks her, and causes her to be cursed.

Washed up and alone on the shore, unable to figure out her feet and legs, fearful of humans and now being powerless, it seems to foreshadow the tale of The Little Mermaid. After a kind man rescues her, Sienna struggles to adjust to her new life in Atlantis, quickly discovering all she has learned about humans is false. The more she learns, the more she discovers that her father has secrets that are earth shattering. Can she find the secrets needed to end the curse and return to the Ocean? Will she still want to? Or will her new life entice her to stay on land, and live among the humans she has feared and despised?

I absolutely loved the audiobook version of this book. Suzanne Elise Freeman's narration brings the story to life, quickly finding myself drawn in, not wanting to miss any of this fast paced story . Her performance was spot on, adding depth to the story. Our Vengeful Souls is fast-paced and engaging, with a narrator that keeps hooked from start to finish. I loved thee way Suzanne read, giving the characters life. She will definitely be added to my favorites list.

This book will definitely draw you in. I enjoyed the fast paced storyline, loving the similarities to The Little Mermaid, yet at the same time, gave the Sea Witch, formerly known as Sienna, a more humane and sympathetic story. I have always loved Villain origin stories and I definitely loved this version of it.

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Our Vengeful Souls by Kristi McManus is a gripping retelling of The Little Mermaid, infused with elements of fantasy and vengeance. The story follows Sienna, the most powerful mermaid the Royals have ever seen. Sienna's journey is one of betrayal, transformation, and an unyielding quest for revenge.

Sienna's life takes a drastic turn after rescuing her sister, bringing her to the forefront of her father's, a god, thoughts. This sparks a jealous rage in her brother, who tricks her into a confrontation at the edge of their kingdom. In this brutal encounter, he uses poison to turn her into a human, stripping her of her voice and her mermaid identity. The horror of watching her tail transform into legs marks the beginning of her human trials.

As Sienna navigates her new life in Atlantis, she discovers that much of what she was told about the world above was a lie. Far from being a desolate, war-torn land, Atlantis is vibrant and full of life. Determined to reverse the curse and reclaim her former self, she immerses herself in the city's hidden library, seeking a cure for the poison.

Sienna's warrior instincts soon come to the forefront. After rescuing a young girl from an attacker, she is invited to join the elite guard of Atlantis. This is a significant moment for Sienna, as it challenges gender norms and allows her to train and fight alongside other women, rekindling her warrior spirit.

Suzanne Elise Freeman's narration brings the story to life, making it easy to follow the dialogue and emotional nuances. Her performance adds depth to the story, capturing the essence of Sienna's transformation and her struggle for vengeance. Our Vengeful Souls is fast-paced and engaging, with a narrative that keeps the reader hooked from start to finish.

While the story follows a similar trajectory to The Little Mermaid, it stands out with its unique twists and deeper exploration of themes like betrayal, vengeance, and identity. These unexpected elements will keep you on the edge of your seat, eager to uncover what happens next.

Overall, Our Vengeful Souls is a captivating read for fans of fantasy and retellings. The audiobook enhances the experience with its superb narration, making it a must-listen for anyone who enjoys a well-told story. Once you start, you won't be able to put it down.

Thank you to NetGalley and CamCat Books for the Audio-ARC in exchange for an honest review. I eagerly anticipate future works from Kristi McManus and Suzanne Elise Freeman, and I'm sure they will continue to deliver captivating stories.

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“We value knowledge above all else. And even though we fear the possibility of magic and the destruction it could bring, we refuse to hide in ignorance by destroying what could be our salvation.


I listened to the audio version of Our Vengeful Souls.
My first reason to pick the book –with the blurb, of course– was the narrator’s voice and rhythm. I absolutely adored her performance and it was a great addition to the story.
I loved Sereia’s character. She is a very empowered young woman, determined to make her own place into her mermaid’s world, but the (mer)men in her life –brother and father– aren’t decided to let her. This results in her brother Triton cursing her, forcing her to live among humans, her return to the ocean impossible –unless she breaks the malediction. On Atlantis, she learns how to mix, and makes connections, realizing that maybe all she had been taught under the sea wasn’t true. I liked that part because if many fantastic novels deal with humans’ prejudices regarding the supernatural, not many do the opposite. This book perfectly weaves mythology and a villain's origin story from a tale. But between the lines, it discusses the power of myths, women’s status and how men finally can always keep the upper-hand. That book was sometimes difficult, because a lot of sh** happens to Sereia. She doesn’t always help her cause because she doesn’t make good choices all the time (which makes her human… or at least relatable), and ends with her fate. I loved that balance in the character, how events are ruthless to her, but how she also makes things worse, especially because of her pride. Even if I couldn’t read such a story every day, I truly enjoyed that ride.

Thank you NetGalley, Kristi McManus and CamCat Books for the ARC. My opinions are my own.

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My hooo my.....
Where do I start!!!!

Well, first a BIG thank you to NetGalley, the Publisher and the Author!!!

I was HOOKED from the start.
And although you know how it is going to end, you hope for a different outcome.
I do feel like the Epilogue of the book leans more to the Hans Christian Andersen ending instead of the "Happily ever after" Disney gave us....
Which is great. Because Sereia deserves it!
Girl deserves the world, if you ask me!

This book is great if you like a prequel to an story everyone knows. We have betrayal, royal intrigue, true love and heartbreak, sibling rivalry pushed to the extreme, mermaids and ultimate destruction.

I loved it and could not put it down!

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I "read" the audio version of this book as an advanced release from Netgalley. Overall: It was a good fairytale story from the villain point of view. The character building was pretty good - there were parts of the story that her villain side was portrayed clearly and parts where you actually wanted her to be a the hero of the tale. It has a lot of tie ins to classic stories such as the lost city of Atlantis and the Little Mermaid that I was not expecting. These were very nice surprises in the book. I did feel that some of it may have had a lack of detail such as some of the more important battles that took place - and some the "reading in the library" was a bit redundant. The love story could have been developed more to really pull on your heart strings - but then again I'm used to romantic fantasies.

I think this book would be excellent for any teen reader interested in a retelling of an age old fairytale. I liked the narrator and thought the audio version was way to listen to at 1.25 speed.

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I really enjoyed this story. I am always up for a Sea Witch origin book. This one also explains Atlantis and its loss. The character is complex and complicated. But she is a warrior through and through. The end doesn't go into her transformation as much as I would have liked. But that epilogue is epic. The narrator is perfect.

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Have you ever wondered the suffering that Ursula (the villain in ‘The Little Mermaid’) endured in order to pursue the revenge that she did? Well, ‘Our Vengeful Souls’ by Kristi McManus provides us a view into that heart wrenching tale. McManus explorers themes of: betrayal as well as jealousy, perseverance, power and selfishness; among many others though my personal favourite is, rebirth. ‘Our vengeful souls’ follows the journey of Seriea, a daughter of Poseidon, as a dreadful shadow of her brothers jealousy is cast upon her. At Tritons envy of Seriea consumes him he curses her changing the young mermaids life forever. Then as soon as Sereia is finally getting accustomed to her new life another person in her life betrays her, after she was yet again tricked. After these experiences she grieves expansive losses, and becomes a new woman. A woman out for vengeance.
Despite the tragic ending, I think it was perfect for the story. It made sense and I could picture that being exactly how things would go.
McManus did an incredible job at creating this novel. Her writing style intertwines greatly with the story and immense care and details were placed into the characters and plot. Not only does McManus provide characters with realistic traits that we can both love and hate and also emphasizes certain flaws, but she carefully foreshadows events in spectacular ways.
This novel is a great read for any fairytale lovers out there, especially if they’re one who enjoys thinking about the villains point of view. I also believe this book is perfect for a wide range of ages. It’s mature enough that adults can thoroughly enjoy it though censored and innocent enough that young adults can enjoy this story as well. It is definitely a book I would recommend to many people as well as read again.
Lastly I want to say thank you to NetGalley for granting me the chance to read this book, I most likely would not have discovered it otherwise and truly appreciate all the opportunities the site provides when it comes to immersing myself into the world of books.

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**𝑨𝑹𝑪 𝑹𝒆𝒗𝒊𝒆𝒘** 𝑶𝒖𝒓 𝑽𝒆𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒇𝒖𝒍 𝑺𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑲𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒊 𝑴𝒄𝑴𝒂𝒏𝒖𝒔

Release Date: June 6, 2023

4.5⭐️2🌶

This Little Mermaid retelling swept me away! I always love reading new magical worlds and destinations and this book did not disappoint. Sereia is a young Princess who's older brother, Titen, is heir to her fathers throne. However, she has more magical power and frequently bests him during training.

When their younger sister is in danger, Titen is unable to save her and Sereia steps up and saves her easily. Their father begins to see her as an asset. Whereas before, he only saw her as a tool to help train Titen.

Titen is overcome with jelously, and does is best to get rid of his sister.

A big thank you to @netgalley for approving me for this ARC!

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Actual Rating: 3.5 stars rounded down

I enjoyed this fairytale reimagining of the Little Mermaid, but more of a prequel telling the origin story of Ursula.

The main character Sereia is part of a sibling rivalry with her brother Triton, with both of them wanting to be their father's heir, first in line to rule the seas. But Triton curses Sereia to be a human, destined to turn into a monster if she ever touches sea water again. Sereia then ends up in the human islands of Atlantis, living with a herb-seller and healer, trying to figure out how to reverse the curse.

While I enjoyed the story though, I couldn't wrap my head around some, to me, glaring plot holes.

Triton and Sereia's father is Poseidon, an immortal. Why on earth would an immortal ever have need of an heir? And based on that, why would Sereia and Triton ever have need of such an intense rivalry for the position? I just don't get it, and it's such a major part of the plotline.

I also found one annoyance with the under-the-sea portions of the story. They seem to have way too much standard gravity down there, and they seem way too anchored to the ocean floor when they're mermaids who can go anywhere. Especially in the training / fight scenes, they constantly refer to being 'knocked to the floor' or similar statements, and it seems to be a strange phrase when they are beings who literally swim and float, not stand or walk.

But once I overlook those things, I definitely enjoyed the story. The audiobook was well-narrated, and I liked the descriptions of the islands of Atlantis.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an advance copy of the audiobook!

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This was really good!
I listened to the audiobook, and I liked the narration done by Suzanne Elise Freeman.

It didn't hit me that I was listening to a villain origin story until I was about a quarter into it. The storytelling is very compelling in the way that the author has taken elements from Greek mythology and the Andersen fairytale and created a whole new, original story.
Without spoiling too much, I can say that after hearing this, it is hard not to root for the villain. Sereia is an interesting character, and despite knowing where the story would most possibly end, I was still rooting for her happily ever after.
The ending left me feeling so incredibly sad for her, and I wished that she could've let the need for revenge go. While I wasn't too pleased with the way things ended, I do think that it was an exciting tale from beginning to end!

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Overall rating: 4.5 stars

Great origin story!! Really liked the way the story was set up. Really enjoyed reading these characters and how they interacted with each other. Definitely loved seeing a strong main character and reading her story.

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I enjoyed the aspect of myth and fairytale in this story and the way they were woven together. The romance was cute too, I appreciated that it wasn't a case of insta love. My last favourable point is the fact that this is a villain origin story, yes please more of these, even if they're heartbreaking.

On the flip side I didn't much care for the plot, it never took me by surprise but rather followed a very clear path laid out from the first. I also found most of the characters annoying, especially when they made pivotal choices that went against earlier behaviours, it felt too convenient and like the story was more about pace then about 3-d characters, which isn't always a bad thing but here it felt rushed and confusing.

I think over all there's the bones of something great here but it felt like it needed to be fleshed out a bit more. It was a good listen but I wouldn't read it again or recommend it.

I enjoyed the narration though, that was a definite positive.

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A little repetitive in places with the language used and construction but I’m sure this will be enjoyed by many. A good retelling and you do root for good over evil even when you realise the good character is lost…

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Thank you to Netgalley the Publisher, of CamCat Books | Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Audiobooks, and the author Kristi McManus for providing and allowing me to review this book. Which, I'm giving my honest and sincere review.

"Our Vengeful Souls" by Kristi McManus, Narrated by Suzanne Elise Freeman
Suzanne Elise Freeman delivers an exceptional performance in the audiobook adaptation of Kristi McManus's "Our Vengeful Souls." Freeman’s narration is both engaging and emotionally resonant, bringing depth and vibrancy to each character and immersing the listener in the richly detailed world McManus has created. Her voice captures the essence of Sereia's journey, making it an enthralling experience from start to finish.


Plot Summary

Sereia, a magical mermaid, saves her younger sister and inadvertently threatens her brother Triton's claim to the throne. In retaliation, Triton curses Sereia, transforming her into a human and banishing her from their underwater kingdom with a dire warning: if she ever returns, she will become a monster. Left for dead, Sereia washes up on the shores of Atlantis, where she is discovered by a kind merchant with a tragic past.
As Sereia adjusts to life on land, she learns that much of what she was taught about humans may be wrong. Despite needing to keep her true identity a secret, Sereia finds herself drawn to her savior, and her feelings for him deepen. Determined to make a life for herself, Sereia channels her skills into joining the Atlantean army, aspiring to become the respected warrior she always desired to be. During her training, she discovers the existence of a powerful trident, rivaling her father's, hidden within Atlantis. This revelation presents Sereia with a potential path back to the sea and her magic.
However, Sereia is torn between the pull of revenge and the possibility of a new life on land, especially under the watchful eye of a vengeful enemy within her ranks. Ultimately, when a friend’s fate hangs in the balance, she faces an agonizing decision: risk being burned at the stake as a witch or transform into a monster by returning to the sea.


Opinion

Listening to "Our Vengeful Souls" was an incredibly captivating experience. The plot is richly layered with themes of loss, love, and vengeance, reminiscent of classic tales like "The Little Mermaid" and mythological adventures like "Lore." McManus crafts a compelling narrative with complex characters, and Sereia's internal struggles add significant depth to the story. Freeman's masterful narration enhances this, making each twist and turn even more engaging.


Perfect for Summer Listening

This audiobook is particularly fitting for summer, with its enchanting underwater settings and adventurous storyline evoking a sense of wonder and escape. The vivid descriptions of oceanic and Atlantean landscapes provide a perfect backdrop for beachside or poolside listening. Whether you’re lounging in the sun or enjoying a quiet evening, "Our Vengeful Souls" offers an ideal summer escape.
In summary, Kristi McManus's "Our Vengeful Souls" is a must-listen for fans of fairy tale retellings and epic fantasies. Suzanne Elise Freeman’s exceptional narration makes this audiobook a truly enjoyable experience, capturing the imagination and making it hard to pause.

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