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Having long wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the merfolk’s fortress. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: Say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.
Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from the divine Loki. But such deals are never straightforward, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.
|Publisher:||Novelstream dba Interlude Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.51(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer's Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks was published by Harmony Ink Press.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Seafarer's Kiss is a Norse retelling of The Little Mermaid that's a origin story of sorts for Ursula. And yes, it's basically as amazing as that set up makes it sound. Overall, I loved the beginning and the set up, the middle was the weakest, but I didn't feel bored or like I needed to power through it, then the ending was phenomenal and I almost cried in two places. I loved Ersel. She's bisexual (ownvoices) and fat (these mermaids have blubber because Arctic Ocean). I love her character arc of falling for Ragna, a warrior Viking out, understanding Ragna's revenge plot, her balancing her thoughts on another mermaid, acting out of her own self interest, then acting for the community. I just loved her. Her and Ragna's relationship was very enjoyable and I overall enjoyed all the side characters in their own way.
The Seafarer’s Kiss is a wonderful mash-up of The Little Mermaid (well, Ursula, mostly), Captain Hook (yeah yeah, I could’ve said Peter Pan but he is NOT in this book) and some Norse mythology thrown in. It is a story of a girl who sets out to free herself from her oppressive society but then ends up making a deal with a trickster god that goes sideways. In Ersel’s kingdom, the mermaids all have to be graded when they come of age for their, uh, fertile wombs, like some chattel. Obviously, she is NOT DOWN with this, and longs to escape out into the open sea, preferably south where she is freezing her tail fin off. As the Grading draws closer, she is worried about her future, and increasingly escaping onto the ice shelf where she has some peace from all the bullying by her female peers. While one such outing, she comes across Ragna, a warrior girl with a magical map on her body in ink, who she connects with. But when she gets caught with her, she gets trapped by her childhood friend into agreeing to be his mate. Which is pretty shitty of him, because dude knows she is not interested in being his mate, and moreover any interest in being trapped in producing eggs just because she is deemed extremely fertile. To avoid her fate, Merida style, she calls upon a god, and makes a deal with them. Hints of The Little Mermaid can be seen here as the deal requires voices as payments, and the first mermaid whom she asks for a voice is a coral-haired mermaid (who incidentally is also her bully). Things go horribly wrong because Loki likes to play tricks and likes to explore loopholes. (And here is where we should be glad that the sea witch actually gave the little mermaid HUMAN legs) Now to undo that, she is drawn into a further deal with the trickster, but only if to outwit them, which is a dangerous thing. One of the things I loved about this book include the fact that we have a chubby lesbian mermaid! Like it even subtly calls out the fact of the skinny smooth skinned mermaid trope - Ersel and all the merfolk have fully scaled skin, and they encourage sapphic relationships (but the ultimate goal is still to have them receptive to mermen touch, so well, that gets cancelled out). The king is a tyrant but he is a tyrant in a matriarchal society that still somehow places undue importance on the value of a girl’s fertility. Ragna, meanwhile is a lesbian ship captain who is a stand-in for Captain Hook (there is even a crocodile reference!), and like Ersel, is not innocent. But most of all, I was glad to see Loki being acknowledged as genderfluid in the book, and the use of they/them pronouns throughout. What I did not like is the fast pace of the plot. Things were being rushed throughout - even the development between Ragna and Ersel felt lacking. Meanwhile, Ersel and her friend sort of resolve their differences pretty quickly, but that was at least given good development. The ending was also rushed fast into the last 10% of the book, and we barely know what happened about Loki (did they let Ersel be?) - I like to imagine the trickster went on their merry way causing more havoc for the other gods. Overall, though, this is a pretty interesting story and a good twist on the old tales.
Really loved this Little Mermaid retelling!!! Romantic, fierce, and inventive. So much fun!
Such a great story! I love everything about it! The blooming of Ersel's and Ragna's relationship, positive bi rep, LOKI, the growth in Ersel's and Havamal's relationship, and more so I greatly appreciated Ersel's growth on her own. All of this and more. Love this story.