- The cover. Seriously, does this not make you want to read this book? So beautiful!
- The mermaids. This is really the best mermaid book I've ever laid hands on. The mermaid magic and rules are wonderfully unique, although I would have appreciated a little bit of man-eating. The predicament of the sea-women is compelling and sad and just perfect.
- The writing. The writing is not typical, and some may not like it, but I loved it. Those who enjoy poetry and classics will fall in love with Lanagan's flowery, heartbreaking prose and find this story compulsively readable.
- The structure. The novel is a set of short first-person narratives that alternate point of view. I generally enjoy these types of novels anyway, but what made this one even better was that the narratives are linked, allowing the reader to switch views and get completely new information, sometimes in a completely different time period, without feeling lost or disoriented.
- Losing steam. While I love this book and I do love all the stories, I felt like they lost steam toward the end of the novel. It wasn't that they were any less compelling narratives, they just felt slower somehow.
One of the best books I have read this year, definitely top 10. The writing was beautiful and the narratives heartbreakingly perfect.