The Seafarer's Kiss by Julia Ember

The Seafarer's Kiss

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....

Title:The Seafarer's Kiss
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1945053208
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:230 pages

The Seafarer's Kiss Reviews

  • Laura Lam
    Nov 07, 2016

    F/F retelling of The Little Mermaid told from the point of view of Ursula (Ersel) with a Viking shield maiden and Loki causing trouble.

    YEAH. YOU READ THAT RIGHT.

  • Heidi Heilig
    Nov 07, 2016

    A viking F/F Little Mermaid retelling? Oh my.

    Brutal and fierce, THE SEAFARER'S KISS transports you to a frozen northern sea where a shipwrecked shieldmaiden tempts one mermaid to the surface. Under the ice, her people fight to survive the dangerous waters, but a jealous best friend, a wicked king, and a trickster god are even more deadly than the shifting currents. This lush, original retelling will take your breath away.

    Inclusivity: The love story is f/f, the MC is fat, Loki is genderqueer.

  • The Bookavid
    Nov 07, 2016

    note 5/22/17

    rating suspended until the book is revised.

    there are discussions about the representation in this going on right now, specifically related to the trans rep. I know it's in the process of being changed, and up until then I'll leave the rating blank. Should the revision still show issues, I'll change the review, but right now I don't feel like I'm an authority on the rep, so I won't comment on it.

    Read this review

    note 5/22/17

    rating suspended until the book is revised.

    there are discussions about the representation in this going on right now, specifically related to the trans rep. I know it's in the process of being changed, and up until then I'll leave the rating blank. Should the revision still show issues, I'll change the review, but right now I don't feel like I'm an authority on the rep, so I won't comment on it.

    Read this review

    In THE SEAFARER'S KISS, mermaid Ersel falls in love with shieldmaiden Ragna and causes lots of trouble back home at the ice castle.

    I absolutely loved her debut UNICORN TRACKS.

    I knew I'd love THE SEAFARER'S KISS after about five pages. Just like with her fantastic debut UNICORN TRACKS, Ember writes fast-paced and action-oriented - just what I like.

    It's absolutely amazing how Ember painted this intricate world with its own customs and little sayings -

    I absolutely fell in love with the characters. Especially Ersel's best friend and now king's guard Havamal - the swoon is real. Even though this isn't really a book with a love triangle, I found myself rooting a bit for him and Ersel.

    It might also be relevant to your interests to know that Loki is genderfluid with they/them pronouns in this and that there is an amputee. The marginalized identities representation is fabulously refreshing and fun to read about.

    The two halves that THE SEAFARER'S KISS is divided into are without a doubt my favorite thing about this book - it manages to flawlessly combine a cute bisexual romance with an exciting fantasy adventure.

    Filled with plot twists, THE SEAFARER'S KISS explores the moral shades of gray between good and evil while being an absolute page-turner. Ember managed to get me with every single twist. I saw none of them coming and am thoroughly impressed with the way she magnificently managed to make this

    retelling absolutely 100% her own.

    THE SEAFARER'S KISS stuns with intricately developed character relationships, a fantastic world, and an action-filled plot that'll probably tempt you to binge-read this in one sitting.

    Rating:

    ★★★★★

    THE SEAFARER'S KISS is

    bisexual Norse

    retelling you've been waiting for. Trust me, you want this. I think I have a very strong contender for new favorite LGBT+ writer. Julia Ember's one to watch.

    live on the blog 02/11/17

  • Julia Ember
    Nov 10, 2016

    I am the author, so obviously I have read this book many times! The edits are done and the book is now in the hands of reviewers <3 I hope all of you enjoy.

    I don't want to give *too much* away at this point ... but although I love all of my books, this book is truly the book of my heart. The protagonist, Ersel, is so much like me, and I feel the most connected to her of all of my characters.

    I hope you will fall in love with her and her under the sea world. I am so proud of this dark little

    I am the author, so obviously I have read this book many times! The edits are done and the book is now in the hands of reviewers <3 I hope all of you enjoy.

    I don't want to give *too much* away at this point ... but although I love all of my books, this book is truly the book of my heart. The protagonist, Ersel, is so much like me, and I feel the most connected to her of all of my characters.

    I hope you will fall in love with her and her under the sea world. I am so proud of this dark little roller-coaster book and I can't wait for all of you to read it.

  • ☙ percy ❧
    Nov 14, 2016

    "a retelling of the little mermaid"

    oh for god's sake. i'm sick of the deluge of YA fairy tale retellings invading everywhe-

    "featuring ursula outwitting loki to save the woman she loves"

    GIVE. ME. IT.

  • Trina (Between Chapters)
    Jan 05, 2017

    -Violence in the romantic relationship (goes unchallenged)

    -Infertile women referred to as "broken" and "damaged" (this idea is challenged, but still giving you a heads up since it's a sensitive topic)

    I was sent an early copy of this book by the author for review. All opinions are my own.

    My real rating of this book is 3.5 stars. I loved a lot about it, but had to lower my rating because the

    -Violence in the romantic relationship (goes unchallenged)

    -Infertile women referred to as "broken" and "damaged" (this idea is challenged, but still giving you a heads up since it's a sensitive topic)

    I was sent an early copy of this book by the author for review. All opinions are my own.

    My real rating of this book is 3.5 stars. I loved a lot about it, but had to lower my rating because the one thing I disliked was that it portrays violence in the romance we are supposed to support without ever showing it as wrong, and strengthening the relationship afterward. I'll talk more about this in detail in a minute, but first let me tell you what this book does well.

    This is probably my favorite retelling of The Little Mermaid that I have ever read, as far as the story goes. It's told from a different angle and the world is inspired by Norse mythology, both of which allow the story to have room for surprises. Even though it's very different, you can see how major plot points line up with the original tale. It's one of the better done retellings I've ever read because it's both loyal to the original but still feels new.

    I also adored the mermaid setting. So many TLM retellings turn the story into a contemporary and that usually loses me. I love mermaids and loved seeing this underwater world.

    The story was fast paced. It's a short book but a lot happens. It took me a few chapters to adjust to the underwater world (mermaids swim instead of walk places, which my brain was not used to) but once I did, I was hooked. It was very engaging and exciting.

    The setting has a dystopian theme based around the mermaids being valued for their fertility. As I mentioned above, I think some triggering language is used in showing this society, but I did enjoy that the story was challenging this sexist culture.

    This is #ownvoices bi representation. I can't personally speak to whether it's good representation or not, but other early reviews seem to be saying it's great. There's also fat rep, though as a fat girl, one line bothered me and I keep forgetting this rep was present because it was rarely mentioned. There's also a non-binary side character who uses they/them pronouns

    Back to this. As I haven't seen any other reviews point this out yet, this will be a bit long. Since I had an early copy of the book, this quote is subject to change, but here is the main scene I took issue with.

    Ersel and Ragna punch each other in the face:

    Further down the same page, this is the only discussion of the violence we get.

    Ragna's only sorry she drew blood. Ersel's more concerned that she doesn't punch as well as Ragna. No one acknowledges it as having been wrong, and the violence is excused away as a character flaw. This was not enough of a discussion about physical abuse for me because in real life habitual abusers promise to never do it again, and yet they are repeat offenders. A few pages later, Ersel intentionally causes pain for Ragna again, though it wasn't through punching.

    Physical abuse in the main ship is brushed aside quickly and the relationship deepens afterward, which you could argue romanticizes it. This is a harmful portrayal of romance, especially in a book marketed toward a young adult audience.

    I was sensitive to this because I have experienced an abusive relationship in my past (I really hate that I have to keep mentioning this and reliving it due to YOUNG ADULT books). If you don't think this was an abusive act, I ask you to picture either of the characters as male. Would you be upset then? There are so many other ways to show that characters are hot headed or show them having conflict without making them punch their romantic partner in the face. These lines could have been cut out and the scene, plot, and characters wouldn't have changed in any way. So why perpetuate an unhealthy ideal?

    I'm so irritated by this because I was REALLY shipping these characters together at first! And there are so few #ownvoices bi romances out there and many people are anticipating this book and some will pick it up already shipping this couple. There is definitely room for books to discuss abuse in relationships, but it deserves a much more nuanced examination than was included in The Seafarer's Kiss.

    I would highly recommend this as a Little Mermaid retelling. If you like The Little Mermaid, Norse mythology, or are looking for an #ownvoices bi main character, then you will probably like this.

    Sadly, I cannot recommend this as a romance, which is its main genre. It portrays an unhealthy relationship. If you are looking for a YA fantasy with a fairy tale feel that has an #ownvoices f/f romance that does not involve abuse, I would recommend

    .

    Tropes used include the love triangle (which I felt was only built up on one side), and the not-like-other-girls trope (which was challenged). Even if you hate these tropes, I do not think you'd hate their use in this book.

    Very mixed thoughts on this book. It had good and bad things, but unfortunately the bad thing was quite damaging and really lowered my rating.

  • Inge
    May 30, 2017

    meets Norse mythology with a bisexual protagonist -

    is every geek's dream.

  • Cait • A Page with a View
    Mar 17, 2017

    3.5 stars. This f/f take on The Little Mermaid with Norse mythology is a really original and creative story!

    Ersel the mermaid collects human trinkets and doesn't want to do The Grading ceremony to find a mate like she's expected to...

    So she's looked down upon and asked if her eggs are frozen inside of her. The mage at the ceremony tells her she's super fertile, but nobody considers what she wants: "

    One day Ersel finds

    3.5 stars. This f/f take on The Little Mermaid with Norse mythology is a really original and creative story!

    Ersel the mermaid collects human trinkets and doesn't want to do The Grading ceremony to find a mate like she's expected to...

    So she's looked down upon and asked if her eggs are frozen inside of her. The mage at the ceremony tells her she's super fertile, but nobody considers what she wants: "

    One day Ersel finds a girl named Ragna on the glacier where the mermaids live. Privateers had attacked Ragna's clan and taken her prisoner, but then their ship sank. Ragna's covered in magical blue tattoos that move and show her whatever she needs to find (from the bloodline of the Norse god Heimdallr). Ersel brings her food & supplies to fix a boat and they bond after a polar bear attack.

    Minor spoilery plot points:

    The story's a pretty quick read, but the pacing is still strong, the writing's good, and all of the relationships and decisions worked. The imaginative worldbuilding was probably my favorite part! There were so many clever ideas... and Norse mythology is always awesome.

    Thank you to the author for sending me an ARC.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

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