A 3.5 because I enjoyed it, but I think there were some things that could've been worked on.
The tale was much darker than I originally anticipated, and it's great when a book goes into a whole new direction that the reader anticipates (well, as long as the direction is a good one!) It was like a blend of the terrifying tales of the Brothers Grimm with the original tale of Hans Christian Anderson. It's a different approach to YA, much darker and more intense, but it paid off for the author to take her book in this direction because it'll appeal to a much wider audience, I think, one that is a little fed up with the common sappy teenage girl and needs something newer, someone with a backbone.
Having said that however the plot was, somewhat unsurprisingly, predictable. From the very jacket cover blurb I could tell this would be another story of the girl trying to save the guy, which ended up being it. Even the story of Syrenka and the mystery of the family curse, which appeared so complex and tangled in the beginning, ended up having a solution which was fairly simple and a bit too far fetched for me. It made sense, but it was a little overwhelming. The prologue as well felt somewhat out of place as it told a story that wasn't touched upon in the rest of the book, though I now think it was simply written for the purpose of creating a context and idea of Syrenka's character.
The biggest complaint of mine was about the romance between Ezra and Hester, which is the same type of issue I had with the French version of "Beauty and the Beast", the movie that came out this year. If Ezra loved Syrenka so much, then why the bloody heck did he fall in love with Hester? It diminishes that "true love" factor and I didn't agree with it. That's from the viewpoint of a fairy tale lover however as I think each person should have only ONE "one true love", and to hear Ezra say he waited for Hester in the context of romance didn't agree with me. From the viewpoint of her saving him then yes, that's alright, but to have a romance? Nu uh.
Then again, it's a YA novel. It's an example of a much more sophisticated type of writing, with a main character that was much more appealing and didn't test the reader's patience with stupid acts or somewhat faulty logic, and yes, this book does have some downsides. But for those who need something on the higher end of the YA scale this would be one of them, a book that will grab your attention, keep it with the realistic world and enjoyable cast, and spit you back out once you finish with an ending that, for better or for worse, will make you think.