September 5, 2018 by TinyNavajo
The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ◊
*Published May 4, 2017*
I had been interested in this book for a while but what really got me started on reading it was there was a sample of the second book, The Navigator’s Touch, at ALA New Orleans and that one sounded so good! So, I needed to read the first book in order to read the second book.
The Seafarer’s Kiss is such an interesting book! It’s a fairy tale retelling of the Little Mermaid but centered in Norse mythology and I love it! Ersel is our main character and our little mermaid. Her tribe of mermaids lives in the cold north, in an iceberg to be exact and Ersel is fascinated by all things human, she loves to explore sunken human ships and finding new things from their world. There is something looming in Ersel’s future though that she has no wish to partake in, The Grading, where all eligible female mermaids are “graded” on their ability to produce offspring. This ceremony is becoming more and more important as fewer and fewer mermaids have the ability to hatch many offspring.
When Ersel runs from her results of The Grading, she meets Ragna, a shield-maiden who had been abandoned on the ice shelf near Ersel’s home. As the two get to know each other, Ersel realizes that not all humans are crazy, and that possibly, she may be falling for Ragna. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and now suitor catches her with Ragna, he gives her a choice: choose him as her mate, or being banished by the merfolk’s crazy and dictatorial king. To escape her choice and the life that lays ahead of her no matter what, Ersel does what all little mermaids do: calls upon a higher power to make a deal. This higher power is Loki, the trickster god of mischief. And as with all things concerning Loki, the deal doesn’t go to plan.
Throughout this book, we see more elements of Ersel and Loki’s dealing than we do of Ragna and Ersel’s relationship develop, so if you’re looking for a pure love story retelling you are not going to find it here. But for a Norse centered retelling, it has it’s hints and winks to Norse mythology and it is an enjoyable read. It is a quick read, but one that will suck you in real quick. I liked the magic and the way Ersel worked around Loki’s deal, but I wish there were a little more elements of the Little Mermaid’s story. Maybe I’ll get more in the second book.
What retellings have you enjoyed that took from other cultures? Why did you enjoy them? Comment below and let me know!