The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea

Binding: Paperback

Imprint: Walker Books

Age 14+

Fantasy & Magical Realism

In a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic, a desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial lady find a connection on the high seas.
Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is headed to an arranged marriage she dreads. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian. Neither expects to fall in love.

Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, double agents, and the all-encompassing Sea herself.

Deftly entwining swashbuckling action and quiet magic, Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s inventive debut novel conjures a diverse cast of characters seeking mastery over their fates while searching for answers to big questions about identity, power, and love.


Maggie Tokuda-Hall is the author of Also an Octopus, illustrated by Benji Davies. This is her first novel. She lives in San Francisco.


4 stars. a clever, queer, modern take on a timeless genre. Maggie Tokuda-Hall delivers a fresh interrogation of class and race, imperialism and colonisation, and gender and sexual identity, all within the pages of a classic tale of true love and adventure on the high seas.

samosasandsirens - instagram

brilliant and brutal … this book is everything I want in a fantasy

Paper Fury

One of the best YA books I’ve read this year


This was definitely a book that you will love every single time you read it. … 5/5

Blue Fairy Tales

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