Eelgrass by Tori Curtis

norcani's review against another edition

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I feel like this either should have been longer and focused more on the sirens or left the sirens off completely (even though I loved them) because they ultimately didn't do all that much that someone else couldn't have done. Especially Afrit, I'm not sure why she even was there. In general the plotlines felt..very disjointed. I think it'd be better if it just focused on the search for Bettan.

SpoilerEfa saying that "children are always a good thing" and that "bettan will turn around" about bettan being pregnant by her (basically) rapist was gross and I don't know where it came from it seemed out of character. Ninka did ask whether Bettan thinks so too but she didn't seem that bothered by it and it was just left there and the book ended a few sentences after. It was really annoying.

I love Ninka she deserves a book that focuses more on her. Considering how the siren plotline ended ("ended") I'm hoping there might be a sequel in the plans.

Also, this is the third lesbian mermaid(or otherwise sea creature) book I read this year and I gave all of them three stars. I think overall I did like this one more than the others despite all.

kdbooks55's review against another edition

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This was a sweet story. A selkie gets her sealskin stolen and her friend goes after her. Along the way she meats a siren who she starts falling for. I just wish they'd kissed more haha

mythicaltrilogy's review against another edition

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This book was November's Sapphic Book Club read hosted by @sapphicliterature

Overall I really enjoyed reading Eelgrass! I found the writing style easy to read and the story kept me interested. I think the book was an interesting look at rape culture and patriarchy set in a fantasy world to make a point. So while everyone but Efa's indifference to Bettan's disappearance was frustrating, I think it was a good reflection on some real-world situations that women face. I found Efa's struggle to get people to take her concerns seriously very relatable. And that made the climax all the more satisfying!

I also appreciated that Efa never once lost sight of her care for Bettan, even among the drama with the sirens and her budding feelings for Ninka. It was nice to see her trying to balance her care for both girls, and not wanting to compromise her ideals for her love interest.

Spoiler I found the ending of the book to fall a bit flat, sadly, but I think I've heard other people saying there are plans for a sequel? If so I'm excited to see the resolution to some of the problems presented. If not, I think the book would have greatly benefitted from being a bit longer, since leaving on a note of Bettan being miserable and pregnant with her abuser's child and Ninka and Efa's relationship still on an unsure foot isn't the tone I had been hoping for the end.

xmerzx's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


nocturneaeros's review against another edition

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The story is very interesting and the characters are compelling.
I also enjoyed how detailed the lives of the selkies, the sirens and the humans were and the complex relationships between characters.
The quiet violence selkie wives face and how both selkie and human society see and react to it was chilling and hit really close to home. It worked really well as a metaphor for violence against women.

My only complaint is that the end is very abrupt.


I was not expecting a simple happy ending given the rest of the story, but I wish we had the opportunity to see Bettan once she has healed a bit more and had been given a more certain conclusion to Efa and Ninka's romance.
That both Efa's quest and her relationship seems to have ended with the best outcome possible and yet everything feels heavy and dull made me really uncomfortable...

phifalling's review against another edition

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This book was November's Sapphic Book Club read by @sapphicliterature. This is now one of my favorite books. The characters are just the right combination of flawed and likable to make them extremely compelling. The worldbuilding is interesting, and while it's a deeply flawed society, the book tends towards the hopeful and determines "we can and will do better than this" rather than the grimdark "the good have no future" that some authors write. Overall it's a realistically optomistic and beautiful novel.

panichistory's review

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A great first novel and a lovely take on selkies and mermaids!

qace90's review

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DNF @ 14%

I’m done, I can’t take it anymore.

This book keeps feeing like it’s excusing the stealing of Bettan’s sealskin as natural and normal, and saying she’ll be happy once she has babies and whatnot. I am not even remotely comfortable with these themes or messages. I haven’t even gotten past the first chapter, and this is the whole of the message I’ve been getting!!

I was really excited for this because I really like the idea of sirens and selkies and the mythology associated with both, but I never even saw the sirens and the attitude and culture of the selkies is making me hella squeamish. I much preferred - and recommend!! - SEVEN TEARS AT HIGH TIDE by CB Lee for a selkie story. It’s m/m with bi MC and I have a lot of feelings for it. Much more heartwarming and positive story than this one has been shaping up to be...

bluejayreads's review against another edition

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I wasn’t honestly super excited about this book, but I got a free ebook copy through the Sapphic Book Club and had it on my phone so I could read it in waiting rooms and stuff. And overall, I was underwhelmed.

Let’s start with one of the two major positives in the book: Efa. She wasn’t one of the kick-ass leader-type characters that I usually like to read about, but I liked her because I related to her. Like her, I’m usually the quiet sidekick to a more energetic, boisterous, sociable friend; like her, I get overwhelmed and my emotions get mixed up when I need to do something important but don’t know how to go about it. She was one of the most relatable characters I’ve read in a while, to be honest.

Now, probably the biggest negative in the book: the romance. It fell flat for me. Part of this is because Ninka doesn’t have a lot of personality. It’s heavily emphasized that she does what she wants when she wants … and that’s about it. Which was disappointing, because I think with some development she could have been an awesome character.

Another reason the romance fell flat was there wasn’t a lot of feeling about it from Efa. I understand most of her emotional bandwidth was taken up by worry about Bettan, but there was next to nothing about romantic feelings towards Ninka. And the romance-hinting moments were few and far between (and they mostly consisted of Ninka kissing Efa and that’s it). So any time the romance angle came up it fell flat. Which was really disappointing, because this sort of opposites-attract romance between a fiercely independent fishwife and a restrained selkie homebody could have been amazing.

Which brings me to the other major positive thing in the book: the mythology. I’ve never read (or honestly heard of) a book about selkies before, and the fishwives were a cool take on siren/mermaid myths. I loved the idea of there being selkie villages that lived near human towns and selkies and humans interacted normally, and I liked how tight-knit the selkie community was and how it adapted to the people being sometimes seal and sometimes human. I wish you learned more of the community aspect with the fishwives.

The biggest problem with this book was that it needed more. It was too short. There wasn’t enough time to develop Efa’s feelings for Ninka, there wasn’t enough time to develop Ninka as a character or the fishwives as a species and a community – even though Efa spends about a month in the deep sea with Ninka, it’s glossed over in a handful of pages and not used to develop their relationship. The plot of rescuing Bettan was done really well, but the book wasn’t nearly long enough to cover the other subplots it tried to include.

Eelgrass was disappointing. I wanted to like it. I loved the concept. There just wasn’t enough of it to be as great as it could have been.

steakhusband's review against another edition

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Eelgrass was provided for free as the Sapphic Book Club's book of the month for November. You can check out the book club here!

I love just about everything about this book. The writing was lovely and evocative and made me feel like I was reading this by the sea (even though it’s autumn and cold and I’m in the Midwest). Curtis knows how to balance the emotional scenes with the more humorous ones, and I never felt bored while reading.

Efa’s friendship with Bettan is central to the story, and even when they were apart, it was never pushed to the side. I really appreciated that, since in some books, friendships get dropped in the name of romantic relationships. In Eelgrass, Efa is allowed to have strong friendships alongside her blossoming romantic relationship, and it’s refreshing to see. I also really enjoyed Efa’s character development, and her more active role at the end of the novel was very satisfying.

The only part of the book that I didn’t really enjoy was the ending. It wasn’t a bad ending; it was happy, which I enjoy in books, especially in books with gay relationships. It just seemed abrupt to me and left me wanting some more closure.

I really enjoyed reading Eelgrass, and I look forward to reading more from this author.