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.The pirate Florian, born Flora, has always done whatever it takes to survive--including sailing under false flag on the Dove as a marauder, thief, and worse. Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, a highborn Imperial daughter, is on board as well--accompanied by her own casket. But Evelyn's one-way voyage to an arranged marriage in the Floating Islands is interrupted when the captain and crew show their true colors and enslave their wealthy passengers. Both Florian and Evelyn have lived their lives by the rules, and whims, of others. But when they fall in love, they decide to take fate into their own hands--no matter the cost. Maggie Tokuda-Hall's sweeping fantasy debut, full of stolen memories, illicit mermaid's blood, double agents, and haunting mythical creatures conjures an extraordinary cast of characters and the unforgettable story of a couple striving to stay together in the face of myriad forces wishing to control their identities and destinies.
- ISBN-13: 9781536204315
- ISBN-10: 1536204315
- Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
- Publish Date: May 2020
- Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Page Count: 368
- Reading Level: Ages 12-17
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
In Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s self-assured debut, The Mermaid, The Witch, and the Sea, an imperialist system clashes with the ancient power of the sea while two teens from different backgrounds find unexpected love.
Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, the black sheep of an aristocratic family, faces a journey aboard a ship called the Dove that she’s been dreading: She’s being married off to a stranger. A member of the Dove’s crew, Florian—born Flora—has been assigned to attend to Lady Evelyn. Tough and capable of handling the violence common to the harsh world of the Dove, Florian is working to earn enough to return with her troubled brother, Alfie, to their homeland.
Lady Evelyn surprises Florian at every turn with kindness, humor and openness. But their growing relationship is a problem, because the Dove isn’t a passenger vessel. It’s a pirate ship whose passengers have no idea that the captain and crew plan to sell them into slavery.
This intriguing premise blooms into an enchanting, complex tale that explores politics, piracy and the magic of storytelling itself. In Tokuda-Hall’s world, witches can use words to coax magic out of any object, a pirate’s honor is signaled by their relationship with the sea and mermaids can both preserve and destroy memories. Tokuda-Hall’s imperialist political system, clearly inspired by the Japanese and British Empires, is brilliantly detailed. While the romance between Evelyn and Florian moves quickly, both characters have well-defined perspectives and appealing motivations.
Queer and gender nonconforming characters are everywhere, and their normalization within the world of the book is remarkable and praiseworthy. A strikingly original and accomplished debut, The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea reads like an undiscovered classic with impressively modern flair.