Reviewer: Carissa Skye

Author: Helen Dunmore

Published: 2005

Reviewed: 2017-02-17

Publisher: HarperCollins

Ingo (along with the later books in the series) tells the story of a
young girl whose family shares a mysterious connection with the
sea. After her father vanishes into the waves, Sapphire and her
brother Conner begin to feel the call of Ingo, the world of the
ocean. There they meet the mysterious Mer and learn about their
family’s history - and magic.

I found this book an enjoyable, and quick, read. It’s intended for
younger audiences, and as such, it does its job well. It’s relatively
simple but engaging. Despite being outside this age rage, I found
everything about this book quite fun, from the lively characters to
the well-developed fantasy elements. The world Dunmore has created is
both wonderful and complex to a level I frankly hadn’t expected from a
children’s book. The Mer are the people of the water; their world,
Ingo, is the essence of the ocean. Those Mer with human ancestry, and
humans with Mer ancestry, can cross the boundaries between the Air and
the Water, but it’s dangerous to do so, especially for humans; as
Sapphire becomes more in tune with the ocean, she forgets those she
cares about on the land. The magic doesn’t stop with the water,
though; Sapphire and Connor also explore the magic of humans and the
Earth. These two worlds, not quite antitheses, interact in fascinating
ways, and I would very much like to read further.

And while the magic is fascinating, the mundane world the siblings
inhabit is just as compelling. They have strong relationships with
each other and their mother; these relationships are tested and
changed. Even as the children are drawn into Ingo, their mother
retreats from the sea and falls in love again, which Sapphire sees as
a betrayal of their father. In the end, as with any good story, it is
these characters who drive the book, not the tricks and trappings of

Overall, Ingo is a very good book, both for its intended audience and
for an older reader. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for
a book to share with their children, and as a quick read for those of
us not bound to adult novels.