The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hill

Florian (actually Flora) is a pirate-in-training, a young girl who must disguise herself as a boy in order to survive working for the ruthless Nameless Captain. She works hard and observes closely in order to keep herself and her foolish older brother Alfie alive and under the Captain’s radar. Evelyn is royalty, a member of the Empire’s ruling class, and utterly hopeless at being a lady. When Florian and Evelyn meet on board the Dove, a pirate ship masquerading as a passenger boat, their destinies become intertwined and they pull everyone around them into their star-crossed orbit, including Rake, the Nameless Captain’s righthand man who is hiding a desperate secret; The Pirate Supreme, the noble king (or queen) of all pirates who is determined to bring the Nameless Captain to justice for all of his crimes against the Sea; and finally, the Sea Herself, a mighty, living entity who holds a stake in the survival of all of the above. Meanwhile, an international war is brewing between the island countries of the Empire that could bring a crushing end to life as Sea’s citizens know it. Easy to read, but hard to explain, this finely wrought fantasy delicately weaves themes of colonialism, gender identity, rebellion and romance into a crackerjack plot full of shadowy intrigue, dubious double crosses and grisly maritime murders. Let the Sea sweep you away to a world you could have never imagined in Maggie Tokuda-Hall‘s brilliant debut novel!

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