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.
ARC received from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.
The Mermaid, The Witch and the Sea is a Fantasy novel which first grabbed my attention with it’s gorgeous cover and the story contains mermaids, witches and sapphic romance. WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED !
The story is set in the capital of The Nipran Empire, Crandon which is inhabited by the Emperor and the Imperials who were the native people of the land and much richer than the other colonies which the emperor colonized to establish their power. Evelyn Hasewaga, was a sixteen year old Imperial girl who was being send off in a ship to one of the colonial islands, the Floating Islands to marry a man ”one who does not demand too much in the way of dowry”. Flora is an orphan from one of the colonies who joined the pirates of a slave ship ‘Dove’ with her brother Alfie. There she took up the identity of Florian to protect herself and to earn respect from the sailors.
This book gives every thing which you could possibly want. There is abundance of diverity in the novel but in term of LGBTQ+ as well as racial The Empire and the colonies were representations of countries in our world such as the capital Crandon was representaion of Japan and Quark was Europe and then Tustwe from where Flora’s mother came from was Africa.Various issues such as alcoholism and poverty were talked about which were made to contrast with the rich, posh and sophisticated backgrounds of the Imperials.
The character development was pretty good. The various relationships that the characters had with each other were well written. The relationship between Flora and her mentor on the pirate ship Rake was refreshing for a change. She saw him as father figure and although he was not very affectionate and showy in his feelings, he cared about her and made her into who she was.The relation between Flora and her brother Alfie was raw and emotional. The incident of their children dented their relationships growing up and the love behind all the vexations and anger was something which I feel was wonderfully expressed in the book.
The reason why the I didn’t give the book 5 stars was just because magic was so less in the book. Yes, there is a witch but her scope was so limited. There are some bits and pieces here and there but I feel Maggie Tokuda-Hall could have made the book a lot more gorgeous by putting in more magic. Maybe it is just my whim..but I love magic okay!!!
The Mermaid, The Witch and The Sea is a wonderfully written book with a great representation, swooning romance with pirates, witches and mermaids. I loved the book and would highly recommend picking up a copy.