In the far northern reaches of civilization, a mermaid leaves the sea to look for her land-dwelling mother among people as desperate for magic and miracles as they are for life and love. 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. 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.
This immersive retelling of "The Little Mermaid" follows Sanna, a half-landish mermaid who leaves her flok to seek her human mother. Advised by the ancient, riddle-tongued sea witch Sj ldent, Sanna is bound for the castle ruled by ageless and unkind Baroness Thyrla, a witch who steals youth and power from others, even her infant children. When an accidental display of magic convinces the local priest and townsfolk that Sanna is a miracle worker, she finds herself betrothed to Thyrla's attractive but useless son, but she's no closer to finding her mother or securing the undefined treasure that Sj ldent requires as payment. Juxtaposed against the patriarchal culture wherein Thyrla has amassed and maintained power (one in which rape and infanticide are common), Cokal (The Kingdom of Little Wounds) creates a well-developed matriarchal mermaid mythology in which women couple, bonded by love and respect, and men are largely unnecessary. Through several voices and richly detailed prose, these markedly different worlds overlap and diverge to impart a nuanced exploration of power, family, faith, and love. Ages 14 up.