Walking on Knives
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.

Walking on Knives Details

TitleWalking on Knives
Author
Formatebook
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 26th, 2017
PublisherLess Than Three Press
Rating
GenreFantasy, Glbt, Retellings, Mythology, Mermaids

Walking on Knives Review

  • Pin
    June 24, 2017
    This novelette (11,500 words) is an interesting approach to Andersen's well known fairy tale about the little mermaid and her romantic sacrifice. The story is both cruel and beautiful, just like the original one. The author is nicely poetic with words, but unfortunately also often confusing, which reduced my enjoyment of the story. The author apparently wanted to stay close to storytelling in the old fashioned way, but for that reason the story lost in its clarity. Regardless of that, it held my This novelette (11,500 words) is an interesting approach to Andersen's well known fairy tale about the little mermaid and her romantic sacrifice. The story is both cruel and beautiful, just like the original one. The author is nicely poetic with words, but unfortunately also often confusing, which reduced my enjoyment of the story. The author apparently wanted to stay close to storytelling in the old fashioned way, but for that reason the story lost in its clarity. Regardless of that, it held my attention and mostly met my expectations. I would gladly read any future stories by the author.3.25 starsJune 24, 2017*ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley*
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  • Silvia ⚓
    June 11, 2017
    I received an ARC via netgalley but all opinions are my own.(book #3 in my pride month challenge)Um. I'm not sure what to think of this short book. In some ways I recognize it was beautiful and the writing is very unique and...not necessarily lyrical, but not very linear either. While that's something I like sometimes, I didn't particularly love it here. We just didn't click, and that was my main issue with it.The plot is basically your little mermaid retelling with a FF romance, but it's honest I received an ARC via netgalley but all opinions are my own.(book #3 in my pride month challenge)Um. I'm not sure what to think of this short book. In some ways I recognize it was beautiful and the writing is very unique and...not necessarily lyrical, but not very linear either. While that's something I like sometimes, I didn't particularly love it here. We just didn't click, and that was my main issue with it.The plot is basically your little mermaid retelling with a FF romance, but it's honestly one of the weirdest types of romance dynamics I've ever read. Which is actually good, but I was so confused at times that I'm not even sure exactly what I read. Was it instalove (at least from one side)? I think so, but I wouldn't bet on it because it's entirely possible I missed something while reading (I won't judge you if you think that's my own fault and not the author's).There were also some things I didn't entirely appreciate like religion being suddenly thrown in there en passant without it actually affecting the plot or the character development *shrugs* I don't really know where that came from. Basically the whole book left me confused af if you can't​ tell. 3 stars because I know this is a case of "it's not you, it's me" but more like 2,5 Nah you know what, I thought about it and I need to round it down.
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  • Lexxi Kitty
    June 12, 2017
    *I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Less Than Three Press in exchange for an honest review.*I actually read this a short time ago, I think on the 9th of June. But had been putting off marking the read since the story itself won't be out until the end of July. A review will appear here closer to June 26th (month before publication).(view spoiler)[This story here, like another recently read short story released through Less than Three Press, is a Fairy Tale Retelling. The Little Me *I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Less Than Three Press in exchange for an honest review.*I actually read this a short time ago, I think on the 9th of June. But had been putting off marking the read since the story itself won't be out until the end of July. A review will appear here closer to June 26th (month before publication).(view spoiler)[This story here, like another recently read short story released through Less than Three Press, is a Fairy Tale Retelling. The Little Mermaid was originally written and released April 7 1837 by Hans Christian Andersen. Based on what I recall of the story, I'd have assumed that it was by the Brothers Grimm, considering it's bloody nature, though maybe all fairy tales are deeply and graphically bloody and violent. I know less of Andersen's stories, though. Though I have read a few non-Grimm Fairy Tales, and while the Beauty and the Beast story is deeply misogynistic (the good pretty girl is destined, and happy for it!, to be bound to a whiny violent ugly brat (really, read the original story some time, that original story beast could give some of the modern day 'alphaholes' a run for their money in being a bastard asshole)) but, other than threatening it, wasn't deeply graphically bloody.Right, sorry, got distracted there. The original tale and the retelling is remarkably similar - though there is an addition of a sister for the Sea Witch in this story here. She takes on some of the role that had originally been given to others in the original story (with the addition of lesbianism). Looking at the original story, this story, and the Disney film - this story here is much closer to the original story (both the original and this one promise death to the mermaid if she fails in her quest; the film promised servitude to the sea witch). An interesting and super quick story. Satisfying. (hide spoiler)]Rating: 3.75June 12 2017
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  • Xan West
    July 26, 2017
    The writing in Walking on Knives feels very fairy tale-like. It’s much more plot driven than character driven, and quite haunting, in many ways. (As is the original it draws from, which is much more full of despair and rage than the Disney film.) There is some very evocative imagery. It feels as if it’s told from far away, which suits the genre. This is emphasized by the fact that characters do not have names, just roles that are used to refer to them. There is an f/f romance at the center of th The writing in Walking on Knives feels very fairy tale-like. It’s much more plot driven than character driven, and quite haunting, in many ways. (As is the original it draws from, which is much more full of despair and rage than the Disney film.) There is some very evocative imagery. It feels as if it’s told from far away, which suits the genre. This is emphasized by the fact that characters do not have names, just roles that are used to refer to them. There is an f/f romance at the center of the story. It is presented as such, but I did not believe in it. This may partly be a function of how distant the narrative is from the characters. I did not get why the mermaid would want to be with her love interest, especially given the way this person treats her. I was not rooting for them to be together. I am troubled by what this re-interpretation of the original story does in two core areas: representation of sex work and a disability cure narrative. The story begins with the bargain between the sea witch and the little mermaid not just being for her voice, but also for sex. This particular narrative choice frames the entirety of the story in ways that I am deeply troubled by. At the center, this now feels like a sex work morality tale. (The original does not.) Doing sex work ruins your life, makes you unhappy, places obstacles between lovers, means your love interest will treat you like dirt and the rest of your sex life will pretty much be thwarted. On top of this, the actual sex work scene depicted in the story takes place after the mermaid has given up her voice, and is told in a way that evokes sexual assault; the consent is technically there, but the way it’s told feels like it’s both physically painful and feels awful to the mermaid. Which reads to me like a story that presents sex work as inherently sexual assault (a common anti sex work framework). Then we come to a scene where the mermaid is attempting to discern why the love interest is helping her, and again there is a sex work type bargain for a kiss, along with being treated very badly. In this scene, the mermaid remembers how terrible it felt to do sex work the first time, in a way that feels very loaded. The sex work drives so much of the story, and it’s all presented as negative in a very simple classic way, one that evokes common anti sex work narratives. I found this aspect of the retelling quite harmful. The story also feels like a disability cure narrative to me, particularly around the pain referenced in the title. The mermaid has intense pain while walking, and then is offered something to magically stop the pain, by her love interest. This is a deeply fraught aspect of the story, especially as it then becomes a place of cruelty, bargain, and misunderstanding between the lovers. This is not an incidental cure, but one that drives the plot. I liked that it was not without consequences and strings, as that is often true about cures. But it felt too easy, the way the mermaid handled the aspects of it that were about pain and cure. As a reader who experiences pain from walking and has that as a regular part of my everyday life, it didn’t feel like this depiction of it held that experience around cure in a deep or complex way, but instead used it as a plot device, which I found troubling. I gather from comments the author has made that the magical cure shoes were the spark for the story; I really wish that this had gotten more attention in the story and were depicted with more complexity and nuance. I think this is partly a pacing issue and a length issue; the shoes appear so early in the story and much of the story felt like it was rushing along; it doesn’t linger the way Andersen’s original does. (I would have liked more lingering in general, to be truthful.)In the original story the little mermaid has desire and agency and makes active choices and we get to see that and experience it, even as her choices lead to awful things. In this retelling, we don’t really get to see her agency as much, or her desire. We spend much more time on the way others make choices and try to manipulate her, make choices on her behalf. I missed that, missed connecting with the mermaid, missed seeing her take action. There is some action at the very end, but we just see so much reaction for much of the story that the action gets a bit lost. One of the most powerful things about the original Andersen story is the build-up of her yearning and desire. I would have loved to see that here, especially as this is a queer retelling and that feels like such a queer aspect of the original story. Trigger Warnings: (view spoiler)[ The story begins with a depiction of dubious consent/ sexual assault/sex work framed as sexual assault. (It depends on your interpretation; the publisher website refers to it as dubcon, I’ve seen reviews call it rape, I read it as sex work framed as sexual assault). Sexual coercion. Bad sex that nobody wants to be having described in detail. Relationship with love interest has elements of coercion and stalking. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Romie
    July 20, 2017
    Seriously, what did I just read?I'm super confused.First I didn't know it would be so short - my bad - and I truly think it would have been a much more better story if it had been a novel. This story had a lot of potential, but because it was only a novelette, it felt rushed.It pains me to say so, but the story made no sense. The way it was written made everything a thousand time more confusing. I kinda liked the ending, but that's all.Thank you Netgalley for providing me an e-arc in exchange fo Seriously, what did I just read?I'm super confused.First I didn't know it would be so short - my bad - and I truly think it would have been a much more better story if it had been a novel. This story had a lot of potential, but because it was only a novelette, it felt rushed.It pains me to say so, but the story made no sense. The way it was written made everything a thousand time more confusing. I kinda liked the ending, but that's all.Thank you Netgalley for providing me an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Shadowdenizen
    June 28, 2017
    06-28-17: thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this! As an fairy-tale afficicianado, I always look forward to new versions/revamps/reimagingings or twists on classic fairy-tales. Very much looking forward to digging into this!!Post-Read; Once I started this, I just couldn't stop reading. The lyrical prose is absolutely haunting in it's obliqueness, and this book just buzzes with unrequited longing on all fronts. More importantly, like the source material, it illustrates both blinding beauty and un 06-28-17: thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this! As an fairy-tale afficicianado, I always look forward to new versions/revamps/reimagingings or twists on classic fairy-tales. Very much looking forward to digging into this!!Post-Read; Once I started this, I just couldn't stop reading. The lyrical prose is absolutely haunting in it's obliqueness, and this book just buzzes with unrequited longing on all fronts. More importantly, like the source material, it illustrates both blinding beauty and unrelenting cruelty in equal doses.While I would have liked something a bit longer to allow a bit more fleshing out of some the characters/themes, I was nonetheless quite satisfied with this title overall, ande would recommend not only this title to any fan of fantasy/fairy-tales, I'd also certainly read more titles from this author.An unreserved 4 stars for this haunting title.
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  • Nikki
    July 11, 2017
    3.5 StarsReview to come.
  • Ceillie
    July 18, 2017
    TW: rape, warned for before story starts, as well as questionably consensual sex near the end.This novella was interesting. It is a f/f twist on the little mermaid, with two sea witches, which was neat. There was some great writing shown, but I think this story suffered because of how short it was.One thing that bothered me was the way sex and physical touch was used as a bargaining piece in this novel, without any other option or discussion of the bargain. I really wish it had been explored mor TW: rape, warned for before story starts, as well as questionably consensual sex near the end.This novella was interesting. It is a f/f twist on the little mermaid, with two sea witches, which was neat. There was some great writing shown, but I think this story suffered because of how short it was.One thing that bothered me was the way sex and physical touch was used as a bargaining piece in this novel, without any other option or discussion of the bargain. I really wish it had been explored more than the passing conversation that happened with the sea witch’s sister.
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  • Katie
    June 24, 2017
    Probably more like a 2.5*I requested this from netgalley not realising it was a novelette (I thought it was novella length or a short novel) so this is a case of me expecting something very different than I got. I felt it was really too short to develop the tale or the characters adequately. The third person narration and refusal to name the characters beyond mere titles like 'the sea witch' or 'the little mermaid' which was intended to give it a fairytale feel only made me feel detached from th Probably more like a 2.5*I requested this from netgalley not realising it was a novelette (I thought it was novella length or a short novel) so this is a case of me expecting something very different than I got. I felt it was really too short to develop the tale or the characters adequately. The third person narration and refusal to name the characters beyond mere titles like 'the sea witch' or 'the little mermaid' which was intended to give it a fairytale feel only made me feel detached from the characters. This had potential but ended up being so rushed that it was confusing at times and was overall quite disappointing.A free e-copy of this book was provided me through netgalley for review.
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  • Avery
    June 19, 2017
    See more of my reviews on my blog the Book DeviantI would like to thank the people at Less Than Three Press for allowing me to have an ARC of this book via NetGalley.When you open up Walking on Knives on Goodreads, you might notice that at the bottom of the summary, it says: "Walking on Knives contains some explicit content and a scene with dubious sexual consent." What may catch your interest there, if you're like me, is the last part. "Dubious sexual consent". And, again, if you're like me, yo See more of my reviews on my blog the Book DeviantI would like to thank the people at Less Than Three Press for allowing me to have an ARC of this book via NetGalley.When you open up Walking on Knives on Goodreads, you might notice that at the bottom of the summary, it says: "Walking on Knives contains some explicit content and a scene with dubious sexual consent." What may catch your interest there, if you're like me, is the last part. "Dubious sexual consent". And, again, if you're like me, you might think "Well, there's really no such thing as "dubious consent". It's either rape or sex. Consent, or no consent. This isn't a "yes, no, maybe," situation."So, it goes without saying that Walking on Knives has a rape scene. As a warning, it's literally how the novella opens up. It's thrown at your face, with no introduction or explanation. It's there, it's happening. It's worded a little confusingly, but it's stated just right to let you know that, yes, the little mermaid gets raped in this retelling.In addition to that, there was also another sex scene that really, truly, can and will be harmful to readers. Neither party wants to have sex, and one cries during the scene. This scene made me very uncomfortable, especially how it ends up morally ruining one character. Both the opening rape scene, as well as this scene, were mostly brushed off as normal events that happened in the story. In fact, this story might even be considered as having a happy ending, despite the ruination of multiple characters lives and morale, just because the little mermaid gets what she wants.Chhabra's writing was also very simplistic, and, to be frank, immature, and in need of great work. I personally find it very hard to connect with characters when they are never named, and all of the characters went by titles or descriptors. The little mermaid, the strange woman, the sea-witch, the prince, the princess, the king, etc. Chhabra attempted to give Walking on Knives a sense of being a folktale with giving no names, but ultimately failed as I saw no reason to continue reading, if only to write this review.two stars - Overall?While I enjoyed the premise and some parts of Walking on Knives, I was extremely put off by some of the scenes. One I didn't mention was where the love interest asked for a kiss as a payment for a gift. Walking on Knives had the potential to be something beautiful and queer, but was ultimately ruined by Chhabra's choices.Would I Recommend?I feel as if some may enjoy this more than I have, but there was a reason most of my review included commentary on the "dubious consent" scenes. Trigger warning for rape/sexual assault, sexual content, and possessive love interest.
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  • Cam (abookeater)
    July 20, 2017
    A copy was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest reviewI wanted to love this a lot more than I actually did. It started out strong but the story got a bit mixed up in the middle and it was all around difficult for me to feel attached to any of the characters. I did enjoy that it was a retelling of the Little Mermaid with an f/f pairing and the dark side of the story as its focal point.Of course, its a novelette so I couldn't have asked for more but I still wanted A copy was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest reviewI wanted to love this a lot more than I actually did. It started out strong but the story got a bit mixed up in the middle and it was all around difficult for me to feel attached to any of the characters. I did enjoy that it was a retelling of the Little Mermaid with an f/f pairing and the dark side of the story as its focal point.Of course, its a novelette so I couldn't have asked for more but I still wanted to know more; especially the backstory behind the sea witch and her sister. I felt like there was a lot missing that we didn't get to explore which is a bummer.I did enjoy the ending though, even if it was bit confusing.
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  • Sinead (Huntress of Diverse Books)
    July 26, 2017
    Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts!I received an ARC of Walking on Knives through NetGalley. I chose to request this book because the little mermaid is one of my favourite fairytales and I loved the addition of the witch’s sister.This book is #ownvoices for bisexual representation.__I want to start this review by saying that there was a rape scene in this book, so if this is a problem for you, please don’t continue reading, as I will be discussing this.This book Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts!I received an ARC of Walking on Knives through NetGalley. I chose to request this book because the little mermaid is one of my favourite fairytales and I loved the addition of the witch’s sister.This book is #ownvoices for bisexual representation.__I want to start this review by saying that there was a rape scene in this book, so if this is a problem for you, please don’t continue reading, as I will be discussing this.This book starts with a rape scene, and I believe this is what the blurb states as “a scene with dubious sexual consent”. It wasn’t dubious in my opinion, it was rape, not dubious sexual consent at all, and it really shocked me. I found it very graphic and I was totally not prepared for this. We don’t find out if The Little Mermaid knew that she had to have sex with the witch as part of her bargain or if this was forced on her. We also don’t find out if she could have offered a different payment and opted out of sex, if it was part of the bargain. I also felt like this scene wasn’t tackled properly after it happened and was kind of swept under a rug.There is also a scene where the love interest asks for a kiss as payment for something that she has already given to the main character. She is also angry when the little mermaid doesn’t oblige. This really got to me and again made me quite upset. After this secene the love interest does mention that she was wrong in asking for a kiss, but she doesn’t apologise to The Little Mermaid. Because of this scene and the fact that the love interest doesn’t apologise nor is she aware that she did something wrong, I couldn’t root for this relationship.There is also another scene where sex happens but both of the partners are quite upset while having sex, which I then see as not being consensual. One of the people even cries before they start having sex. It was very difficult to read through that too.We don’t receive answers to quite a few questions. What does the little mermaid love about the sea witch, and vice versa? Why does the sea witch decide to bargain with her sister? What happened to her slippers at the end (I feel like I missed something here)? Why is the prince portrayed as an evil person for not returning the love he gets? It’s a very tell, not show book and I think it wasn’t the right choice in this story.The story ought to have been a lot longer, so that the reader understands the reasoning behind the rape scenes, as I felt like these really were not talked about properly after they happened. If there had been more chapters, we would also have got more details about other events in the story, understood more of the story and witnessed the development of the different characters.__I wanted to enjoy this book but it wasn’t my book at all. I can’t recommend it.Trigger warning: rape, lack of consent.
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  • Logan
    July 25, 2017
    *I received an ARC of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own*This was unfortunately disappointing. Maybe if it had been a longer story, I would've enjoyed it more, but as it was I didn't like it. The writing was pretty at times and I liked the style. I also have to say that the cover is absolutely beautiful. I was intrigued by the little mermaid retelling, but I just didn't enjoy how the story was executed. The mermaid "selling her body" for what she w *I received an ARC of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own*This was unfortunately disappointing. Maybe if it had been a longer story, I would've enjoyed it more, but as it was I didn't like it. The writing was pretty at times and I liked the style. I also have to say that the cover is absolutely beautiful. I was intrigued by the little mermaid retelling, but I just didn't enjoy how the story was executed. The mermaid "selling her body" for what she wanted could've been interesting to explore and added a lot to her character and her motives but really it was just there for angst. It also wasn't explained why that was the payment for the sea-witch. The little mermaids motives weren't entirely clear either. She suffered unwanted sex and the feeling of walking on knives for a man she met once? She expressed several times that she loved the ocean. And then, after making one very big mistake with insta-love, she falls in love immediately with someone else?If this story was longer, the darker themes could've been explored and the mermaid's motives could have been fleshed out. Instead, this was just an angstier, PG-13 version of The Little Mermaid.
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  • Louise
    July 14, 2017
    Walking on Knives is a The Little Mermaid retelling which leans more towards the Hans Christian Andersen version but adds in an f/f romance angle. The author chooses not to name any of the characters, and while this does give Walking on Knives that real old-fashioned, fairytale feel, it's also a little distracting. I did really like her writing though and thought it had an almost poetic quality.The story is very short -- only around 11,500 words -- and I think that's its biggest downfall. While Walking on Knives is a The Little Mermaid retelling which leans more towards the Hans Christian Andersen version but adds in an f/f romance angle. The author chooses not to name any of the characters, and while this does give Walking on Knives that real old-fashioned, fairytale feel, it's also a little distracting. I did really like her writing though and thought it had an almost poetic quality.The story is very short -- only around 11,500 words -- and I think that's its biggest downfall. While I liked the Little Mermaid herself, the other characters were all pretty two-dimensional and could have used a lot more development. Also, because of the length, the plot seems to happen very quickly. this means that the Little Mermaid jumps from madly-in-love with the Prince to ambivalence to madly-in-with the Strange Woman in quick succession. There's a lot of insta-love here. A lot -- the Little Mermaid and the Prince, the Prince and the Princess, the Little Mermaid and the Strange Woman. Warning: There's also an opening scene where the Little Mermaid is raped by Sea Witch which I didn't think was at all necessary, and an awkward dub-con sex scene between the Little Mermaid and the Prince. It's not an awful story, and has some interesting potential (I want to know more about the Little Mermaid and the Stange Woman together. Who is the Strange Woman? Why is the Sea Witch so awful? What happens next?) but both the length and the pacing could do with some work -- and this would probably help the characterisation and plot in turn. It just missed a few opportunities and wasn't particularly memorable.
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  • Krystal
    June 14, 2017
    What an interesting twist on The Little Mermaid! I was unsure what to expect but I am glad I dipped my toes into this imaginative adventure! It meaningfully reflects the deals that we all make.
  • Yaiza
    June 15, 2017
    I found this confusing and upsetting. At no point did I get a feeling that anyone was truly in love. People just decided it without even meeting the other person. It starts with a rape scene and it doesn't get better; there's another one that, although consensual, only takes place to save the life of a character and is traumatic for both of them. I was excited because I've loved some f/f short retellings from Less than three but this made me feel awful.
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  • Jamie Coudeville
    February 26, 2017
    I've been interested in this book since I first heard about it so my expectations were high. Did I like it? Yes. HOWEVER, it was way too short. 32 pages are just not enough. I needed everything to move a bit slower, be more developed. It just felt rushed at times. Despite already knowing how it ends, I would totally read a longer version of this if the writer ever wrote one.
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  • Susan
    July 18, 2017
    A novelette about the Little Mermaid and the Sea Witch's sister, and their tragic, sweet romance.The twist on this classic genuinely surprised me and engaged me. Unfortunately, and maybe it's because of the timelessness of Hans Christian Anderson's original storytelling, I was overall more interested in the changed dynamic between the Mermaid and the Prince. The original premise and build-up for their relationship was retained, so all of the readers' original investment is, too. The scene that a A novelette about the Little Mermaid and the Sea Witch's sister, and their tragic, sweet romance.The twist on this classic genuinely surprised me and engaged me. Unfortunately, and maybe it's because of the timelessness of Hans Christian Anderson's original storytelling, I was overall more interested in the changed dynamic between the Mermaid and the Prince. The original premise and build-up for their relationship was retained, so all of the readers' original investment is, too. The scene that affected me the most was (view spoiler)[wedding and consummation scene between the Prince and the Mermaid. Sacrifices in the name of love, good intentions from both sides but, tragic and deeply uncomfortable. I really felt for both of them. Especially knowing how the original story unfolds (hide spoiler)].I didn't feel much for the strange woman and her romance with the Mermaid, unfortunately. I'm not one of those queer folks who are instantly delighted and won over by any queer couple's existance in fiction. Like ANY romance, you have to work for my investment. The premise of this romance was just infatuation starting from... something undefined? from the strange woman's side, and the reciprocation came in the form of hate and fear turning into love within the space of a scene from the Mermaid's side. Contrasted with the investment readers have with the Prince and the Mermaid - the investment we come into the story with - this new romance didn't hold up as well in such a short narrative. It's definitely something that could have been changed had this been structured like a novel, with more time to explore these new aspects of the retelling get us invested. I didn't really know who the strange woman was. That may be the point, but, it didn't feel effective for building investment, which is crucial for short-form fiction. And, the novelette's ending with these two becoming a couple comes at the cost of misery and moral compromise for several other sympathetic characters. Is that entirely fulfilling? I didn't feel so. But, I will say, the selflessness in her love, trying to make the Mermaid happy above all, was genuinely touching.The prose is very nice. For such a short story, a novelette, the author put effort into her writing. It was evocative, full of some really striking imagery. I love how beautiful, wild and savage it painted the mermaids.That is a downfall too, though. At times it struck me as too consciously beautiful an example of prose - and honestly, as far as over-the-top consciously beautiful prose goes, I've read better. At times it hindered my emotional connections to the story, which is crucial for such a short piece. Sometimes I found attention drifting, the imagery getting too abstract. Many scenes I didn't feel I had complete clarity on what was actually happening.Also, like... why... the rape on page one? It didn't add much at all to the story whatsoever. Never add rape/sexual abuse to a story if you can't follow through the after effects of such trauma, authors.This copy was sent to me in exchange for an honest review by NetGalley
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  • ☘Tara Sheehan☘
    July 6, 2017
    This is more like a long blog post than even a short novel so you could read through it at a stop light although I don’t advocate trying to read in the car unless you’re a passenger. It’s definitely a different approach to the Little Mermaid tale which seems to be making a resurgence in popularity lately. The author didn’t seem to want you to connect to the characters because they were kept very impersonal and one dimensional. I guess they figured you’d transfer your feel good emotions from Disn This is more like a long blog post than even a short novel so you could read through it at a stop light although I don’t advocate trying to read in the car unless you’re a passenger. It’s definitely a different approach to the Little Mermaid tale which seems to be making a resurgence in popularity lately. The author didn’t seem to want you to connect to the characters because they were kept very impersonal and one dimensional. I guess they figured you’d transfer your feel good emotions from Disney onto this so why should they go through that extra work to make you like theirs on its own merits?The author captured that same sense of beauty and tragedy found in Anderson’s story but unlike the original Chhabra’s writing style was hard to follow or even like on a gut level. When I finished I just felt very confused and completely unsure of what I had just read; like I was missing some central tenet that would make the romance understandable. I’m even having trouble writing the review just because I feel like I spent my time staring at a page of words in a foreign language which I’m expected to translate for the world at large but can’t even translate for myself.I’ve never used the word ‘hate’ in a review, far as I can remember at least, but I hated – no I ABHORED – how sex was portrayed in this story. It opens up with a rape scene, the little mermaid, that beautiful, voice like an angel, flowing hair, whose best friends with Flounder cause you know that’s the image you have in your head when you start this, gets raped. WTF?! How is that necessary AT ALL to this story? Especially in 2017 with how women are already degraded globally why was it necessary to do this? Unfortunately that’s not the only scene that’s going to leave you thinking the author has some serious hang ups about sex and needs to work them out on their own time and not by degrading a beloved Disney icon – yes I know she was Anderson’s first but really it’s Disney’s we all think about first.Thank you for putting this image in my head so now I can’t watch The Little Mermaid the same way ever again with my daughters.
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  • Leslie Shaip
    June 20, 2017
    Full Disclosure: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for sharing my honest review. Said honest review is what follows.“Walking on Knives”, a re imagining of The Little Mermaid, is a short story, clocking in at just under 12,000 words (about 30 pages). In Chhabra’s retelling, the sea witch has a sister, who is never given a name but becomes infatuated with the mermaid and intervenes in an attempt to save her from becoming sea foam when the prince decides to marry another.I may not be tot Full Disclosure: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for sharing my honest review. Said honest review is what follows.“Walking on Knives”, a re imagining of The Little Mermaid, is a short story, clocking in at just under 12,000 words (about 30 pages). In Chhabra’s retelling, the sea witch has a sister, who is never given a name but becomes infatuated with the mermaid and intervenes in an attempt to save her from becoming sea foam when the prince decides to marry another.I may not be totally objective here, because I absolutely love anything to do with mermaids and sea folklore. So keeping that in mind, I’d recommend this short story. I definitely enjoyed it, but I’m not going to lie, I would have enjoyed it a lot more had it been longer. I feel like thirty pages isn’t enough for rich characterization and the exposition such a dramatic story deserves. However, I think Chhabra did a good job with the characters as far as she goes, and I kind of liked that none of the characters had names, only titles, even though I might have gotten a little confused once or twice when trying to figure out the switching observational point-of-views. I found myself rooting for the sea witch’s sister and disliking the sea witch as much as I love-hate Ursula in the Disney version, and I was disappointed to come to the end so quickly.If you’ve got a half hour to forty-five minutes, and you like re-tellings of classic folklore, give it a whirl. One sitting is more than enough, and it’s a nice break in between longer works. If, like me, you are sad to see it end, might I suggest The Mermaid’s Daughter by Ann Claycomb? It’s about the little mermaid’s family and the curse that continues down through her line. It would make a good follow up, and also has lady loves.
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  • C. Erani Kole
    July 23, 2017
    *voluntarily and honestly reviewed the ARC I received from NetGalley*As an avid reader, I was a bit turned off by how short and choppy all the scenes were, but when I saw that the author did poetry, I took another look at the story in a different light, and could see it being a weird combo of story-telling and poetry. A few things were personally off to me, though. If it was going to be poetic, with beautiful lines and detail, it often broke that and took on the tone of a narrator, so it was lik *voluntarily and honestly reviewed the ARC I received from NetGalley*As an avid reader, I was a bit turned off by how short and choppy all the scenes were, but when I saw that the author did poetry, I took another look at the story in a different light, and could see it being a weird combo of story-telling and poetry. A few things were personally off to me, though. If it was going to be poetic, with beautiful lines and detail, it often broke that and took on the tone of a narrator, so it was like two different things happening. Had it been consistent, I think I would've caught on earlier just what was going on with the style. But since it's also part story-telling, I really didn't like that it was called a retelling of a classic fairy tale (and my favorite one) when only the ending was retold. Yes, technically it starts from when the prince sees her on shore, but those were all brief descriptions that lead to the end, where it then took on more details and more care. It might as well had only been the ending, since I didn't even remember the beginning until writing this review.There was no lead to the story, and I feel like the book relied on the classic's reputation to do the build up for it. I did, however, think the idea was interesting. The romance wasn't sold to me between the sea-witch's sister and the mermaid, it instead felt like I was just supposed to believe what I was being told. I wasn't persuaded. That, with what everyone did, left an odd sensation in my chest, and that negative feeling with everything else are the reasons for my rating.
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  • Lea (drumsofautumn)
    July 10, 2017
    2.5 stars. I really appreciated the idea for this retelling, I just don't think the length of a novelette was enough to really bring the story across.I thought the writing was a little wonky in places. It was hard to know who you were following a lot of the time and in general I had to go back and reread some passages because I felt like it was hard to understand what was going on.While I was really looking forward to the f/f romance part of this story, this really fell flat for me. There's just 2.5 stars. I really appreciated the idea for this retelling, I just don't think the length of a novelette was enough to really bring the story across.I thought the writing was a little wonky in places. It was hard to know who you were following a lot of the time and in general I had to go back and reread some passages because I felt like it was hard to understand what was going on.While I was really looking forward to the f/f romance part of this story, this really fell flat for me. There's just not enough time to really establish a relationship between the two characters. I couldn't have cared less about them ending up together or not. Feelings are seemingly there from one second to the other. This aspect is where I really feel the story could improve so much if this was a little bit longer. I'm really sad about it because I think there was a lot of potential in it. Especially because I feel like the relationship between The Little Mermaid and The Prince was better established than the f/f relationship. I felt for the confusing feelings these two had for each other and actually found their development way more interesting.Overall it was an enjoyable reading experience for me. I'd recommend it if you're super into The Little Mermaid retellings but you shouldn't expect much f/f romance going into it.Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an early review copy!
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  • Hélène Beauvois
    July 24, 2017
    Like most of the reviews, I found the story short. Too short. Though I really liked the prose most of the time, I didn't find myself as drawn to the characters as I would have liked, mainly because they didn't get the developpment they deserved. I don't necessarily mind Insta-love, but here it was just a succession of Insta-love between the three couples (Mermaid-Prince, Prince-Princess, Mermaid-Witch). The most developped one was the Prince and the mermaid, which is why this one didn't bother m Like most of the reviews, I found the story short. Too short. Though I really liked the prose most of the time, I didn't find myself as drawn to the characters as I would have liked, mainly because they didn't get the developpment they deserved. I don't necessarily mind Insta-love, but here it was just a succession of Insta-love between the three couples (Mermaid-Prince, Prince-Princess, Mermaid-Witch). The most developped one was the Prince and the mermaid, which is why this one didn't bother me much, and the Prince-Princess one was told in a way that made it believable (common interests and easy banter that quickly unfold into a romance), so I felt disappointed that the only romance that didn't feel as genuine was well... the main f/f romance.Overall though, the writing and pacing were quite enjoyable, though this novelette would really benefit from being extended. Also, am I the only one that's absolutely confused by the ending? What does the Witch gift the Mermaid to make her so happy? I have to admit that frustrated me quite a lot, especially since I mainly liked the story otherwise.PS : TW for rape and dub-con. If the dub-con scene makes sense, I don't really think the rape one on the first page was needed.
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  • Anna
    June 26, 2017
    This book was provided by the publisher via Net galley.TW: RapeI loved the premise of this story, but unfortunately it didn't live up to my expectations. I like how the original story was twisted into something new. The different magical elements introduced were interesting and I'm always up for LGBT+ versions of old tales. However, the execution wasn't great.First of all, this story opens up with a rape scene. The circumstances are subtle and not clear at first, but there is obviously a lack o This book was provided by the publisher via Net galley.TW: RapeI loved the premise of this story, but unfortunately it didn't live up to my expectations. I like how the original story was twisted into something new. The different magical elements introduced were interesting and I'm always up for LGBT+ versions of old tales. However, the execution wasn't great.First of all, this story opens up with a rape scene. The circumstances are subtle and not clear at first, but there is obviously a lack of consent/desire. There is also another scene where neither party wants to have sex and it's just jarring and awful and feels completely unnecessary to describe. It was already made clear that the circumstances are horrible. Probably due to length of the novella (novellete?), there is just not enough emphasis or exploration on how wrong both these events are. And then the romances in the book feel very empty and not very romantic. It all comes off as stalkerish. While I don't expect a lot of depth in character from a work this short, there's just a lack of anything that would give me a sense of the character's personalities. Descriptions are vague. The characters don't even have names. It made it difficult to care about any of them.There is an important message about love that has substance, but it gets lost in everything else. It ultimately feels like a story with a lot of potential, but it doesn't live up to how good the premise is.
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  • Stephanie
    July 4, 2017
    Full review also on my blog at http://wickedjr89sbookblog.blogspot.c...Actual rating: 2This is a little mermaid retelling with an F/F romance, but honestly it's one of the strangest romance dynamics i've ever read. I was confused through-out the book, with everything going very fast and not being developed as well as the constant changing of POV with no indication as to who it was. Also no one was named beyond "the little mermaid" and "the sea witch", and i'm not really sure why. It starts off w Full review also on my blog at http://wickedjr89sbookblog.blogspot.c...Actual rating: 2This is a little mermaid retelling with an F/F romance, but honestly it's one of the strangest romance dynamics i've ever read. I was confused through-out the book, with everything going very fast and not being developed as well as the constant changing of POV with no indication as to who it was. Also no one was named beyond "the little mermaid" and "the sea witch", and i'm not really sure why. It starts off with a rape (not between the F/F romance). Yes the little mermaid gets raped. The sex scene...no one wanted (between the prince and the little mermaid). One of them cries and it was just very uncomfortable to read. The story could be considered to have a happy ending even though a couple characters lives and morale are ruined in order to give the little mermaid what she wants, and the F/F couple....can't touch each other. I just found it over all..odd, confusing, uncomfortable and I couldn't connect with any of the characters with them not being named and how fast it was going.Really sorry this wasn't for me.
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  • charlotte
    June 11, 2017
    Galley provided by publisherThe main problem with this was that it was too short. This isn't the kind of story that can be condensed into 25 pages, as was attempted here. There needs to be time to develop the characters and relationships (especially when you're trying to convince readers that a character who is in love with someone, falls in love with someone else), and there just wasn't enough for that here.In addition, the writing felt like it was at times pushing for purple-prose territory an Galley provided by publisherThe main problem with this was that it was too short. This isn't the kind of story that can be condensed into 25 pages, as was attempted here. There needs to be time to develop the characters and relationships (especially when you're trying to convince readers that a character who is in love with someone, falls in love with someone else), and there just wasn't enough for that here.In addition, the writing felt like it was at times pushing for purple-prose territory and failing, but failing in such a way that it wasn't particularly easy to read or compelling. The novella also opens with a rape scene, which felt totally unnecessary. All it was was a plot device to make it so that the little mermaid fears, or is at least wary of, the sea witch's sister because she shares a resemblance. There are much better ways to have that come about, and honestly it was not a scene I wanted to be reading at all, let alone as the opening scene in the novella.
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  • G
    June 24, 2017
    ***I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.com, in exchange for an honest review.***TWs: rape, sexual assault, and one instance of disturbing consensual sex.(view spoiler)[I loved the POV shifting, but from not naming the characters to everything moving very fast, I was confused half the time. Though the premise is of a FF little mermaid retelling, I was not rooting for the strange woman and the little mermaid to get together at all. Anything that starts with that much disgust rubs me ***I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.com, in exchange for an honest review.***TWs: rape, sexual assault, and one instance of disturbing consensual sex.(view spoiler)[I loved the POV shifting, but from not naming the characters to everything moving very fast, I was confused half the time. Though the premise is of a FF little mermaid retelling, I was not rooting for the strange woman and the little mermaid to get together at all. Anything that starts with that much disgust rubs me the wrong way, and when the little mermaid professed love for the strange woman I cringed.I actually did like the prince, which made the sex scene between him and the little mermaid so disturbing. He cries? It ruins him morally? There's a whole lot of moral corruption going on though, which I'm frankly more than okay with usually, but the way it was written seemed to read as normal/acceptable within the world and that just made me uncomfortable. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Silvana [The Book Voyagers]
    June 14, 2017
    After reading Walking on Knives, I found myself very confused. Especially the ending, it literally just ended and I was like "whaaaat why aren't there more pages." It is a very short story so I definitely felt that everything was happening too fast and made me very confused by that, also by the change of POVs, at one point I didn't know who was talking or who were we looking out from.Either way, if you are looking for a F/F little mermaid retelling, definitely check this out. It's a story that s After reading Walking on Knives, I found myself very confused. Especially the ending, it literally just ended and I was like "whaaaat why aren't there more pages." It is a very short story so I definitely felt that everything was happening too fast and made me very confused by that, also by the change of POVs, at one point I didn't know who was talking or who were we looking out from.Either way, if you are looking for a F/F little mermaid retelling, definitely check this out. It's a story that starts from when the little mermaid does the bargain for her legs with the sea witch. (view spoiler)[ also beware because I think the sea witch rapes the little mermaid, but it's so weird that I don't know if it happened. (hide spoiler)] Then everything develops from there. We also get the sea witch's sister, who is the one who has loved the little mermaid for so long and wants happiness for her.I won't say more, I don't want to spoil, so read it!
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  • Mirabel-chan
    June 26, 2017
    ARC provided via NetGalleyWalking on Knives had the potential to be a great story. A queer retelling of Little Mermaid where she falls in love with the Witch sounds amazing, but sadly, it didn’t live up to its promise and left me feeling upset. The writing is vague and confusing, with constantly switching povs, which only added to the confusion. It didn’t help that the character voices didn’t differ at all, so it was difficult to tell who is speaking most of the time. There was also a problem wi ARC provided via NetGalleyWalking on Knives had the potential to be a great story. A queer retelling of Little Mermaid where she falls in love with the Witch sounds amazing, but sadly, it didn’t live up to its promise and left me feeling upset. The writing is vague and confusing, with constantly switching povs, which only added to the confusion. It didn’t help that the character voices didn’t differ at all, so it was difficult to tell who is speaking most of the time. There was also a problem with the names. Characters have descriptive name, such as the Prince, the Princess, or the Strange Woman. It wouldn’t be a problem if they were used consistently, but they weren’t.Read the rest of my review here
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  • Devann
    June 11, 2017
    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewI liked this story but I feel like it would have been better if it was a bit longer just to flesh out the relationship development a little bit more. I liked the style this was written in, there were a lot of short almost poetic scenes that kind of fit together to make the larger story. Generally I don't like that style of storytelling but I feel like it worked for this because it's a short story and it's a good w I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewI liked this story but I feel like it would have been better if it was a bit longer just to flesh out the relationship development a little bit more. I liked the style this was written in, there were a lot of short almost poetic scenes that kind of fit together to make the larger story. Generally I don't like that style of storytelling but I feel like it worked for this because it's a short story and it's a good way to fit a lot of action into a little bit of page space and also gave it more of an ethereal fairytale feel. My main problem is that I don't think the relationship between the Little Mermaid and the sea witch's sister was fleshed out enough. I mean sure the witch was nice to her and helped her out but it seemed like one second she was still head over heels for the prince then two seconds later it's all 'it's you who I really love'. Definitely a fun short read though.
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