Book Reviews

Lauren A. R. Masterson

Love of the Sea


Review by Elijah Abarabanel

Lauren A.R. Masterson’s Love of the Sea is a young adult, fantasy, romance novel about Asrei, the headstrong, exiled crimson-haired mermaid-princess of Sulu, who is determined to retake her kingdom and Cormack, the reluctant crown-prince of Paradine. Cormack possesses a profound love and curiosity for the world beneath the waves, a love and curiosity that his father and temperamental cousin, Peter, worry takes precedence over his princely position. Cormack has turned away every princess that his father has brought before him, but when he finds Asrei washed ashore, he is immediately enchanted. As he falls in love with her, he begins to wonder whether he is more loyal to his kingdom or his heart’s desires.

A blatant rejection of the tropes that Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid established, Masterson (a.k.a Little Alice) takes her corresponding characters, Asrei as the little mermaid and Cormack as the prince, and effectively turns them on their heads. No longer is the mermaid a lovesick maiden of the sea; she’s a conniving woman willing to do anything to get what she wants. No longer is the Little Mermaid the one who must consider giving up everything to be with their beloved, this burden now falls upon the prince. The sea-hag is no longer a temptress or a devil to bargain with.

It’s in this aspect of role reversal that Love of the Sea finds success.

The medieval setting is handled well by comparison, perhaps being one of its best features besides its main characters: rich in detail but never excessive. If Masterson introduces history, it always has a reason to exist­­­, other than adding a pointless backdrop. Pieces of folklore that are discussed early in the book will appear sporadically and in ways that are always relevant to the plot at hand. It’s well handled.

Love of the Sea seeks to subvert tropes of fairy-tale romances. For readers who enjoy a nice twist on a classic fairy tale will surely find some joy in this novel.


Publisher Info:
Published by Ink Smith Publishing on June 7, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-947578-12-8
261 pages


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