Ahoy there me mateys! I received this young adult fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
the mermaid, the witch, and the sea (Maggie Tokuda-Hall)
Title: the mermaid, the witch, and the sea
Author: Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: Yesterday!! (hardback/e-book)
Upon seeing the beautiful cover and reading the synopsis, I thought this novel would float me boat. No such luck. I read 40% before abandoning ship. The only reason I read that long is that I wanted to know about the mermaids.
I was prepared to root for a sapphic romance between the orphan turned bad pirate and the spoiled naive rich girl. But basically the leads suck. Both are intelligent but don’t use their brains. Both are kinda hateful. Pirate girl has no problems being a slaver and her selfishness is appalling. The only person she kinda cares about is her brother but that is out of guilt. Rich girl dumps her former lover and “best” friend (and servant with no power) with nary a thought about her feelings or future.
Pirate girl is determined to hate rich girl. But insta-lust still ensues. Rich girl has no common sense but wants a friend. But wait! Pirate girl is dressed like a boy!! But Shakespeare this ain’t. No comedy just weird internal angst and a ridiculous reveal moment. On top of that the portrayal of ship life is laughable and the circumstances of the two girls interacting is just plain stupid and makes no sense.
As for the mermaid, the backstory and character angst took up the first 30% or so. Then we finally get the mermaid. I liked the mermaid depiction but it took up so little of the plot and the “twist” about feeding it was stupid. The mermaid fun was nowhere to be found.
I should have given up on this book as soon as rape was used as a motivating character trait for a baddie early on. I was seduced by the siren’s song much to me disadvantage. I should have known better.
So lastly . . .
Thank you Candlewick Press!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
A desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial daughter find a connection on the high seas in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic.
Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian.
Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself.
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