The Seafarer's Kiss, Julia Ember | Spoiler Free Book Review | Overbooked [CC]

I don’t think I’m ever gonna get tired of women 
rescuing each other like I just it’s it’s great  
in all ways let’s have the women rescue the 
women welcome back to dead good book reviews  
I’m Judith and you’re watching another episode 
of overbooked the series where I talk about every  
single book on my shelf because well it’s the 
past when I’m filming this and I like to hope  
that the universe hasn’t completely collapsed 
yet today we are talking about a book that looks  
fairly visually different from a lot of the other 
books on my shelf my mum used to say if you find a  
dark colored book with swirly writing on the cover 
Judith will probably enjoy it and you know what  
she’s not wrong I know you’ve already 
read the title by now but for the sake  
of those listening via audio we’re talking 
about the seafarers kiss by julia ember
so some quick disclaimers before we start as I 
attempt to prop this book up behind me um I did  
receive a digital review copy better this book is 
mine it was purchased for me by my wife christmas  
2017 I think I did however receive a digital 
review copy of the sequel the navigator’s  

touch I think from the publisher for free via 
netgalley regardless of where either book came  
from all opinions are my own I will also say 
that the wonderful people at interlude press  
the publisher have provided content warnings 
I will link the page where you can find those  
below if you want to find out more about that and 
I will also say that while I have read the sequel  
I did not enjoy the sequel and so I’m gonna just 
kind of quietly pretend it doesn’t exist because  
I think you can read this book on its own let 
me put the cover up close so you can enjoy the  
kind of paper cut glory of it the seafarers kiss 
published in 2017 and it is another retelling yes  
amidst the sea metaphorically and literally sea 
of retellings this is a little mermaid retelling  
2017 it’s maybe a tiny bit ahead of the game it 
would have been one of the early ones before the  
stream of them that we had in 2018. it is 
a short sapphic ya fantasy romance that has  
plus-sized bisexual mermaids and to be honest 
that’s all it takes to get me to read a book  
julia ember is a seattle-based author who writes 
YA fantasy fiction her latest book ruinsong is a  
retelling of phantom of the opera and came out in 
2020. I wrote these notes quite some time ago she  
may have had other books since then I’m not sure 
I might need to read that but I was burned by a  
book that was a retelling of a musical before on 
the back cover of this book it mentions that julia  
ember is bisexual and polyamorous obviously labels 
changed this book was printed then I have no idea  
how she identifies at this point but we’re gonna 
go with that for now I’ve mentioned this is a  
little mermaid retelling but in this case we have 
ice-based mermaids they live in a very cold area  
and our main character Ersel is one of them she 
discovers that she wants more than the life that  
is planned out for her when she rescues shield 
maiden Ragna from certain death near the surface  
because it’s the best way to solve any problem 
Ersel seeks help from loki and yeah it goes about  
as well as you can imagine and things progress 
from there one of my favorite things about this  
book is the plus-size mermaids have I mentioned 
them enough plus-sized mermaids I’m so here for it  
there is absolutely no way a tiny barbie mermaid 
would survive in the cold we’re gonna have larger  
mermaids with fat reserves oh amazing it isn’t 
like when she goes and gets a little bit warmer  
that she’s suddenly like oh I can finally have 
the hourglass figure I’ve always wanted it’s just  
perfect neutral her body is just fine it doesn’t 
come up it’s just how she moves around oh I love  
it so much I will continue to champion any book 
ya or otherwise which has a plus size or larger or  
even just mid-size main character where that isn’t 
their entire identity and for that character to be  
a romantic heroine and also outsmarting people 
and just being generally amazing ugh everything  
about it fantastic what’s interesting to me when 
I first read this book I was not out yet I was  
out to myself and to a few very close friends but 
I was not out to the world at large to my family  
I was just a tiny in like a closet with the door 
cracked open that’s where I was at so for me  
getting to read bisexual characters and see that 
represented on the page was super important and it  
still is and this is still one of my books that I 
hold as like helping me make that journey I don’t  
think I’m ever gonna get tired of women rescuing 
each other like I just it’s it’s great in all ways  
let’s have the women rescue the women this isn’t 
a very long book I don’t know if it technically  
counts as a novella probably though it’s not long 
at all it’s uh 214 pages or so I’ve mentioned the  
characters identities those are a big part of 
the story the romance is a big part of the story  
but there is also a story behind this while there 
are familiar aspects to the story because we know  
the little mermaid julia ember twists enough of 
the story that it still feels really fresh there  
are some not great little mermaid retellings 
out there and this is pretty good it’s more  
that sensation of oh that feels really clever when 
you realize something links back to the original  
rather than feeling like you’re going through the 
book and you’re like and next this will happen  
oh yeah it did I think the setting is wonderful 
I think the threat level and the way that that  
plays out within the book is fantastic my kind of 
qualm with this book I guess is there is a moment  
within the story this isn’t a spoiler where our 
two romantic leads hit each other it is within  
a moment of really intense drama but every time 
I’ve read this book it struck me as odd I think  
it’s because this book is shorter there isn’t 
the page count to have the kind of communication  
you need from from that you need them to talk it 
out so that doesn’t happen on page um so that’s  
probably the only bit that sort of slightly spoils 
that romance for me I’m kind of like oh I don’t  
I don’t know how I feel about this no another 
thing that you might want to potentially avoid  
if you’re sensitive to it or if you just don’t 
like reading that is that a lot of the conflict  
in this story comes from the fact that the mermaid 
population are struggling to survive with a lot of  
issues to do with infertility that’s discussed 
in the book that comes up very often within  
the story so if infertility is something that 
you do not want to read about give this one a  
miss comparisons for this book are tricky I think 
that to kill a kingdom is the obvious other good  
little mermaid retelling very different story but 
a good good book that has little mermaid elements  
to it the other things I’ve written in my notes 
are once and future witches by Alix E Harrow I’m  
not 100% sure why I think I just read them very 
close together and I was like these are both have  
sapphic elements and men sucking that that will 
do so I guess that and then the other book that  
I know has a bisexual main character that I very 
much enjoyed is reign of the fallen uh this is a  
bisexual necromancer which yes it was just another 
one of those formative books on my own personal  
coming out journey so I thought I would mention 
that one as well should you read this I had a good  
time reading this as I say it was a few years ago 
my reading tastes have changed slightly I wouldn’t  
say I’m as rabid a fan of it as I was in 2017 
2018 but I do keep it on my shelf as it’s a good  
book that I can lend out to friends especially if 
they’re just getting back into reading because I  
think it’s got a lot of the kind of the key points 
of you can read books that feature characters who  
look like you in them and you can have a good 
time with it and it’s not too heavy and it’s  
just a nice get back into reading after you’ve 
fallen out of it for a while kind of book it’s not  
something I’m desperate to reread every month but 
I do pick it up from time to time when I just need  
a good Ersel fix as I mentioned at the start it’s 
a shame the sequel just didn’t hold up for me it’s  
a peter pan captain hook kind of lean to it I just 
didn’t enjoy it very much but I do think this book  
works as a standalone so I wouldn’t worry about it 
potentially that’s something to bear in mind the  
sequel exists but it’s not fantastic in my opinion 
full disclosure I wrote the notes for this review  
many many months ago as in like september of last 
year and it’s now June of 2021 I feel very distant  
from this book at the moment in a way that my 
notes aren’t it’s a little bit of dissonance  
there for me but hey that’s the nature of this 
series everything’s a little bit weird and out  
of time what are you gonna do about it let me know 
have you read this book are there any other little  
mermaid mermaid books little mermaid retellings 
other retellings all of the plonk those in the  
comments below while you’re down there you 
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you haven’t already we have a good time that’s 
all from me and I will see you in the next one  
it’s gonna be some bloopers now today 
we are talking a book come hither

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