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Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite
Legend of Mermaid Cliff, the first book of The Awakening Trilogy by Brandon Rohrbaugh, raises its curtain over a foggy morning in the seaside town of Rockport. Sixteen-year-old Mark Parker, while jogging near Mermaid Cliff, stumbles upon a crime scene. The body of his high school crush, Veronica, lies at the bottom. Mark was the last person to see her the previous night, but unfortunately, the events are a complete blur to him. In the face of his classmates’ accusations, he struggles to assemble clues to identify the killer. His desperation grows as the body count rises, but every adult in the town warns him not to go deeper into the matter. Why do suicides occur every twenty-five years in an otherwise peaceful town? What secrets is the little town hiding?
Brandon Rohrbaugh's vivid descriptions of the misty cliff, shadowy forests, and chilly nights created an uncanny atmosphere that perfectly suited the plot. The creepy storyline made me scared while keeping me glued to the pages. Rohrbaugh executed an authentic portrayal of the high school kids, with their cliques and hierarchies delineated. The use of Mark’s perspective made me privy to his innermost thoughts and emotions, from trepidation to fear to hope. As he uncovered the devastating truth the town kept secret, I felt myself to be a part of his adventures. Legend of Mermaid Cliff is an impressive start to what I expect to be a breath-taking urban fantasy trilogy. With a group of plucky kids trying to confront ancient horrors, this would be a perfect choice for those who enjoyed Stephen King’s It.