* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
After invaders destroyed her village, murdered her family, and took her prisoner, shield-maiden Ragna is hungry for revenge. A trained warrior, she is ready to fight for her home, but with only a mermaid and a crew of disloyal mercenaries to aid her, Ragna knows she needs new allies. Guided by the magical maps on her skin, battling storms and mutiny, Ragna sets sail across the Northern Sea.
She petitions the Jarl in Skjordal for aid, but despite Ragna’s rank and fighting ability, the Jarl sees only a young girl, too inexperienced to lead, unworthy of help. To prove herself to the Jarl and win her crew’s respect, Ragna undertakes a dangerous expedition. But when forced to decide between her own freedom and the fate of her crew, what will she sacrifice to save what’s left of her home?
Inspired by Norse mythology and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, this companion novel to The Seafarer’s Kiss is a tale of vengeance, valor, honor, and redemption.
What I Liked
While I really enjoyed the first book in this companion series, The Seafarer’s Kiss, I found this retelling to be just as imaginative and interesting. This time around Julia Ember pulled from Norse mythology to aid in creating a retelling of Peterpan in a way. I find that Ember does a wonderful job in keeping to the characters she is has drawn inspiration from, but also makes them something new and her own. I know that sounds contradictory, but it is true.
I also really liked about this novel was the fact that it has flawed characters. For me when I see a flawed characters, even with a bit of magic and mythology surrounding them, it makes them more real, more tangible. Throughout the book Ragna is making mistakes, unreliable, and can just be rude. But, this makes her seem more human. I also did enjoy the sense of tension between her and her crew. I though it was an interesting way to go with their relationship since she rely on them and they rely so much on her as a leader. It also makes some of the issues “internal” in a sense and not just us against others.
Another thing I really liked was the fact that this novel the focus was not on romance. While I really enjoyed the previous book, I was glad to see more than just a romance. It allowed the world to become bigger, more vibrant, and the characters to shine on their own a bit more. Also, can I just say the mixture of mythology and elements from Peter Pan made such an interesting world and story. This combination was unique and I have not read anything similar to it.
What I Didn’t Like
One thing I was not overly thrilled with was the fact that were are times of violence that was pushing my limits at times. I do not think the violence in any way was prolonged, but it is there. Now, this is personal and I do want to point out that I am pretty sure Interlude, the publishing house that oversees Duet Books does post warning about their books. I did not look at these before hand. If this is something you think will bother you I highly suggest you look up the warning. But, I will be honest I would have read it anyway because I enjoyed Ember’s previous book and I enjoyed this one as well even though it had moments of violence.
Overall, I thought this was a unique book. The combination of Embers world building, characters, and tension create a very good read. I also think that this is something that can be read on its own or the books can be easily read out of order and the reader wont miss out on anything. If you are looking for an interesting retelling I highly suggest this book.
Publisher: Duet Books
Publication Date: September 13th 2018
List Price: $16.99
Pages: 256 pages