The little mermaid has no idea that as she makes her way on land, she’s being watched over by the sister of the very witch with whom she made her bargain.
She has no idea that the witch’s sister is falling in love with her.
When the prince decides to marry another woman, the little mermaid’s secret helper offers her a chance to live.
But the price may be too high…
Walking on Knives contains some explicit content and a scene with dubious sexual consent.
Genre: Fantasy Retellings
Title: Walking on Knives
Author: Maya Chhabra
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
You need to know a few things about this. The explicit content is biting, groping, the mention of breasts and a finger scratching a certain itch. If you’ve read legit explicit content like me, know that this is rather tame compared to the things you’ve seen in detail. It’s actually quite beautiful with its sorta tameness. The dubious consent is a confused particular struggling to choose between one they love and one they owe, hence the dubious. It’s a weird combo of story-telling and poetry, and I believe that if you see that in a different light, the reading experience will be different for you. It’s something I wish I’d known when going through the pages, because I was mildly turned off by the short, choppy scenes that jumped from one character to the next. But nothing was worse than expecting a beautiful retelling, only to get the last bits of the classical story told with a different twist, and one that didn’t sit well with me, to boot.
It’s beautiful writing. Chhabra has a way with her beautiful words and fantastical detail, I’ll give them that, but I have to take everything else into account because while I may have loved the writing style, I still experienced other things: the meat of the story, the characters and their actions, the feeling I was left after finishing.
I didn’t like what happened with the story. It technically retold the whole thing, but it might as well have just retold the classic tale’s ending, with how fast everything else was glazed over, but I don’t even get the famous bittersweet sacrifice, so it left me with even more unease. I didn’t like or understand the new ending, and if anything, it left me a little depressed with how some important characters were reformed.
Had this retelling been consistent with its story-telling/poetry style, I think I’d have appreciated it more. I also wish the story had been flushed out more. This honestly felt like I was reading someone else’s preferred ending of The Little Mermaid, like the book was relying on the classic’s reputation to build the story up for itself. There was no deep build up, no lead to the twist. I’m a little disappointed. Still, I can’t forget the beautiful words, nor will I think I’ll ever get over the gorgeous cover, so I’ll probably still check out some of the author’s other work.