As with every summer, it is the hottest on record in London. Yay for global warming!
So, as I sit slow cooking in my flat, I think of the beach and how lovely it would be to swim in the sea… But I can’t do that as I am stuck in London and British beeches have all the tropical charm of Theresa May. So as always, I turn to books.
It is no secret that I am firmly on the mermaid hype. I went as a mermaid for Halloween last year…
my bed and pjs…
I know I am the most basic person of all time. I’ve got to do what I can to survive this heat until PSL season begins.
Overall it took me quite some time to find some decent mermaid reads. by that I mean those that aren’t picture books, The Little Mermaid or called “Indigo”.
And given that the past year has seen a whole mermaid uprising in literature, I thought I would do you all a favour and show you which ones are actually worth it!
I am a benevolent god I know.
Because believe me, the word mermaid is thrown around A LOT and rarely means sexy underwater ladies singing “Under the Sea”.
So I am rating this out of 5 mermaids! Five being the most mermaidy shit since Hans Christian Anderson himself and One being about as mermaidy as a cat in water.
By Christina Henry
Mermaid Aesthetic: 🧜♀️🧜♀️
Themes: historical figures/events, romance, circus, and magic
Length: 325 pages
Ideal For: lovers of historical fiction
Avoid if: you want something totally out of this world
So this was my first Christina Henry novel, and whilst I really love her style, I am not hugely in love with her mermaid story. Henry is mostly known for her Alice in Wonderland and other fairy tale retellings. The Mermaid tells the story of Amelia, a mermaid caught by a fisherman and through some weird stockholm syndrome falls in love with him. Their romance is a very brief part of the story with the remainder focusing on the rest of her life with P.T. Barnum, a historical “freak” showman.
This screams American Horror Story vibes albeit without the crazy killings, but if you’re into that creepy kind of stuff, you are in for a treat!
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock
By Imogen Hermes Gowar
Mermaid Aesthetic: 🧜♀️
Themes: high society, historical fiction, Georgian London, Fiji mermaids and romance
Length: 496 pages
Ideal For: fans of histrorical fiction
Avoid if: you didn’t enjoy the mermaid by Christina Henry. This is its annoying little sister.
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock is Gowar’s first novel, and what a strange one it is! So like The Mermaid this focuses on the more historical telling of the mermaid cult. Whilst this is a fantastic historical novel that would do well to be adapted into a Downton Abbey style TV series, it has about as many mermaids in it as the UK Cabinet.
So this tells the story of Mr Hancock and the Fiji Mermaid he is given. He does what any sensible Georgian businessman does and reluctantly exhibits it and enlists the help of the courtesan Angelica Neil to make his millions.
The Seafarers Kiss
By Julia Ember
Mermaid Aesthetic: 🧜♀️🧜♀️🧜♀️🧜♀️🧜♀️
Themes: Feminism, romance, sexuality, coming of age, LGBTQ+
Length: 212 pages
Ideal For: those of you who crave A Little Mermaid retelling that doesn’t involve selling your voice for love.
Avoid if: you want a mermaid book that screams “under the sea” at you. This is in the cold cold arctic.
Well anyone who has had the misofortune to be around me when reading this book knows that I bloody love it. I met Julia Ember at YALC this year and probably scared her a wee bit. The sequel is due out in October 2018 so yaaaaaaaaaaas.
Anyway, this is our usual Little Mermaid plot, but instead of being in the tropical seas, its in the arctic! We have beluga whales and ice and mermaids of all shapes and sizes. But this mermaid Utopia is ruled by and evil king who is trying to enslave all the mermaids and make them subservient to the mermen. Our mermaid breaks free and begs the god Loki for some legs. She fails to specify what kind…
The best bit about this novel is the LGBTQ ROMANCE. Instead of a Prince, we have a brave Princess Warrior and it is everything I could ever want it to be.
By Laura Dockrill
Mermaid Aesthetic: 🧜♀️🧜♀️🧜♀️🧜♀️
Themes: YA, coming of age, growing up in Hastings, fantasy, romance
Length: 352 pages
Ideal For: lovers of all Dockrills’ novels, she brings a unique voice to the mermaid fiction world!
Avoid if: you want a more “serious” novel. This is a very fun and light read.
Laura Dockrill is a babe. She knows how to write about food. If you all thought Big Bones made you hungry, you’ll find yourself craving fish and chips and birthday cake whilst reading this.
Basically, young Lorali washes up on the beach of Hastings(!!) with next to no memory of anything. She enlists the help of Rory, a human boy who tries to keep her safe and protect her from all who want to hurt her.
Daughter of the Siren Queen
By Tricia Levenseller
Mermaid Aesthetic: 🧜♀️🧜♀️🧜♀️
Themes: pirates, romance, coming of age, fantasy, girl power
Length: 341 pages
Ideal For: anyone who wants a fiery protagonist to lead them through the pirate infested waters!
Avoid if: Daughter of the Pirate King wasn’t your cup of tea. This is its sequel
So this is the sequel to Daughter of the Pirate King, and follows the story of Alosa as she uncovers thje secrets of her fathers reign, her mothers existence and what it is to be half siren half human.
A really fun novel and filled with as much adventure as the first. Ideal for anyone who wants a mermaidy Throne of Glass type read.
The Surface Breaks
by Louise O’Neill
Mermaid Aesthetic: 🧜♀️🧜♀️🧜♀️🧜♀️🧜♀️
Themes: coming of age, feminism, girl power, unrequited love
Length: 320 pages
Ideal For: all girls.
Avoid if: you want a story that’s going to fill you with optimism. O’Neills writing is well known for the unhappy endings and gut punching feeling.
Arguably the biggest mermaid release of the year. Louise O’Neill is the feminist god we all needed and deserved. As one can imagine, the feminist retelling of The Little Mermaid is INTENSE, but so so worth it.
So we have the basic little mermaid story, but O’Neill highlights every troubling aspect of the original. From the daughters having to sing for their father, how Ariels sisters are jealous of her, how beauty is everything and of course, selling your voice for love.
It teaches the one lesson that the original failed to teach: If you have to sell your voice for someones love, it isn’t love at all.
By Melissa Broder
Themes: mer-MEN, Comedy, falling in love, re-bound, self-discovery, magic, erotica.
Length: 288 pages
Ideal For: anyone who wants a bit of mermen in their lives! This is a beaut!
Avoid if: You like your mermaids all sparkly, covered in sequins and firmly in fantasy.
So this book is an absolute GEM. Instead of mermaids, we have a very emotionally manipulating Merman who seduces our protagonist, Lucy.
Lucy is a character we can all identify with. She has reached a point in her life where her job sucks, shes broken up with her boyfriend and shes having shit sex via Tinder. So she goes to her sisters house on the beach for the summer to decompress and reevaluate. Her sister makes her join a self help group full of women who have problematic relationships with men. Lucy’s narration of the absolute weirdos in this group is fantastic.
This book is such a laugh and you will not regret it.
To Kill a Kingdom
by Alexandra Christo
Mermaid Aesthetic: 🧜♀️🧜♀️🧜♀️🧜♀️🧜♀️
Themes: fantasy, YA, romance, vengeance, sirens, pirates, family
Length: 358 pages
Ideal For: those of you who enjoyed Daughter of the Siren Queen. This is her bigger and more intense sister.
Avoid if: you find YA fantasy a bit melodramatic. This books story line is predictable but still fun.
First up, thank you Tina from Bonnier Publishing UK for sending me a copy of this book! I absolutely adored this and if anything, am gutted its a stand alone! So Alexandra, if you happen to read this, please write a sequel!
to Kill a Kingdom tells the story of Princess Lira, a siren who is renown for killing human Princes. However, after disobeying the orders of her evil mother, the sea queen, she is ordered to kill Prince Elian, but as a human.
This book is an absolute delight and filled with such a rich mermaid tapestry.
Well now that your TBR’s have suddenly grown, here are some other mermaidy books that didn’t make the cut based on me not having read them or on their mermaid vibes not being as strong as others.
As always, any book suggestions or general points, hit me up in the comments. Anything to make it look as though this blog is an actual success so my mum doesn’t look at me in disappointment.
The Little Mermaid