Mermaid Moon Review

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About the Book

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.


One of my goals this year was to read more books based on the sea/ocean. It’s funny that I avoid these stories because I was always a swimmer and a water baby. BUT there’s something about that vast expanse of water (and maybe some trauma from reading Moby Dick at too young an age) that gets my heart pumping for all the wrong reasons. HOWEVER, I aspire to get over this! So, I of course immediately wanted to read Mermaid Moon when I saw it. I mean, just look at that STUNNING cover!

Let me start off by talking about the writing. Oh the glorious and lyrical writing. I love when a book just kind of sucks me into a hole and tells me a story, which is exactly what Mermaid Moon did. It’s kind of genius in a way, and is oh so effective when narrating a fairy-tale inspired story.

Which leads me to the merfolk. They have all the bad boss women and I loved the matriarchal society they dwelled in. It was also so interesting to see Cokal’s take on merfolk and learn so much about them. This book definitely follows some of the traditional aspects of fairy tales, and I really appreciate that. In a time where retellings are almost over saturating the market I seem to find that the ones that stick closer to their dark and mysterious counterparts are the ones that stand out the most for me.

About the Author

Susann Cokal is the author of two books for young adults and two for regular adults. Her third novel, The Kingdom of Little Wounds, won several national awards, including a Michael L. Printz Honor from the American Library Association.

Susann grew up with a roomful of books and Barbies, with whom she acted out elaborate stories. She comes from a Danish family whose traditions have worked their way into her novels. Mermaid Moon takes place in the far northern reaches of civilization, in a Middle Ages in which traces of Viking magic remain. The Kingdom of Little Wounds is set in a watery, witchy, mermaidy kingdom in Scandinavia, 1572. The tale of plotting between three outcasts–a seamstress, a slave, and a mad queen–involves mysterious illness, a conniving count, and plenty of court secrets.

Susann studied medieval history, art history, and literature in Poitiers, France, which gave her the origins and inspiration for Mirabilis, wherein a wet nurse is suspected of working miracles.

She is also the author of numerous short stories, essays, and articles about contemporary literature and pop culture–from supermodels to zoos, gynecology to the concepts of the sublime and horror–and she has been a frequent reviewer for the Sunday New York Times Book Review.

She now lives in Richmond, Virginia, with a lot of cats, a dog, a spouse, and some peacocks that supposedly belong to a neighbor.

*I received an arc in exchange for an honest review*

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