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Summary

An award-winning author tells of a mermaid who leaves the sea in search of her landish mother in a captivating tale spun with beautiful prose, lush descriptions, empathy, and keen wit.

Blood calls to blood; charm calls to charm.
It is the way of the world.
Come close and tell us your dreams.

Sanna is a mermaid - but she is only half seavish. The night of her birth, a sea-witch cast a spell that made Sanna’s people, including her landish mother, forget how and where she was born. Now Sanna is sixteen and an outsider in the seavish matriarchy, and she is determined to find her mother and learn who she is. She apprentices herself to the witch to learn the magic of making and unmaking, and with a new pair of legs and a quest to complete for her teacher, she follows a clue that leads her ashore on the Thirty-Seven Dark Islands. There, as her fellow mermaids wait in the sea, Sanna stumbles into a wall of white roses thirsty for blood, a hardscrabble people hungry for miracles, and a baroness who will do anything to live forever.

From the author of the Michael L. Printz Honor Book The Kingdom of Little Wounds comes a gorgeously told tale of belonging, sacrifice, fear, hope, and mortality.

©2020 Susann Cokal, original book published by Candlewick Press (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

"Narrators Jess Nahikian and Stina Nielsen do a good job of adding a mystical element to the characters' voices. The pacing matches well with the darker fantasy plot." School Library Journal

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

dragged on and on.

ok story drags a little, especially the ending, which seems rushed otherwise and ok listen

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Profile Image for Jaclyn679
  • Jaclyn679
  • 10-03-20

mermaids like you've never seen

This was a beautifully written story, with narration that really added to the feel of the characters and allowed the listener to be swept into a new world without hesitation. I adored the new spin on mermaids and the creativity of the story and characters. I appreciated the diversity in the book, and how normalized it was. I also appreciated the strong female voices in the story.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Rebecca Munkelwitz
  • 21-09-21

Boring

I was hoping for an epic tale. Alas, I received nothing but boredom and an unsatisfactory ending.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 25-09-20

Entertaining, Creative and Engaging

I seek out book titles and authors that write fictional mermaid stories and have read many titles. This quickly became one of my favorites. I enjoyed this author's creative writing style and how she wove mermaid lore, withcraft and magic together and developed a unique plot with a twist. Much thought went into descriptive writing and the creative development her character's personalities and the fictional setting. I loved every minute of listening and could not wait to find out... well I won't ruin it for you.

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  • Literary Shopper
  • 14-03-20

beautiful story

I love this story. It starts with a young girl struggling down to the beach to give birth. She waits for her lover to join her there, and we get a hint that he is not like her. He turns out to be a merman, and he raises the daughter she gives birth to. Sanna is that girl, but she doesn't know her mother because the witch of the flock has cast a spell that makes everyone forget what has happened.

Sanna wants to find her mother, and when she is sixteen she has the witch teach her magic. She becomes a stronger witch than anyone in the flock has known, and she goes to land at the northernmost reaches of the world in order to find her mother and complete a quest for the old witch. What does the old witch want? Sanna will know when she finds it. First she falls into a wall of white roses and turns them red with her blood. And once it is clear that she has magic, the fierce baroness of the landish people imprisons her and plans to make her marry the young baron, her son.

It's a very lively story told in vivid writing, with more miracles and a plot full of twists.. The mermaids who wait for Sanna out in the sea can hear her sing about what's happening. The mermaids mostly pair up with each other for life, not with men, which is nicely handled. There are mean girls in the flock and a cast of other characters as interesting as the ones on land. I will always remember the old witch covered in barnacles and worms, and the baroness who has a room made of bones and skulls from people she has killed in order to suck their life away. Sanna is a great heroine. She has low self-esteem in the beginning but learns how much magic and power are in her by the end.

As I said, I love the story. I also love the characters and the magic. But the readers go over the top sometimes and their way of reading distracts from what's happening, especially the person who reads the prologue and the parts that aren't narrated by Sanna. But if you stick with it, the story sinks in and takes over.