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3.74  ·  Rating details ·  840 ratings  ·  193 reviews
Seven emotionless princesses.
Three ghostly sirens.
A beautiful, malicious witch haunted by memories.
A handsome, self-mutilating prince.

Belonging to a race that is mostly animal with little humanity, a world obsessed with beauty where morality holds no sway, a little mermaid escapes to the ocean’s surface. Discovering music, a magnificent palace of glass and limestone, and a
Paperback, First edition, 260 pages
Published October 31st 2015 by 3 Little Birds Books
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Esther Dalseno It's available everywhere on 31 October in paperback and ebook!…moreIt's available everywhere on 31 October in paperback and ebook!(less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  840 ratings  ·  193 reviews

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Ben Alderson
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
SUCH a lyrical and beautiful yet DARK read.
I loved this take on The Little Mermaid! I really enjoyed how Esther kept true to the original tale and yet still added her own twist on the back story of the mer-people!

A.G. Howard
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Esther Dalseno is such a beautiful writer! Just FYI, this is nothing like Disney's Little Mermaid. It's based more off of the original Hans Christian Andersen's tale. The story is dark, lush, and touching, and broke my heart in several places. Everything a good retelling should be. ...more
Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairy-tales, fantasy

The Little Mermaid was originally a fairy tale by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, however most people are more familiar with the Disney version than Andersen's. Which is a shame, for while the Disney version is sweet and good in its own way, it vastly differs from the dark, haunting Andersen version. Here, Dalseno returns to the original version but adds a delicious layer of even more darkness which I found very interesting and compelling! 🖤

Esther Dalseno
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Like so many others, The Little Mermaid was my favorite fairy tale growing up. To pay homage to Hans Christian Andersen, I decided to write Drown in such a way that it could almost be perceived as an unabridged yet alternate version of the original tale, found buried in a dusty chest in the annexes of an old Danish library. I hope you all enjoy it.
Paige  Bookdragon
Oct 29, 2015 marked it as to-read

Retelling of the Little fucking Mermaid.Sign me up.
Casey Ann Books
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Im always looking for a new mermaid novel that will just blow me away. every time I picked up one it never sucks me in... NEVER. Then one day I received this novel Drown and I was curious. I picked it up and from the first page I fell in love. The plot, the characters, the on the edge moments and Oh lord the cover! everything about this book has changed my opinions on mermaid YA. It was incredible and I highly recommend it. I love a good imagining of a story..... Hans Christian Andersen would be ...more
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I think I'll pass.
Recommended to Innastholiel by: Goodreads, I suppose.

I debated whether or not I should even rate this book, because I’m not sure I fully understand the author’s intentions. And then I realised that that actually meant the author hasn’t done her job, so I rated it after all.

1. Drown is a good retelling in the sense that it reference a lot of the original work. Which is by Hans Chrisitan Andersen, by the way, and not by Disney. I’m kinda sad that I feel like I have to mention this at all. So, yeah, the author references a lot of Andersen’s The Littl
Sarah Louise
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Drown is the perfect rendition of everything I didn’t expect it to be, with everything I hoped it would be. I must admit, prior to Drown, I was not familiar with Han Christian Andersen’s original version, The Little Mermaid. Upon completion of Drown, however, I looked back through the original fairy tale, and although there are similarities between the two, Esther Dalseno completely transforms the story into something both hauntingly beautiful and mesmerizing.
"Thus the little mermaid learned
Beautifully dark, heartbreaking tale that remains true to the tragic Hans Christian Anderson original. Loved (view spoiler) I'm very much looking forward to reading more of Ms. Dalseno's work. ...more
More reviews @ The Bibliosanctum

TL;DR Review:

4 stars. What even are feelings right now?

Long Review:

First of all, I have to say the cover for this book is gorgeous. With that aside, speculative YA fiction and I have a strange relationship. I’m either unmoved by much of it or I outright hate it. I can’t pinpoint why this happens since I enjoy YA books in every other genre. Exception: I enjoy YA horror more than most sci-fi and fantasy YA. However, if there is one YA genre that I seem to dislike m
Cassandra (Thebookishcrypt)
*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*
"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."
Holy. Canoly.
Ever since I saw the words "twisted take" on the cover, I knew my heart was going to love this book. And I wasn't wrong!!! This haunting story is sure to stick with me until the end of time.
Esther's writing is magnificent. I don't know how to describe it any better. I already told her this, but
Monica Anne
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone especially to those who love about mermaids!
Have you ever experience to drown?
How about heartbreak?


"The eldest turned to the little mermaid and said, "The very air of the world is filled with the beating of a thousand hearts. It is enough to make anyone sick."

asdfghjkl who wouldn't love that? From the very first page of the book, I was already hook on the story and I can't stop reading! Can I just say that this book is...PHENOMENAL!


Drown is the retelling of the story of The Little Mermaid; However, instead of being jolly, jovial and exube
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It hurts. It really, really hurts. Oh my God. . .

Drown by Esther Dalseno was such a beautiful, delicious and heartbreaking read that it’s been almost a month since I finished it, and I am still not over it. And that’s pretty much the main reason it ended up being one of my top reads from 2015! I mean, Esther did such an amazing job giving her own twists to the classic tale (which I haven’t read but know a little about it) that I just. . .don’t know what to say, besides the fact that the wait, on
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy

4.5 stars

This book was not what I expected - I was positively blown away! The writing style has a very fairy-tale-vibe to it and I absolutely adored it.
I'm not familiar with the classic The Little Mermaid fairy tale but nonetheless I really enjoyed this book. By the end of this book my heart was breaking along with the mermaids.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
3.75 stars

Not the ending I wanted, but overall a good, dark retelling
Liz Weasleyhead
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
“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.”
Danielle N
Oct 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I want to clarify that this was actually a 3.5 star read for me. I was very close to adding that 4th star.

I am unsure as to where I should actually start with this one. I am conflicting internally on how to present this review for various reasons. I want to convey my exact concerns and loves about this story without deterring others or promising too much. Openly, this will not work for everyone. But as the same holds true for all books, that is acceptable. After all, no matter how many times we
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2020
this story is so hauntingly beautiful. much to think about..
Amanda Frontera
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best retellings I've ever read. Esther Dalseno is the type of author that takes her craft very seriously. How do I know? Well it was clear as I was reading her retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's beloved tale of the little mermaid. She kept to the original story while adding her own personal twists to it. Guys those twists were soooo x1000 good!

Imagine a world under the sea where beauty and vanity run the kingdom. The mermaid princesses are so engrossed in their own appearances th
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Buddy read with my beautiful, and most favorite person in the world, Z

This book was beautiful. It was such a refreshing read, and such an incredibly written book. Drown is the author's, Esther Dalseno's, first novel and I am incredible impressed by her work.

No names, just titles. You have the little mermaid, the Prince, Uncle, the Sea Witch, and among others. Let me tell you something, I hated the Prince. Like completely thought he was a selfish and cruel person. Yet he is the first human the l
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted @ Miranda's Book Blog

"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."

Are you looking for something like you've never read before? Something lyrical, stunning and just downright beautiful? Drown is reminiscent of the tales of old, and it's inspiration was the original The Little Mermaid. No, not Disney's version, but the original Hans Christian Anderson version.

Within the pages of this breathtaki
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mermaid-ya
Though I have never read Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, this book was very true to the original. I felt sad for the little mermaid who sacrificed so much to be with the prince. Though I hoped for a happy ending for the little mermaid, I liked the ending. If you like mermaid books, add this one to your shelf.

"Sometimes what we are searching for does not exist. We may sacrafice for it, even bleed for it, but it was never made to be ours." loc 2054
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I hardly pre-order books, but from the moment I saw a picture of this book on Instagram, I knew I had to read it. I have an intense passion for mermaids and all things sea related. Like many before me and surely after me I love the Little Mermaid. I grew up with the disney movies and since the first moment I fell in love with the gorgeous red haired mermaid. It is true, though, that the real little mermaid tale from Hans C. Andersen was little to do with the Disney animated version. I must ...more
Tegan Wren
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
From the first time I saw the cover, I knew I wanted to read DROWN. The story inside certainly lives up to the haunting, beautiful cover. As a long-time fan of Disney's The Little Mermaid, I was eager to read a grown-up version of the story. Ms. Dalseno's tale did not disappoint. In fact, it delighted me, if you can say that about a story that left me brokenhearted for our protagonist. It's lyricism was dazzling and the story itself was gorgeously done.

I especially loved the use of language in t
Melissa Jacobson
This book was the Mermaid book I have waited my whole life for. As someone who loves mermaids and The Little Mermaid I am frequently dissapointed by the mermaid books that I pick up. Well I can happily say that this book exceeded all expectations. I was immediately in love with the writing and I adore how dark this was and how flawed and unhappy all of the characters were. I also was very happy with the way sex was handled in his book. I am here for ya book finally talking about periods and mast ...more
Divine Anas
Mar 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
The ending was expected. Everything was expected. Well, wouldn't it? seeing that this was just another retelling, but surely I WAS STARTING TO THINK THERE WAS SOME GOLD ENCRUSTED BENEATH THIS. Unfortunately, I was yet to be disappointed again. However, I should commend how Dalseno wrote this one fluently and smoothly making it conducive for one sitting. Overall, it was just an easy read with a digestible plot for those who haven't read the original one (and only watched the Disney version). *sig ...more
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely fell in love with this beautifully written book. Even though I knew the original story, I was still so intrigued throughout and I especially loved the backstory of the mer-people. I'm so happy I decided to read it! ...more
Ivan Ouedraogo
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Best adult retelling of The Little Mermaid I've ever read. Extremely well written in a very mature style that still retains the element of macabre fairytale, that surrounds the original story. Very detailed and heartbreaking at the same time... An amazing book! ...more
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Okay this book took me totally by surprise. I originally heard about this book from my sister who absolutely loves mermaids. When 3 Little Bird Books put out a request for bloggers to review this book, I knew I had to jump on the chance. I mean look at that synopsis, and that COVER! Let me just start by saying this is not your cute Disney version of The Little Mermaid. I have never read the original tale but I do know how it ends, but with Esther's retelling I couldn't be sure exactly where she ...more
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Esther Dalseno was born in Australia. After living in both Portland, Oregon and Sydney, New South Wales, she headed off to see the world.

Writing and teaching, she has lived in Laos, Vietnam and South Korea and has traveled the world extensively. She now lives in with her family in Berlin.

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“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.” 20 likes
“However, she was not a rational woman, and she did not reconsider.” 5 likes
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