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Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Legend of Manfin: Evolutionary Complexity Abounds!

I stared at the author's name, question marks hovering above my head.

"La Roche... Who is Laura Wright LaRoche, and why is her name so familiar to me?"

Then, I opened up my blog dashboard and 


It hit me.

She did the cover design for the first ebook I reviewed on Undiscovered Tomes. How awesome is that?! It truly is a small world. As you can imagine, while I was already interested in reading this one, I was even more intrigued upon making that discovery. 

Tiny coincidences like this make the pleasure centers in my brain light up. Bright flashing neon colors.

image via https://p.gr-assets.com/540x540/fit/hostedimages/1384018245/6747890.jpg

 The Journey is the first book within the Legend of Manfin series, by Laura Wright LaRoche.

So what's it about?

Manfin are believed to be a myth, something that is only talked about by drunken sailors and crazy old men living along the shorelines. Ashaw, however, knows differently. He saw one when he was a young boy, and he's determined to find their society. Now a man, Ashaw hires a captain and his sons to take him on his quest for discovery. When they find the Manfin, they're introduced to a world both beautiful and harsh.

I found that The Journey came from a unique perspective. We've all read mermaid stories, and while each one holds something special within its pages, this particular ebook took the mermaid legend a bit farther.

How so?

Imagine a race of people that is a cross between mermaids and humans. A sort of evolutionary link that bridges the two. Rather than magically forming in some great mist of sparkles, the Manfin's tails never disappear from their bodies. Instead, they roll up and away from the legs, still attached to the Manfin's body at the base of the spine.

Pretty cool, huh?

LaRoche has created an entire evolutionary background that makes sense. Indeed, her ideas about the creation of mermaids, Manfin, and humanity were so well thought out that I was tempted to call this science fiction, rather than fantasy.

This novel told the tale of not only Ashaw and his crew, but several other people, as well. The royal family of the Manfin, a loner inventor, and even an old man waiting for his wife to return after 20 years had places within this story. We glimpsed their pain and joy, we saw the harshness of the world the Manfin lived in, and we were involved in betrayals and acts of courage throughout the book.

...And there are complex interactions with other sea life, as well!


While I think that the author had a bad habit of telling us about what would happen in the future, rather than allowing the reader to discover these events by surprise, the world was so well researched that I didn't mind this nearly as much as I normally would.

I also had a problem with some of the choices made by the characters that I feel people accustomed to a harsh physical environment wouldn't have made. It's clear, though, that the Manfin are an evolutionary link between man and mermaid, one step below humans, so perhaps I shouldn't judge their choices on the same level that I would judge human choices in a similar situation.

Regardless, the evolutionary and biological complexity of the Manfin was so intricate that I'm willing to look beyond these flaws. LaRoche has the talent to create a superior background for an entire race of intelligent beings, and that's nothing to take lightly. 

I'd love to see what other fantastic creatures she could produce!

The Legend of Manfin, Book 1: The Journey can be found on Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, and Scribd.


  1. Wow! This is so wonderful and thanks so much for the lovely review!

  2. You're very welcome! Thanks for coming up with such a unique concept!

  3. Hi Rebecca, enjoyed reading your thoughts on "Manfin", and I agree, Laura's creation of an entire new species rocks!

    1. I know, right? She did it in a thorough and *believable* manner. I love that!

  4. This sounds very intriguing however I do not have any of the devices you listed Kindle, Nook, Smashwords or Scribd. Any suggestions!

    1. No worries, Lester! Kindle and Nook both have reader apps that you can download to your computer.
      Here's the link for Nook's reading app download page: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/nook-reading-app/379003593
      And here's the one for the Kindle app: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000493771
      Personally, I have a Nook device with a Kindle reader installed onto it, which is how I'm able to use both. Both reader apps are free, so once they're installed, you only have to worry about the costs of any books that are purchased.

      Smashwords, on the other hand, does not require any special app downloads. You simply find the book you're looking at reading, then choose the format you prefer to use. Just download the file and read from your computer.

      Last, Scribd is a subscription service. The cost is $8.99 per month, and you can add as many books within their service to your library as you'd like, for as long as you'd like. It allows you to read online or download to your device.

      I hope this answer helps! There are a lot of choices here, so think about which option (or options) works best for you. I use all four, because I like the versatility it gives me, but that's not something most people would do!


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