This is such a good read! I adore fairytale retellings, mostly because you have a pretty good idea of where the story will go, so it’s like seeing an old friend in a new dress. Arms of the Ocean went one better. The authors, Jamie Webster and M. Dalto, undertook to retell and ADD to the selkie mythology. I thought this book was going to be fairytale romance… Instead I got Fairytale/Romance/Politics/Found Family/Happiness!
Mind you, to get to that glimmer of happiness, Tris has to undergo some absolutely horrific things. This book ascribes to the Classic Grimms style of storytelling. Here’s the trigger warning: there is alcohol abuse, physical abuse, rape, betrayal, descriptions of sexual situations and legal execution, as well as realistic portrayals of PTSD and the aftereffects of abuse.
The basic story is that Tris’s father, enraged by Tris’s love of the sea has signed her over in a marriage contract to the local Lord, Fiero. Fiero is controlling and cruel, and plans for Tris to live inland, which she cannot abide. She chooses to kill herself in the ocean, but meets Imri, a selkie prince and is taken to the fabled city of Inara. There Tris is confronted by the truth of her parents’ pasts and her attraction to the prince, who is promised to another. Then they are betrayed; and it will take a hidden friend, teamwork and trust for Tris to find her way home.
Tris is a fantastic character, with a feisty personality and quick-witted tongue that keep her from being a doormat, but just enough flaws to make her likeable. She is given a second chance at life, at happiness, if she chooses to embrace it. Imri is not a perfect prince, but a man who is torn between being promised to his dearest friend and loving a stranger, between risking himself and caring for his entire kingdom. There are other characters, whose stories are tied to Tris and Imri, and who I dearly hope to see in yet more books!