ARC Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

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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 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.

review

**** Big thank you to Duet Books for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

**** Potential Trigger Warning: Abuse/Violence in a Relationship****

This was a very unique and enjoyable book that is a retelling of The Little Mermaid with an F/F romance as well as some Norse mythology! How does that NOT grab your attention immediately?

PLOT

So as I already mentioned I thought the plot for this story is extremely creative because not only do we see a lot of unique twists on The Little Mermaid tale but we also see a world based off of Norse mythology. I loved how this was it’s own story but we still got to see some plot points similar to the original tale!

I also really loved the setting with the various sea creatures and the mermaids themselves. It was fun to have the story told from the perspective of someone that lives underwater, just something different!

Overall though I found the story to be very engaging and fast paced, it’s also a very short book so it’s definitely a quick read! My favorite part was easily when Ersel makes a deal with Loki, the God of Lies, and must be very clever in order to outwit the trickster god. Something about characters outwitting powerful gods is always fun to read about!

The world building was also very interesting, while it wasn’t expanded upon a whole lot we do know it’s based off of Norse mythology since the Norse gods are present. I also really enjoyed the bits where we learned about the mermaids’ world and Ragna’s very viking-esque world too. I wish there would have been a little more depth with the last two but I’m content enough.

Overall the reason I rated this 3.5 stars instead of 4 or 5 is because I felt that the story was a little rushed and could have used a little more complexity in my opinion.

characters

The characters were fun enough and I really loved both Ersel and Ragna on their own and together. Ersel is very brave, clever, and learns to overcome her flaws and Ragna is straight up fierce but I’d expect nothing less from a shield maiden.

I’d also just like to add that I loved Loki too but then again when do I ever not love Loki’s characters?

However, I do wish there was more development with the characters. Yes, we get to see some of them overcome their flaws and that always adds some complexity but I would have liked to have gotten some more insight into the characters somehow.

romance

I REALLY loved the romance in this story, plain and simple! As I mentioned above this is an F/F romance mainly but Ersel, the main character, is bisexual. I personally thought it was portrayed well but I can’t say truthfully since I am neither. Still I thought the author did a good job! I shipped Ersel and Ragna a lot I thought they were both great characters on their own and together they were even better.

The only real problem I had with the relationship is that at one point they both hit each other, which IS abuse I don’t care if it’s heat of the moment it’s never okay. So I’d say there’s a trigger warning for abuse in this story. I also didn’t really like how it was glossed over as being alright and they’re 100% fine afterward.

in conclusion

I really enjoyed this story and found it to be a wonderfully imaginative retelling. It was a fun, quick read! I also think the cover is gorgeous, FYI!

What I Loved:

  • Fast pacing
  • Creative world building and story
  • Great F/F romance
  • Diversity with F/F romance and bisexual character
  • Inclusion of Norse mythology
  • Good characters

What I Didn’t Love:

  • I thought the story could have been a little more complex
  • Plot felt rushed at times
  • One instance of abuse with the main relationship

RECOMMEND

I do recommend reading this book since I thought it was fun and something very unique! Really my only real big complaint is that one instance of abuse/violence in the main relationship.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

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6 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’ve heard from a few people that it felt too simple and could’ve been developed better, but I didn’t know anything about the abuse in their relationship, so thank you for providing a trigger warning for that. I’ll be sure to keep that it mind when I pick it up. Awesome review overall! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah it was a bit simplistic but I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that it is a very short book (230 pages) but was still pretty fast paced and fun to read, in my opinion. And yes while the relationship wasn’t abusive the entire time there was just one instance where they both straight up punched each other and that was enough for me to think providing a trigger warning would be helpful!
      Thank you, glad you found it helpful! 🙂

      Like

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