Book Reviews

Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
Series: The Seafarer’s Kiss #1
Genre: Fantasy | Young Adult | LGBT
Length: 224 pages
Published on 28th March 2015 by Duet Books
Purchase: Amazon | TBD
Julia Ember: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
eBook gifted to me by Allie

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 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 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.

Its been a hot minute since I read this book but my singular note on Goodreads makes me go you know what I gotta at least do a mini review.

The Seafarer’s Kiss is a retelling of The Little Mermaid (Ursula though not Ariel), the main character is bisexual and theres some Norse mythology too.

The story follows Ersel who collects human trinkets and doesn’t want to go through a cermony that assess how fertile she is to then find a mate like she’s supposed too. I mean who can blame her really? Being fought over like a piece of meat isn’t what I’d want and I certainly do not want kids.

She also gets in a lot of trouble for befriending and kissing a human girl.

Which is when Loki shows up to offer her one wish. Which knowing how much of a trickster Loki is, it doesn’t end up exactly as planned.

I did really enjoy reading this book because it was fast paced and a great stroy of Ersel fighting against an opressive system and tricky God.

I enjoyed learning about the love interest – Ragna – and her magical tattoos. But I would’ve really enjoyed seeing some of the scenes from her point of view. Especially the time she is absent in the book.

I think Ersel really grows as a character throughout the book as she learns from her mistakes and attemps to make things better – not just for herself but for those around her too. She’s definetly not a a typical hero though as she does do some questionable things to get on this path, but the growth regardless was good to read.

Also, I’ve not read many reviews but NO ONE SEEMS TO MENTION THE FACT THERE IS ACTUAL TENTACLE PORN SEX IN THIS. Okay it’s more of a fade to black scene but I read it like 5 times because I was super shocked that it was happening and that no one had mentioned it?! But I’m glad it happened! Hooray for being sex positive.

However, it does contain subject matter that could be harmful so please keep this in mind when reading: There is talk about how Mermaids who aren’t fertile are lesser, broken, and unwanted. There is violence within a romantic relationship that goes unchallenged. And the only pan and genderfluid character was a villain – whilst correct to the lore for Loki there could’ve been others depicted in this way to avoid such an othering message.

Given what I’ve said I think its likely I’ll read the sequal – which has recently been announced – but I think I’ll be sure to make a few more notes upon reading to give a more thorough review for y’all seeing as though this was written on a whim a long time after reading…

3.5 stars / 5 stars
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14 thoughts on “Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember”

  1. I think the entire companion novel (The Navigator’s Touch) is the events from Ragna’s point of view instead of being a direct sequel! So that’s why it was missing from this one. I might be wrong though.

    AND I KNOW OH MY GOD. I SAW ONE PERSON MENTION THE TENTACLES BUT I THOUGHT THEY WERE JOKING. I guess we prefer to block it out?? But joke’s aside, it actually wasn’t that bad, so. Whatever they like I guess.

    I personally don’t have a problem with Loki’s portrayal because it’s mythology canon, but I do wish he wasn’t the /only/ nonbinary character because yeah this way it’s kinda ehhh.

    1. yes i believe youre right.
      i have a sampler to read asap!

      yeah im glad it faded to black rather than intimate details but im glad it was included nonetheless bc hey it was consensual

  2. This book wasn’t on my radar at all, but a mashup of Little Mermaid retellings from Ursula’s perspective and Norse mythology sounds right up my alley… and that cover is gorgeous! Hooray for sex positivity and tentacle porn, thanks for the great review and I am adding this to my TBR!

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