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
This gorgeously designed, lushly written offering from Printz Honor winner Cokal (The Kingdom of Little Wounds, 2013), which builds upon the themes of The Little Mermaid, explores how femininity manifests in Sanna’s matriarchal society and outside of it. Told by a vast chorus of voices, this is a rich and stunning story that dives to startling depths, and literary teens will savor it.