Drown by Esther Dalseno


I brought you here to tell you this: sometimes what we are searching for does not exist. We may sacrifice for it, even bleed for it, but it was never meant to be ours.

Every little girl, at some point, has sung along with Ariel. Some little girls still to this day pretend they’re the most graceful of sirens whenever they take a dip in the sea, pool, or bath. Ahem. Me.

It’s not a leap to say that a girl like that would jump on any and every mermaid-themed book (for adults) that she comes across.

Drown is just such a book. At it’s core, it’s a reimagining of The Little Mermaid, but darker. I don’t mean in a weird and sinister sex kind of way. I don’t mean violence. It’s very… desolate. It’s desolate and it’s poignant, much more so than the fairy story we all know and love.

Our protagonist is, of course, the littlest mermaid. As to be expected, she gives her voice to the sea witch in exchange for a change to be with her prince, but that’s where the similarities end.

Despite the author’s entirely different vision of merfolk, she is entirely relatable for one solid reason. She is “other”. She is “other” in her own kingdom, surrounded by a sea of cold hearts. She is “other” on land, where customs are strange, and communication is hard. I think most of us can relate to that, and that’s what makes her so endearing.

I typically rave about books with complex characters and suspenseful storylines, but this one was different. The characters were simple, the plot well-known, but the writing was out of this world. Beautiful, almost poetic. If I wasn’t so averse to pretentiousness I might throw around phrases like “word tapestry”… but don’t worry. I won’t.

I wouldn’t recommend you read this if you’re on the hunt for a happily ever after – it’s not that kind of fairy tale.

This is for lovers of Angela Carter and the original, gritty myths and legends from history.

Grab your copy here.

The rating?


For more information on my super-reliable rating system, read this.

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