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.
Susann Cokal is the author of The Kingdom of Little Wounds, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. Her work for adults include novels, short stories, and literary criticisms and has been widely published in literary journals and the New York Times Book Review.
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.
Thyrla, however, is a villain on par with Maleficent, cool, calculating, and so invested in power that she’s willingly sacrificed nearly her entire family—including children she specifically bore to kill—to keep her hold on the island and her youth. It’s the revelation of her love for her son that makes her the most complicated, if not sympathetic, character here, a far more interesting foil to pure-hearted Sanna…a haunting tale of love, betrayal, and family, on land and in sea.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Lyrical, complex, and occasionally dark, with rich rewards for patient readers. Suggest this to thoughtful readers looking for strong females, unexpected twists, and a relatively happy ending. A good fit for fans of Margo Lanagan’s The Brides of Rollrock Island.
School Library Journal
Mermaid Moon is an action-packed tale of parental abandonment, familial longing, treachery and dark magic with an appealingly determined heroine.
Mermaid Moon is a beautifully told, immersive novel that layers fairy-tale elements with more modern themes, allowing for a different experience with every reread.
Shelf Awareness for Readers