A Fun Retelling Full of Thoughtful Writing | Review of ‘The Seafarer’s Kiss’


By Cynthia Ayala

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
Duet Books
Image Credit: Goodreads

“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 mermen’s glacier. 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 Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, 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.” —Goodreads

Published May 4, 2017, by Duet Books The Seafarer’s Kiss
by Julia Ember is a retelling of the classic little mermaid tale incorporating Norse Mythology and challenging the place of women in a male-dominated world.

Literature is such a powerful foundation to express meaningful and relevant ideas. The Seafarer’s Kiss does that, The concept of the novel takes a place of the women in the world, in a male dominated world, In the mermaid, kingdom women are only worth how many offspring they can produce. It’s a powerful message for the reader as Ersel challenges these ideas as she fights the system and her place in the society in her small ways. She’s such a powerful character who challenges the world she lives in, going so far as to make a deal with a dangerous about escaping her world.

It’s a powerful novel that takes such a spin on the tale of the little mermaid with powerful and relevant concepts being challenged. And with the addition of the Norse mythology and the trickster Loki, the novel offers surprising twists and turns to the character. They challenge the character and her wants and needs, her desires and what she is willing to risk in order to make her dreams come true. She makes some bad choices, some of which hurt other people, but that doesn’t make her a bad person, it makes her human and relatable.

For most of the novel, it’s strong, but nearing the end it starts to fall apart just a bit. It’s clear that the scenes are supposed to be reflections on Ersel’s actions, but the structure of these scenes just doesn’t fit with the novel. The tone feels out of place, rough around the ages and it doesn’t flow as the rest of the novel flows. It almost feels as though the novel should have ended before those scenes. There was closure, there was a resolution and a revelation making everything that came after it just filler. Overall it’s a very good novel that not only challenges relevant concepts and fights against them but also allows for inclusivity by portraying an LGBT relationship with thoughtful consideration. It’s full of amazing twists and turns and great character development. (★★★★☆ | A)

Product Details:

Pub Date: May 4, 2017

Page count: 230pp

Age Range: 15 & Over

ISBN: 978-1-9450-5320-7

Publisher: Duet Books

List Price:  $15.99

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