13 Mermaid Stories To Tide You Over Until 'The Little Mermaid' Premieres
With Disney's live-action Little Mermaid remake on the horizon, everyone is feeling the call of the sea. I've picked out 13 novels about mermaids to tide you over until The Little Mermaid premieres in... well, we don't have a release date for it yet, but it probably won't be out until 2021 or later.
In Danish author Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid story, the Little Mermaid doesn't wind up with her Prince, and dies at the end of the story, only to be resurrected as an air spirit who can do good deeds in exchange for an immortal soul — the one thing mermaids lack, besides legs.
Of course, Andersen wasn't the first person to write about mermaids. Originally, the mythical creatures were related to sirens, and used their beauty to lure men to the depths of the sea, where they drowned beneath the waves. A lot of mermaid tales these days don't feature these grisly details, but you can still find ones that do, if you know where to look.
There's no word on when Disney's new Little Mermaid movie will surface. Until then, go under the sea with these incredible novels about mermaids — some of them are just as spooky as Andersen's story:
'The Oyster Thief' by Sonia Faruqi
This celebrated fantasy novel centers on Coralline, a young mermaid who must journey in search of a cure after an oil spill poisons her younger brother. She crosses paths with Izar, a human-turned-merman searching for a miracle to save his terminally ill father. What Coralline doesn't know is that Izar has developed a tool that will end the lives of all her people...
'Into the Drowning Deep' by Mira Grant
Following the disappearance of a mockumentary film crew in the Mariana Trench, a new team descends into the depths to find out what happened to the ill-fated film expedition. The first crew were supposed to film mythical creatures... but could the bloodthirsty mermaids they caught on tape be real?
'The Merry Spinster' by Daniel Mallory Ortberg
In the tradition of Angela Carter, Daniel Mallory Ortberg weaves new and horrifying fairy tales in The Merry Spinster. Included in this volume is a retelling of "The Little Mermaid," titled "The Daughter Cells," in which the heroine consumes human souls.
'Sea Witch' by Sarah Henning
In the first installment of Sarah Henning's Sea Witch series, readers meet Evie, a supposed "witch" who wants nothing more than to rescue the mermaid who walks on land, and who looks exactly like her drowned best friend, Anna.
'The Mermaid' by Christina Henry
A re-imagining of the Fiji mermaid's story, Christina Henry's The Mermaid centers on Amelia, a mermaid who left the sea behind to marry a fisherman. But when her husband is lost to the waves, Amelia finds herself courted by P.T. Barnum, who knows that a mermaid is just what he needs to make his traveling show a success.
'Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch' by Serena Valentino
In Poor Unfortunate Soul, Serena Valentino retells the story of The Little Mermaid, from the perspective of everyone's favorite sea villain, Ursula.
'The Surface Breaks' by Louise O'Neill
Another re-telling, this time inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's original "Little Mermaid" story, The Surface Breaks follows Gaia, a mermaid living off the coast of Ireland, who dreams of escaping her overbearing father. A life on land with a human boy promises freedom, but is she simply exchanging one type of subjugation for another?
'The Mermaid's Sister' by Carrie Anne Noble
Adopted by their Auntie, and brought to live atop Llanfair Mountain, Clara, Maren, and O'Neill live happy lives. But when Clara discovers scales growing underneath Maren's skin, she realizes that Auntie's story about finding the girl in a seashell might not be the stuff of fairy tales. Together, the three siblings leave Llanfair Mountain and head off to return Maren the sea, in a race against time.
'The Blue Salt Road' by Joanne M. Harris
In The Blue Salt Road, an unnamed selkie finds himself on land with Flora, a woman who dreams of living out the fairy-tale fantasies of her youth. She believes her dreams can come true with her new beau, and knows exactly what to do to prevent him from ever leaving her, but will her deceit lead to disaster?
'Part of Your World' by Liz Braswell
A what-if Disney story made just for fans of The Little Mermaid, Liz Braswell's Part of Your World rewrites the ending of the animated classic. In this new story, Ursula has married Prince Eric, and Ariel has returned to Atlantica, where she has been crowned queen. But when Ursula sets her sights on taking over Atlantica, Ariel is forced to face the surface world once more, and meet the love of her life all over again.
'Deep Blue' by Jennifer Donnelly
For mermaid Serafina, the daughter of Queen Isabella, the day of her Dokimí was supposed to be one of the most special of her life. At the ceremony to determine whether she is fit to bear her mother's crown, however, Serafina watches as an assassin attacks the queen, sending her homeland into a frenzied and uncertain uproar. As she searches for the distant noble who ordered the attack, Serafina joins forces with mermaids from across the seas, and begins to knit together a tentative peace.
'The Gloaming' by Kirsty Logan
Growing up on an unnamed Scottish island, Mara knows that one day, like all of the residents who came before her, she will climb the mountain above the village and be turned into a stone statue, which all of her friends and family may visit. But when she loses someone most dear, and has no statue to visit, Mara is left reeling — until she meets Pearl, a girl who claims to be a mermaid performer, but may be something more.
'The Vicious Deep' by Zoraida Córdova
After he is sucked out to sea while attempting a rescue in the stormy waters off Coney Island, lifeguard Tristan discovers an underwater world, ruled over by the Sea King, which is his birthright. Now back on land, Tristan must prepare for a tournament that will decide his fate, and the fate of his kingdom.