The Mermaid Queen by Alane Adams
Series: Book Four of The Witches of Orkney
Number of Pages: 217
Publishing: October 12th, 2021
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Opening Line: "The giant serpent thrashed against the chains binding him."
Abigail and Calla have returned to their second year of witchlings studies at the Tarkana Academy. At first everything appears to be going well, they averted a war, and with Hugo's help they defeated the powerful alchemist Vertulious by returning him to the spell book. However there was no room for celebrations yet, Baba Nana was left being held by a spell that is slowly turning her to ice and Abigail's nemesis, Endera still blames her for her mothers death and will do anything to prevent them from reviving Baba Nana. Then Vor, the goddess of wisdom appeared and informed Abigail that she has been deceived by the Mermaid Queen, Capricorn. Feeling the weight of her decision to trust Capricorn, Abigail began to blame herself for everything that transpired. This heavy weight on Abigail's shoulders became further complicated when Capricorn visits the grounds of the Academy allegedly to return a debt by giving her back the spell book, and also reveals that she has released Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent from his prison cell, planning to use him as a weapon against the island's around Orkney. By threatening to destroy the islands, she intends to force Odin into making her the goddess of the seas over Aegir. Once Abigail hears her plans, she vows to right her mistake and return the serpent to his underwater cell. A task that will require her to locate Odin's chains in order to drag him back into the cell.
The Mermaid Queen is the fourth book in the Witches of Orkney and is the prequel series to the Legends of Orkney. Each book draws inspiration from Norse mythology, and makes mention of Odin, Thor, Loki, and their stories. In her latest book, I was pleasantly surprised to see Ratatosk and the Norns, or three goddesses of Fate make an appearance, and enjoyed how they were incorporated into the plot. Reading each of these stories is comforting for me, returning to familiar characters like Hugo, Abigail and Calla, and a familiar magical world, especially the witches academy. While at the same time going on an exciting adventure, exploring new "baddies," Asgard and this time potions, poison's, mermaids, and plenty of adventure at sea. What initially drew me to this series was how it combined a school for witches, Norse mythology and bits of Harry Potter, and it's what has made me excited about each new book. Plus I adore the black and white illustrations by Jonathan Stroh, gorgeous and perfectly complement the writing. Abigail has gone through a lot in the past three books. She's always sort of teetering with being consumed by dark magic, in the same way that Ginny Weasley was being controlled by Tom Riddle's diary. The spellbook keeps trying to influence her and demonstrate how powerful she can become through each of the spells she performs. Although, I did question the few moments when it felt like she was loosing herself, and willing to put herself in danger by acting spontaneously, I'm so happy her loyalty toward her friends persevered. Oh and that ending, yeah a cliffhanger, but has me so eager to see what is in store for Abigail, Hugo and Calla next.
**A huge thank you to SparkPress for the review copy.**