My kids loved Jim C. Hines' Goblin Series. Sandra read Goblin Quest to them in installments every night before bed. My friends Drew and Janci over at Garden Ninja Studios (the fine folks who make the Schlock and Tagon miniatures -- Elf is coming soon!) did a line of Goblin Quest minatures. I hadn't met Jim before Penguicon, but he felt like a family friend. So... last Sunday my new friend Jim handed me a book, The Mermaid's Madness, and I decided to start reading it on the plane home. It was so much fun I decided to finish it that night in bed, delaying my recovery from jet lag by another two or three hours. This was, I must confess, my first Jim C. Hines book. It will not be my last. The Mermaid's Madness is the second book in a series Jim began with The Stepsister Scheme. We own that book, but Sandra never put it in front of me because a) I'm usually too busy to read things, and b) my Y-chromosome means I hate princess books. What she neglected to take into account is that when the princesses are actually heroines rather than distressed damsels I'm suddenly interested again. Also, they look more like swashbuckling piratesses on that cover. So... I read the books out of order. By which I mean to say, I read The Mermaid's Madness and still haven't gotten around to reading The Stepsister Scheme. Apparently I AM still too busy to read things. I've told you all about me and next to nothing about the book I read. I twittered The Mermaid's Madness as "The Little Mermaid" meets "Into The Woods" and "Pirates of the Caribbean." For a 140-character-or-less book review that's not bad, but it still fails to do the book justice. I'm closer to the mark when I say that when Snow, Talia (Sleeping Beauty), and Danielle (Cinderella) set out to save a life and uncover a plot thick with romance, betrayal, deep witchery, pirates, and yes, mermaids. And mermen. And kelpies. And sharks. There's even singing. And fun. This book is rollicking good fun. And that's the important part. That's why the 140-character movie review works -- I'm relating this book to other things I really enjoyed. I'm not going to recommend this one to kids until parents have read it first, but that caveat goes for pretty much anything I read. Books are inherently insidious, and never more so than when old stereotypes are upended and fairy tales are shaken down for their lunch money. And ooh, are those glass slippers? We'll just have those too, thank you very much.