Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

In The Seafarer’s Kiss young mermaid Ersel wants nothing more than to leave the ice shelf where her people are living. When she becoems friends with the stranded shield-maiden Ragna, she learns about the world that’s out there.

But befriending humans is forbidden and when Ersel’s childhood best friend finds out about Ragna, Ersel makes a deal with Loki, the trickster god, to forge her own path. But deals with Loki are never straightforward.


This book had me as soon as I read about it, because bisexual mermaids and Norse gods? Yes! I got lucky somehow and my pre-order at a local bookshop arrived in late March, which seems awfully early? The story is a retelling of The Little Mermaid, with a bit of a twist and some added mythology. It’s also an #ownvoices book.

I really love it. Ember describes Ersel’s life underwater in beautifil and well thought through detail. Even the animal side characters feel like actual characters in their own right, which I loved.

Despite the shortness of the book (it has only 212 pages), Ember avoids an instalove plot. While there is not a lot of time and pages between the first time Ersel and Ragna meet and the first time they kiss, it feels a lot longer and it takes even longer than that for Ersel to realise she is in love.

The characters in The Seafarer’s Kiss were really great to read about. They are well written and complex, and I couldn’t help but feel for almost everyone a little bit at some point.

I don’t make it a secret that Loki is my favourite figure from Norse mythology, and Ember managed to capture them in a great way. They feel a little too evil for my tastes maybe, but the story is told from Ersel’s point of view and she is not overly fond of them so it’s understandable that she wouldn’t talk about them in the best light.

Overall The Seafarer’s Kiss is the bisexual Little Mermaid retelling that I didn’t think I needed before hearing about it, and has surpassed any expectations I had before reading it. Between the love story and seeing an amazing world come to life, it’s just an all-around good book and a new favourite on my shelf.

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

Additional Information


Publication Date: 4 May 2017
Publisher: Duet Books
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 230
Genre: YA, fantasy, retelling
ISBN: 9781945053207


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.



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