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Review: Bride of the Sea - Emma Hamm

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Bride of the Sea by Emma Hamm
Series: The Otherworld #3
My rating: {★★★★☆}

Adult Fantasy
Published April 3rd 2018

Source: ARC received from Author
The Little Mermaid meets Irish Mythology in this retelling of the beloved classic… The first Companion Novel in the Otherworld Series

Once upon a time…

Saoirse dreams of land. Her father has other plans, and intends to marry her off as soon as possible. When a ship sinks near her home, she carries the only surviving sailor to a faerie blessed isle and plans her escape. Who better to help her than a man with few scruples and little cares in the world?

Manus dreams of the sea. He spent every coin in his pockets to get back on a ship but never expected the vessel to sink. When a merrow saves him, he realizes the chance meeting is an opportunity. She could make him rich and become his good luck charm, so the legends say. Now, he just needs to get off the isle she’s trapped him on.

They intend to use each other, but find their souls drawn together bit by bit. Can either leave the isle and the sea without losing their hearts in the bargain?
3.5 stars

I buddy read Bride of the Sea with my always fantastic buddy reader Amy from A Magical World of Words. You should read her review here

“Captain?” his first mate asked again. “What in the name of God is that thing?”
“That is a faerie.”
“Faeries aren’t that big.”
“Some of them are. Some are terrifying and beautiful, others are just terrifying.”

This is a companion novel in the Otherworld universe by Emma Hamm and it can definitely be read as a standalone without having read Heart of the Fae and its sequel. Having said that, I did find that the world building of this one leaned heavily upon what I already knew about Ui Neill and the Fae of this universe although the stories of Sorcha and Ui Neill are simply in the same world and not connected to this book.

Bride of the Sea is described as "The Little Mermaid meets Irish mythology" and I loved the way that Emma managed to twist this one and come up with a completely original version of a well known fairy tale.

I've loved seeing Emma's writing grow and develop over time and this book was no exception. It's a luscious dip into a beautiful fantasy world under the sea with all the grittiness and atmosphere required to keep a reader enthralled. Emma's writing just keeps getting better and better and I loved seeing the small details through her eyes.

In contrast to the poetry of the prose of the narrative I did struggle a little with some of the dialogue feeling stilted and forced in places. Either it evened out a little towards the end or I became more accustomed to it - I'm not sure.

Saroise was a lovely character to follow - even though she is Fae and as such basically immortal, she was young for her kind and was quite naive about the ways of the world. I loved that Emma kept the classical 'Little Mermaid' vibe of OMG-everything-is-so-amazing!


Manus was a little more difficult for me to enjoy however I did like that I wasn't certain of his motivations for a good portion of the book. His character developed quite well though and I was feeling better about the romance by the ending of the book.

But above all else, Manus wished that she would stay with him just for a few moments longer.
Even if he didn’t deserve her.

What I did really love about the romance was that it was so much more realistic than a fairy tale. It showed that a relationship can be hard work and compromise and sacrifice.

He is the greatest man I have ever met. And not because of his decisions.” Saoirse grinned. “He makes horrible choices. But he loves me, and I love him.”

This is a completely character driven fantasy retelling and being a generally plot driven reader I did find it a more difficult read when the plot meandered and grew a little fluffy towards the middle. The message at the end however is so beautiful and heartwarming that any reader should give this one a try, especially those who are fans of fairy-tale retellings.