Scales by Pauline Creeden: Review & Excerpt


Verona is a bottom feeder. She is the one mer in her clan who is considered the ugliest and least intelligent. Growing up with the constant bullying and abuse wasn’t the worst of what her kind had in store for her. At seventeen years old, she must now endure “The Reckoning.”

The scales will measure her worth to her clan. Will she endure thirty days as a land-walker to gather information and knowledge to appease her clan and return a valued member? Will she wait three years, until she is twenty, and find a mer of her kind to accept her and marry her? Or will she suffer exile for the rest of her life?



I was really fortune to receive an ARC of this novella from the author. What I love about Pauline Creeden's writing is her ability to write interesting characters, a complex world, and deliver a social message that doesn't hit the character over the head with it's insistence. When I finished reading Scales, I sat back and considered the title. My initial reaction was Mermaid = Scales = Makes Sense. After reading, I realized the significance of Scales...justice plays a major role in this novella.

We meet Verona when she is facing startling abuse. This sets the reader on edge and immediately makes us wonder why a young girl (mermaid) would be victim to such a crime. We then find out that not only is Verona beaten, she's about to be exiled. She will suffer her wounds, alone, and she might die. Why? Because her society sees her as less-than. Her tendency toward being emotional, being different, has made her an outcast. The scales are not tipping in her favor.

Verona, however, is not without those who feel for her plight. I won't get into the details as to avoid spoilers, but someone feels for Verona's situation and soon comes to help...sort of.

In addition to the story of Scales, we also get a preview of Salt. In Salt, we meet another character for whom the scales don't seem to be tipping in their favor. I really enjoyed the beginning of that novel as well.

Creeden is a gifted author. Her setting off the coast of Chincoteague was well-drawn. Verona was a likable and rateable character. The author pulls at your heart-strings from the first. I want more, Pauline!

Rating: 5 seashell bras! 


TO KEEP FROM SCREAMING, I bite hard on my lip. The copper mixture of blood and saltwater mingles on my tongue. Mer claws rake against my back. The barnacles on the post to which I’m tied stab me in the chest. Pain sets my body on fire. Everything burns. I squeeze my eyes shut tight and keep my silence.
“Bottom Feeder.”
Each word cuts as deep in my flesh as the physical wounds my clan inflicts. It can’t last long. I can endure this. As soon as the sharks catch scent of my blood they will come, and the Mer will scatter.
The world spins around me like a whirlpool. My breaths come quick and shallow, my heart pounds faster in my ears. Each second is an eternity, until I realize fresh wounds are not adding to the burning in my skin.
The elder’s sharp tongue whispers in my ear. “Now you will be measured.”
My wrists fall free of the post as he cuts the ties.
Exile. My Reckoning has begun.

About the Author

Pauline Creeden is an award-winning author, horse trainer, and overall book ninja. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long. Her debut novel, Sanctuary, won 1st Place Christian YA Title 2013 Dante Rosetti Award and 2014 Gold Award for First Place YA Horror Novel.

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