Ripples & Waves: A Queer Retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid

By: L.A. Witt
Narrated by: Michael Ferraiuolo
Length: 6 hrs and 31 mins
Categories: Romance, Fantasy
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Colin Everroad should be dead, but after his lobster boat founders during a violent storm off the Maine coast, he wakes up on a beach. He’s cold, but unscathed...with strange memories of a face he can’t conjure and a voice he doesn’t recognize.

No one can explain it, but a friend suggests Colin was saved by one of the mer. Except the mer don’t exist. Do they? But…that face. That voice. Someone was in the water with him. Someone saved him. If not a mer, then who? And whoever it was, Colin wants to see his face.

Lir broke protocol by rescuing a land person, but he couldn’t just let the man drown. When he disobediently resurfaces to see his beautiful land man, he knows it’s only a matter of time before he’s forbidden to leave the depths again.

One clandestine visit turns into more. Soon, Colin and Lir are meeting at the shore as often as possible, and the connection between them deepens. The only problem is that neither can live in the other’s world. Or can they?

Then Lir finds a way for them to be together, but only for a little while...and at a cost. As time grows short, they have to choose: does Lir return to the sea and never see Colin again or stay forever with the man he loves in a world that will never love them?

Ripples & Waves is a modern, queer retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s "The Little Mermaid".

©2019 L.A. Witt (P)2019 L.A. Witt

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DNF

One of the first audiobooks I ever really loved was written by L.A. Witt, and I still listen to it occasionally as a relatively drama-free comfort read. Unfortunately, although her writing style is consistently wonderful, I've never really been able to get into anything else I've heard by her, and believe me, I've tried.

I should have been warned off by the odious (to me) word "queer" in the title of this, which is similar the coloring of a poison dart frog (or, more appropriately to this book's theme, certain species of dangerous sea slug) in that it flashes a warning that there is danger about. I'm as liberal as the next person, and as gay as the day is long, but I have no patience for "queer" politics and a strong general distaste for the word itself. But I love merfolk and the original Hans Christian Anderson story, so I thought I'd give this book a shot.

Sure enough, although the human main character describes himself as gay, two of the first characters we meet have a discussion about what to call non-binary merfolk (groan) and it sort of goes downhill from there. There's this weird love of self-flagellation that infests certain political outlooks and it's fully on display here. Everything about the human world is awful and everything about the merfolk is wonderful. It gets tedious fast. Lir takes every opportunity to be shocked at the horrific world of the "land men" (a phrase we hear far too often) and Colin pines after the pansexual, socialist paradise of the merfolk (which, incongruously, seems to be governed by an absolute monarchy which is, erm, an interesting choice for a utopia, though we're assured that they're "nothing like the Kings and Queens" of the land people, barf). Everyone in Colin's world, except his lesbian boss, is snobby and homophobic and horrible. It's a pessimistic view of the world I'm glad I don't hold, and it makes for frustrating reading/listening. To be honest, if humanity were as homophobic as they are in this novel, Witt wouldn't have much of an audience.

I've heard Michael Ferraiuolo narrate other novels, and if nothing else he's a consistent narrator. There's something about his voice that feels unnatural to me, as though he's delivering a newscast instead of telling a story, but it's still pleasant. I was less happy with his accents, including the merfolk (who have voices reminiscent of the faux-British Hollywood actresses from the 50's) and a truly irritating Boston accent for some of the locals, though I'm undecided about whether that's a fault of Ferraiuolo or if he's just good at doing an obnoxious accent.

Anyway after the umpteenth discussion of merfolk politics, I stopped listening.

6 people found this helpful

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Merman

What a great retelling of a classic. As always Michael Ferraiuolo did an awesome job with the narration. Well worth your time, your credit and maybe even a few tears.... HEA

1 person found this helpful

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So good

I loved this book. I thought it was a cute take on the Little Mermaid. I was very happy with the ending. It definitely made me tear up some. Hot sexy times and low angst. Listen to this. LA Witt + Michael Ferraiuolo = eargasms.

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So good

This is the way The Little Mermaid should have always been. It’s so good! I want to just blurt out everything I love about this story but I’m not going to give away any spoilers. I love how all the changes done to the story seem to just make more sense. And, omg, I cried so hard. I don’t think and audiobook has ever made cry this hard. The narrator conveys the pain and heartache with his voice and it’s amazing. Recommend this book 10 out of 10, will listen again.

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  • Ev
  • 12-26-19

Yes!

I very much enjoyed the story and narration. Way better than the little mermaid 🧜‍♀️. I would like to hear more about the world created here.