Customer Reviews for

Promises (Book One of The Syrenka Series)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Promises is the first book in the Syrenka Series. I¿ll read and

Promises is the first book in the Syrenka Series. I’ll read and review all of these books during April. It was a bit of a surprise jump starting to read the series because I had no idea what to expect. Mermaids, yes, but well, that hardly covers any ground. I expected t...
Promises is the first book in the Syrenka Series. I’ll read and review all of these books during April. It was a bit of a surprise jump starting to read the series because I had no idea what to expect. Mermaids, yes, but well, that hardly covers any ground. I expected these books to be good though because I’d heard about them before. Well, I wasn’t disappointed – at least not by this one (I’m still reading book two, and haven’t gotten started on book three yet).

Eviana is the oldest daughter of the Dumahl clan, a mermaid clan run by her mother. She’s supposed to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a clan leader. The clans are pretty much stuck in the eighteenth century with arranged marriages and ceremonials much resembling old royal balls. Either way, Eviana is to marry the soon-to-be leader of the Matthews clan, Kain. While Kain has feelings for her, Eviana is actually in love with Brendan, a selkie. She doesn’t want her arranged marriage to take place so she comes up with a plan to escape along with Brendan. They live happily for a while, until Brendan is attacked by a group of selkies and his skin is stolen. Afraid she might lose him forever, Eviana gets in touch with Kain and her old friends to ask for their help. But she might be up against something a lot more terrifying than she thought possible.

I liked Eviana. She was an interesting, unique character. I liked her mermaids abilities, and how she’d just begun to grasp her powers. She’s very stubborn and also quite brave when it comes to protecting the people she loves. Although she has a lot of flaws as well, those only added to her personality, making her richer and more complex. Like when she risked everything to be with Brendan, I felt that was a very selfish move and the consequences slapped her straight in the head almost right away. I also really liked Kain. He’s a nice guy, but he can be tough when needed and he has all the qualities of a great leader. He can make tough decisions when he has to, and well, he’s just very powerful. Brendan was actually the opposite. I have no idea why Eviana is so head over heels for him, and I hope to see more of him in the next book because here it seemed like his personality just wasn’t all that developed yet. He was there, yes, but he went through things instead of actually doing things.

The other secondary characters were all right. I liked Carissa, and Daniel seemed all right as well, although Eviana and Daniel’s friendship seemed to have progressed overnight. Didn’t sound entirely too convincing to me.

What really drew me in here though, was the setting. The world of Syrenka is filled with wonderful creatures from ancient myths, ranging from mermaids to water sprites to selkies to kelpies and more. I enjoyed discovering this world and its rich culture and history. Plot-wise the book was all right as well, although the ‘great war’ thing came out of nowhere and some things happened a bit too conveniently.

All in all, I really enjoyed Promises and I’m looking forward to reading the next two books in the series.

posted by eternalised on May 2, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

'Promises' is a fun and thrilling first book of the Syrenka tril

'Promises' is a fun and thrilling first book of the Syrenka trilogy that brings mythological sea creatures to life. It focuses on Eviana, our heroine, as well as her boyfriend Brendan and her friends. After running from her duties to her merfolk clan, Eviana is faced wi...
'Promises' is a fun and thrilling first book of the Syrenka trilogy that brings mythological sea creatures to life. It focuses on Eviana, our heroine, as well as her boyfriend Brendan and her friends. After running from her duties to her merfolk clan, Eviana is faced with serious circumstances and must figure out what is happening between the clans and how to stop the war that is threatening to erupt. What Eviana discovers will change her life forever.

I found this to be a fast-paced, fun adventure with great fantasy characters. I haven't read many mermaid fiction before, and I found it interesting how the author presented the mermaid culture and their history. I also loved how she incorporated other mythological sea creatures into the narrative - like water sprites, selkies, and naiads. They brought a unique and refreshing feel to the mermaid genre in young adult fiction.

The story was somewhat predictable but had good twists that I didn't see coming. I felt connected to Eviana and easily identified with her early in the story. The ending was a good fit for a first book in a series - it doesn't leave the ending too closed and it doesn't leave too many questions unanswered either. All in all, 'Promises' is a great start to a fun and interesting series. Fans of paranormal YA fiction and mermaid lore will love this series.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

posted by StephWard on August 6, 2012

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  • Posted May 2, 2013

    Promises is the first book in the Syrenka Series. I¿ll read and

    Promises is the first book in the Syrenka Series. I’ll read and review all of these books during April. It was a bit of a surprise jump starting to read the series because I had no idea what to expect. Mermaids, yes, but well, that hardly covers any ground. I expected these books to be good though because I’d heard about them before. Well, I wasn’t disappointed – at least not by this one (I’m still reading book two, and haven’t gotten started on book three yet).

    Eviana is the oldest daughter of the Dumahl clan, a mermaid clan run by her mother. She’s supposed to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a clan leader. The clans are pretty much stuck in the eighteenth century with arranged marriages and ceremonials much resembling old royal balls. Either way, Eviana is to marry the soon-to-be leader of the Matthews clan, Kain. While Kain has feelings for her, Eviana is actually in love with Brendan, a selkie. She doesn’t want her arranged marriage to take place so she comes up with a plan to escape along with Brendan. They live happily for a while, until Brendan is attacked by a group of selkies and his skin is stolen. Afraid she might lose him forever, Eviana gets in touch with Kain and her old friends to ask for their help. But she might be up against something a lot more terrifying than she thought possible.

    I liked Eviana. She was an interesting, unique character. I liked her mermaids abilities, and how she’d just begun to grasp her powers. She’s very stubborn and also quite brave when it comes to protecting the people she loves. Although she has a lot of flaws as well, those only added to her personality, making her richer and more complex. Like when she risked everything to be with Brendan, I felt that was a very selfish move and the consequences slapped her straight in the head almost right away. I also really liked Kain. He’s a nice guy, but he can be tough when needed and he has all the qualities of a great leader. He can make tough decisions when he has to, and well, he’s just very powerful. Brendan was actually the opposite. I have no idea why Eviana is so head over heels for him, and I hope to see more of him in the next book because here it seemed like his personality just wasn’t all that developed yet. He was there, yes, but he went through things instead of actually doing things.

    The other secondary characters were all right. I liked Carissa, and Daniel seemed all right as well, although Eviana and Daniel’s friendship seemed to have progressed overnight. Didn’t sound entirely too convincing to me.

    What really drew me in here though, was the setting. The world of Syrenka is filled with wonderful creatures from ancient myths, ranging from mermaids to water sprites to selkies to kelpies and more. I enjoyed discovering this world and its rich culture and history. Plot-wise the book was all right as well, although the ‘great war’ thing came out of nowhere and some things happened a bit too conveniently.

    All in all, I really enjoyed Promises and I’m looking forward to reading the next two books in the series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    Tep here :)

    I love books like this because the story isnt 4 pages long. Books 400 to 500 pages are perfect. The storyline is perfectly spread out it doesnt get too milked out

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Great read

    Kept me interested and I couldn't put it down!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    Great book, very imaginative

    Very nice read. I look foreword to reading book two.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    'Promises' is a fun and thrilling first book of the Syrenka tril

    'Promises' is a fun and thrilling first book of the Syrenka trilogy that brings mythological sea creatures to life. It focuses on Eviana, our heroine, as well as her boyfriend Brendan and her friends. After running from her duties to her merfolk clan, Eviana is faced with serious circumstances and must figure out what is happening between the clans and how to stop the war that is threatening to erupt. What Eviana discovers will change her life forever.

    I found this to be a fast-paced, fun adventure with great fantasy characters. I haven't read many mermaid fiction before, and I found it interesting how the author presented the mermaid culture and their history. I also loved how she incorporated other mythological sea creatures into the narrative - like water sprites, selkies, and naiads. They brought a unique and refreshing feel to the mermaid genre in young adult fiction.

    The story was somewhat predictable but had good twists that I didn't see coming. I felt connected to Eviana and easily identified with her early in the story. The ending was a good fit for a first book in a series - it doesn't leave the ending too closed and it doesn't leave too many questions unanswered either. All in all, 'Promises' is a great start to a fun and interesting series. Fans of paranormal YA fiction and mermaid lore will love this series.

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012

    Promises delivers!

    I really liked the flow of this story. Easy to read and follow. This book is based on mermaids and other shape-shifters. Amber tells the tale of Eviana, a young mermaid getting ready to embark on a huge life-changing adventure. It feels as if you are right there with Eviana through the love and the pain. Wonderfully written. Would recommend for teens and up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    An amazing page turning book from an amazing author.

    This book was thrilling. This is a page turner. Amber Garr is a wonderful authir. Can't wait to read the next book.

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  • Posted March 8, 2014

    Very good read!  I really enjoyed the world created in this stor

    Very good read!  I really enjoyed the world created in this story.  This book has it all: love, adventure, loss, action, and oh so much more.  I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.  This is a recommended read in my opinion!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    Not bad at all

    There was occasional confusion at times but for the most part it was really good. Loved the concept, very original.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    Couldn't Finish It

    This is very well written, but there are so many details that seem to be left out. I couldn't attach myself to the characters. I got about a third through it, and just had to stop. Too bad, because the idea of a mermaid species/society is really interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013

    This book, and series, is about Eviana, a mermaid.  In this book

    This book, and series, is about Eviana, a mermaid.  In this book, she is seventeen, going on eighteen, and being forced into an arranged marriage while in love with someone else.  I can't completely blame her for the actions she takes, I think her mom and dad have to take some of the blame.  She learns things about herself that her parents, and friends, never told her, that may have made her reconsider the choices she made.  Though her actions can be seen as extremely selfish and self serving, I think we all have to remember what being eighteen felt like.  I loved how this book ended because it made you want to get the next one(which I had)!!  Definitely a one sitting read.

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  • Posted August 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Overall, Promises was a great start for the series and I had tru

    Overall, Promises was a great start for the series and I had truly
    enjoyed this book. The love-triangle was heart-wrenching and there were
    moments that I had tears in my eyes, honestly speaking. It was so
    touching and I couldn’t help but felt sorry for all the characters,
    Eviana, Brendan and Kain, who are involved in this wounding
    love-triangle. The author had done a great job of describing the kind of
    emotions Eviana had to bear as she had to make choices in her life that
    affects everyone else. I loved both hunks, Kain and Brendan and I had
    wished for more intimate moments between Eviana with either of the two
    that doesn’t involve them becoming sea creatures. Also the plot was
    well-built and there were gripping moments although I didn’t quite
    understand some of the scenes featured in this book. I thought some were
    simply too surreal, unrealistic and comical in the not-so-impressive
    kind of ways. As for the scenes, the story is set in modern America and
    nothing impressed me much about the scenes as a whole. Promises was a
    great read with interesting characters and like I said before, the book
    was a great start for the series. I couldn’t put it down and I really
    looked forward to finding out more about what’s going to happen next
    between Eviana, Kain and Brendan in the next two installments.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Promises is a very promising beginning to a mystical series by A

    Promises is a very promising beginning to a mystical series by Amber
    Garr. Responsibility, image, and hard decisions for love fall on the
    shoulders of young mermaid Eviana Dumahl. Her story is tragic and
    heartbreaking, but will inspire readers with hope. Eviana shows her
    stubborn and defiant attitude right from the opening of the novel. Once
    true love shows her the way, she stays on that path no matter the
    consequences. Her bravery is to be admired, though, on the other hand,
    her risk-taking lands her in the place she had wanted to avoid: leader
    of the Dumahl clan. The most fascinating aspect of Promises is that
    there is so much more for readers to learn about the vivid world the
    characters live in right along with Eviana. From an inevitable war to
    creatures once thought extinct, Eviana's journey changes her profoundly.
    Garr has certainly piqued interest with her selfish heroine turned
    determined leader and turbulent romances. The Syrenka Series has much
    in store for readers. Promises has set the series' standard as
    fast-paced and entertaining making its following novels, Betrayal and
    Arise ones to look forward to! Originally posted on Lovey Dovey Books
    *ebook provided in exchange for an honest review*

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  • Posted August 9, 2012

    (I received a digital copy of this book for free as part of the

    (I received a digital copy of this book for free as part of the ‘Syrenka’ Blog Tour!)
    This is book 1 in the ‘Syrenka’ series.
    17-year-old Eviana is a mermaid. Not only is she a mermaid, but she is her clan leaders eldest child, which means that she will be the next clan leader. Mermaids are a dying species, which means that they must marry and breed appropriately. Eviana’s parents have arranged a marriage for her, to Kain – the heir of the Matthew’s clan, who as mermen go, is quite a catch.
    Eviana and Kain have known about this arrangement since they were very young, but while Kain obviously has feelings for Eviana, Eviana has a boyfriend, a selkie (seal) called Brandon who her parents don’t approve of (as mermaids and selki’s can’t breed together).
    With Eviana’s 18th birthday only a few weeks away, her marriage is fast approaching, and she knows that as much as she likes Kain, she belongs with Brandon, and they begin to make plans to run away together.
    With tensions running high between Eviana and her parents, a Syrenka Cotillion to attend, and her wedding day looming, Eviana throws her entire life away to run away with Brandon, even when she knows that Kain would be a great husband and that they would be good together.
    But when disaster strikes, and Brandon’s life is on the line, Eviana finds that having no family and friends to turn to could mean that she loses the only thing that she ever truly wanted, and she must swallow her embarrassment and ask the people that she left behind for help.


    I really enjoyed this book, from the very first page I was swept into Eviana’s world, with both its magical beings, and teenage normalcy. I loved how Eviana’s problems were so similar to those of a normal teen – parents wanting her to do what she doesn’t want to do, parents not approving of her boyfriend, and also very different – being forced into an arranged marriage, and having to content with being the next leader of her clan.

    I totally understood Eviana’s desire to run off with her boyfriend, and her wish to not have to marry at 18, but at the same time, I never for a moment thought that she would go through with it. I thought she would have a change of heart or change of circumstance and that she would stay and do her duty.
    I personally was secretly hoping that she would stay and marry Kain who was a total sweetheart. He was more than happy to do his duty, especially when faced with his father’s impending death, and even offered to let Eviana continue to see Brandon in secret once they were married, which was obviously something that he knew would mean a lot to her.

    Eviana was a strong female lead, she did what she wanted, but only after considering the consequences of her actions. She must have been so in love with Brandon to risk everything to be with him. Not only was she leaving her family, but her friends, clan, and way of life too. I don’t think I could ever do something like that, and I both applaud and frown upon her decision to run away. Whilst I understand that she loved Brendon and wanted to be with him, I also felt for Kain who was being jilted at the alter.

    Eviana was always determined to get what she wanted, and this came across even more strongly when she was fighting for those that she loved and cared for.
    If I had one complaint about the book it was when Eviana and Brendon slept together for the first time, and we were teased a bit and then told that they had ‘a wonderful night together’, I would have loved a little bit more here, nothing sordid or ‘fifty shades’, but just a little more than what we got!
    Overall I liked this book though, and am looking forward to reading the second book in the series – Betrayal.
    8 out of 10.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2012

    Promises was my first story about mermaids and other creatures.

    Promises was my first story about mermaids and other creatures. I felt Promises was a breath of fresh air. The story line was awesome and Eviana was typical 18 year old. Eviana makes some choices that she thinks are the best for her. But are they really? I really felt for Eviana and Kain. Kain is a rock and as the story unfolds I like him all the more. Brendan I am not sure how I feel about him. As I read this amazing story I found myself swallowed up and surprised by the things that unfolded before my eye. I would not and could not put Promises down till it was over. I was a little confused on what the selke do with the skin because I can't imagine them walking around with it but it does not say.

    Ms. Garr has written a unique and fresh story. I love how she ended book 1. She gave me enough closure and left me wanting more. Ms. Garr also left the first chapter of book 2 at the end of book 1. I love when authors do that.

    I loved this book and can't wait to read book 2 Betrayal. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves romance, adventure, mystery and ya reading.


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  • Posted April 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    First, I’d like to say that I loved the cover. It fits won

    First, I’d like to say that I loved the cover. It fits wonderfully into the theme of the novel.
    “Promises” is the first book of The Syrenka Series trilogy following Eviana and her friends through the perils of clan wars, tragedies and immense loss.

    I admit that it’s easy to predict the storyline in the first chapters, but soon I’d find a lot of unexpected turns and twist that left me stunned and emotionally affected. And from there, I was totally hooked with the story. What makes the story so relatable and enjoying to read is Ms. Garr’s writing. I enjoyed reading the conversations, and she made the story flow naturally.

    I enjoyed the author’s description especially how these sea creatures change from human form to their magical form. It’s easy to picture it happening. I enjoyed the mermaid lore and other stuffs about them. This is actually my first mermaid novel and I was not disappointed.

    This book is a love triangle, and even though it was Brendan that Eviana loves, I find Kain to be charming and lovable. With Eviana’s narration, it’s easy to see that she has a mounting feeling for Kain, which makes Kain almost the center of the book. There was more detail on him than Brendan, but I hope to learn more of Brendan in the next book too.

    Eviana meanwhile, even though I want to smack her most of the times, her character was developed as the story goes on. In every situation she was put in, she grows and learns something from it.

    The ending of this book meanwhile is a little too-happily-ever-after for me. But the excerpt of the second book takes that feeling back and replaces it with thrill and excitement..:)

    All in all, Promises is a great book to start The Syrenka Series. I was deeply absorbed with the book from beginning til end. YA Romance mixed with sea folklores and legends make “Promises” a unique book that is fascinating, engaging and over-all a must-read!

    Highly Recommended to everyone!..:)

    P.S.There is a free excerpt of the Chapter 1 of Betrayal , the sequel at the back of the book. It promises another Eviana and Kain moment, and a little bit creepy…:)

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    Posted November 18, 2013

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    Posted December 4, 2013

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    Posted December 6, 2013

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    Posted January 15, 2014

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