Showing posts with label norse mythology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label norse mythology. Show all posts

Saturday, February 11, 2017

[Review] The Seafarers Kiss - Julia Ember: Bisexuality and Mermaids

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

What intrigued me: I absolutely loved her debut UNICORN TRACKS.

Action-filled intricate world

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 - THE SEAFARER'S KISS doesn't read like paranormal romance or mythology - it truly reads like a contemporary set in a mermaid kingdom. And you guys, this is the best.

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. You'll ship everyone while reading this book, that's the beauty of everyone being bisexual! The characters are all just so lovely, you'll find yourself wishing that they'd all just get along. 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 Little Mermaid gone dark


THE SEAFARER'S KISS is a roller coaster of emotions. The first half of the book presents you with super cute contemporary romance fluff and all the feels, and towards the end it gets so dark that you'll find yourself wanting to turn the lights on. 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 The Little Mermaid 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.


5/22/17 Note:
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 for more info on the issues.


Rating:

pending

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE SEAFARER'S KISS is the bisexual Norse Little Mermaid 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.

See note above.


Additional Info

Published: May 4th 2017
Pages: 230
Publisher: Duet Books
Genre: YA / Mythology / Norse Mythology
ISBN: 9781945053207

Synopsis:
"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."
(Source: Goodreads)



What's your favorite mermaid book?

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Friday, December 23, 2016

[Review] Fire of the Sea - Lyndsay Johnson: Mermaids and Magic Jewelry






In FIRE OF THE SEA, mermaid Aeva falls in love with a human and has to battle her evil nemesis again.

What intrigued me: I haven't read a decent mermaid book in ages!

Less telling, more showing please!

I had high hopes for FIRE OF THE SEA. Being advertised as a mermaid story mixed with Norse mythology, I was absolutely intrigued.

The world building is truly very extensive and well-thought out, but this novel severely lacks in execution and structure. Especially the beginning, 8-year-old Aeva fighting against the evil enemy of their kingdom and winning, doesn't even tell us much about what this story is going to be about. In general FIRE OF THE SEA very much feels like a sequel to a much more interesting book. 

FIRE OF THE SEA awkwardly flip-flops between character introductions and narration and I really have to admit that the first 50 pages of this were very boring and difficult to read. Johnson doesn't quite manage to put this undoubtedly very intricate world into words, mostly because nothing really is explained much. The reader almost completely has to rely on what they think they know about mermaids and then just awkwardly try to create an image of this world on their own.


Weak World Building

FIRE OF THE SEA really could have used less telling and more showing, and also fewer characters. I truly couldn't disinguish all the people from another and in the end it sort of reads like everyone has the same personality.

Aeva's magic armlet plays a huge role in FIRE OF THE SEA and honestly, it tired me so much. It's like a Deus Ex Machina permanently attached to her arm. It knows all answers, it has emotions and can communicate with her, and of course it can also defeat any and every enemy. This again ties in with the biggest problem of this book - the lack of world building. So many things in FIRE OF THE SEA would've made for fantastically unique story elements, even the Deus Ex Machine bracelet, if they were just explored and explained better and with more care. 


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

FIRE OF THE SEA was a disappointment because of the lack of world building. I just wasn't swept up into this world as I hoped and simply didn't care much for Aeva and her story.



Additional Info


Published: March 24th 2014
Pages: 424
Publisher: 48Fourteen
Genre: YA / Mythology / Norse Mythology
ASIN: B00JCZQUGM

Synopsis:
"Sharp, sleek, and golden. Like the dagger she has worn since childhood, eighteen-year-old Aeva is all three of these things. But there is something else that this mermaid and her prized weapon share – they are both hunted.

Hidden within the caves off Iceland’s dark shore, Aeva waits to take her place as the next ruler of the Mermaids. But when Aeva uses her potent and alluring song to save a drowning human, she disrupts a delicate balance. Realizing she has unexpectedly bound herself to Gunnar, Aeva is torn between duty and love.

Aeva severs one life to begin another, and soon finds herself not only rejected by the sea, but also stalked by an old enemy. As the worlds of myth and man intertwine, Aeva will challenge fate to protect her own sacred relic and the man she loves.

But legend and lies cast an intricate net. With time and safety quickly unraveling for Aeva and Gunnar, there is only one clear course: Find and defeat Delphine before she can shift again."(Source: Goodreads)



Do you like books about mermaids?

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

[Review] Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1) - Jennifer Estep


In TOUCH OF FROST Mythos Academy student Gwen Frost is thrown out of her everyday routine when one of her fellow students is getting murdered. With her ability to find lost objects and learn about the owners of said
objects, she might be the only one that's able to find out who killed the student.


What intrigued me: I wanted to read this book in the first place because I was looking for another series to fill the void that the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead left in my heart. The premises are very similar, except that the school Gwen goes to isn't full of vampires, but full of descendants of mythological warriors.

Stereotyping Is the New Black?

It's written very, very opinionatedly. The main character Gwen doesn't waste a second to label everyone. Every student in her school gets a label that most often times isn't only really sexist, but also extremely narrow-minded and offensive. Gwen parts all students into groups like "the jocks", "the sluts" or "the mysterious guys" who just about do the same things as "the sluts", but yet somehow it makes them cool and mysterious instead of trashy, simply because they're guys.

Gwen herself doesn't really have a personality, she's just going around judging everyone. She's the typical nerdy heroine that doesn't have a lot of friends and is special because she isn't like everybody else. Multiple times she puts emphasis on the fact that she doesn't belong and what's even more baffling to me is that she doesn't, at no point in the story, take interest in the fact that she's surrounded by mythological beings.

For every other person this would be exciting and interesting, but Gwen just thinks that the stories about Greek and Norse gods are bedtime stories, despite the fact that she has magical powers herself. I found it so frustrating to listen to her and to watch her ignore all the magical and super interesting things that are happening around her. She's a very exhausting and oblivious character.

Black & White Thinking Everywhere

It's so frustrating that you have this brilliant setting and this unique world, but yet Estep ruins it all by not making an effort to build her characters properly. The big antagonist in this novel are Loki and all his worshipers. There is no explanation as to why they would want the world to end in chaos, but they just do. They aren't afraid to kill everyone who comes in their way, no matter whether they're students or grown wo/men. The equivalent and therefore the good ones are the soldiers-in-training from Mythos Academy.

I always have a problem dealing with novels that portray a clear line between good and evil. Obviously, there are shades of grey as well, but Estep makes no effort to try to make that clear to the reader. Just like Gwen labels everyone into either saint or sinner, her world is divided into black and white.

Rating:

★★☆☆

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I love the setting, I love the idea, but I absolutely hated the protagonist for the narrow-minded non-sense she says. I wouldn't recommend this to young impressionable readers exactly because it fuels stereotypical thinking and this is not what we need in a world that is already filled with hatred and the suppressed need to label people.

I tried to look over it all and just focus on the story, but it's hardly possible if you're bombarded with sexism in every other chapter. Estep had the chance to write a brilliant novel judging from the premise, but she ruined it through Gwen's attitude.



Synopsis:
"My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy; a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. 

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. 
Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why; especially since I should have been the one who died..."

What Do You Think About Sexism and Stereotyping in Literature?

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