This review was first posted on Music, Books and TeaI cannot swim. I've never really had any desire to swim, until I read Florence. Now I wish I could swim with a breathing polyp attached to me, and live in Niemela. This was the first mermaid/merman book that I've read, and also one of the best fantasy books that I have read. Plus, how beautiful is the cover for this book?! I absolutely love it!The world-building in Florence was excellent. I really felt that the land of Niemela was its own character within the story, and I found the world itself to be incredibly believable. You can almost imagine it actually existing at the very bottom of the ocean. I loved the idea that corals, jellyfish and the underwater creatures were controlled by the thoughts of Niemelans, and I loved that Florence was able to hone her talent for that skill. All the characters within the world of Niemela were well-written, especially Yolee! I just adored her character, she really jumped off the page and into my imagination.Florence was a character that I really connected with. Since her father's death, she's never felt like she's fitted in anywhere, not in her mother's world, nor with her classmates, most of whom I wanted desperately to throttle for being so unbelievably obnoxious! Florence develops really well as a character, going from being introverted and slightly unsure of herself and her place in the world, to someone who feels like she has finally found where she belongs, yet without losing herself in the process. She stood up for what she believed in, and did it when it mattered. Whilst some of her actions were predictable, I felt that they were all justified too. For example, how many people would save someone that they've known for days without a thought as to what would happen to themselves? Florence has become one of my favourite female characters ever.There isn't really a love triangle in Florence. When Florence is first brought to Niemela, she appears to be more drawn to Kiren, a Prince set to become King within the next few days. Kiren also seems to take a strong interest in Florence, even standing up for her when King Iriego, his father, was determined to send Florence to the prison to live out the rest of her days. That is, until we learn of Kiren's true motives, and Florence appears to pay more attention to Rolan, Kiren's brother. He appeared to really detest Florence, and I can understand why. A human was living in his world, a world where everyone has a role to fulfil. Rolan also had one of my most favourite lines in the entire story: "...And to exist without a role is a most dangerous predicament." Their attraction seemed so real, Rolan most certainly was not a second choice for Florence. In fact, I think that he was her first choice all along, she just didn't realise it at the time! I loved how heroic he was, especially at the end, when he was willing to give everything up in order for Florence to be safe.Florence was a book that totally blew me out of the water in terms of how fantastic it was, and has easily become one of my favourite reads of this year. It kept me hooked from beginning to end, and has left me wishing for more stories based in the land of Niemela! I can only hope that there will be more!I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.