ARC Review of The Navigator’s Touch by Julia Ember


The Navigator’s Touch by Julia Ember

Publication Date: September 13, 2018.

Publisher: Duet Books.

Genres: Fantasy and Young Adult.

Purchase here: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice

Synopsis: After invaders destroyed her village, murdered her family, and took her prisoner, shield-maiden Ragna is hungry for revenge. A trained warrior, she is ready to fight for her home, but with only a mermaid and a crew of disloyal mercenaries to aid her, Ragna knows she needs new allies. Guided by the magical maps on her skin, battling storms and mutiny, Ragna sets sail across the Northern Sea.

She petitions the Jarl in Skjordal for aid, but despite Ragna’s rank and fighting ability, the Jarl sees only a young girl, too inexperienced to lead, unworthy of help. To prove herself to the Jarl and win her crew’s respect, Ragna undertakes a dangerous expedition. But when forced to decide between her own freedom and the fate of her crew, what will she sacrifice to save what’s left of her home?

Inspired by Norse mythology and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, this companion novel to The Seafarer’s Kiss is a tale of vengeance, valor, honor, and redemption.


Thank you Duet Books for my ARC of The Navigator’s Touch. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

The Navigator’s Touch is about Ragna, a teenage girl and trained warrior who is hungry for revenge after she was kidnapped, her village destroyed, and family murdered. The story is inspired by Norse mythology which is seen through the involvement of Norse gods, one who has a very specific connection to Ragna and the magical maps displayed all over her skin.

Two years later, Sigrid gave birth to a girl. At first, the child seemed unremarkable. Astrid came into the world screaming, demanding attention and reverence, a small mirror of her mother. But a few days later, curious markings developed on the baby’s pale skin. Lines of latitude stretched across her chest and legs, and, as the days passed, cobalt continents and oceans of cerulean blue appeared.

As someone who grew up in Sweden, the use and influence of the language felt familiar and the new ways to portray the gods intriguing (although there is a lot about Norse mythology I have forgotten about because I learned about it ages ago). However, if you don’t have previous knowledge of the language or Norse mythology, the glossary in the back will delight and help you immensely.

The Navigator’s Touch is the sequel and a companion novel to the novel The Seafarer’s Kiss by the same author and that means you can read one without having read the other. However, if you read The Navigator’s Touch first, it will spoil the events of the first book. Having read both, I have to say that I loved the connection between the two. Ersel, who is the main character in the first book, is still very present in The Navigator’s Touch and the relationship between Ragna and Ersel continues on in this book, with both its ups and downs. However, this book is definitely less about romance and more about Ragna’s journey and what she must do to reach and achieve her endgame. Throughout the story, we see as Ragna evolves, she becomes stronger, a better captain and there is clear character development from start to finish.

The golden mare was nowhere to be seen, but this brave little beast had dragged me away from a fenrir’s jaws. He deserved the position of war mount.
“I’ll call you Vaskr.” I scratched his withers with my hook. The pony was fearless and deserved the name.

Vaskr, the pony, as well as the side characters you get to know throughout the novel really make The Navigator’s Touch amazing. In the beginning, there is clear resistance between Ragna and her crew but as they fight together, it becomes clear that there is also respect and love between them. The bonds they form through the hardships and battles they face, make the reward and the aftermath that much sweeter.

Now, command was starting to fit like a pair of new boots. It still pinched a little, but I was breaking it in, making it mine.

If you love young adult fantasy novels deeply rooted in mythology — in this case, Norse mythology — with a diverse cast of characters, you’ve found your next read in The Navigator’s Touch. This book is about Ragna finding justice for her family and the community she lost and about how she becomes a leader worthy of her own ship and crew. This is a book to keep on your radar and one you won’t regret buying and reading. A detailed list of the trigger and content warnings exist in the back of the book, which specifies in which chapters what content appears which I think will be very helpful for a lot of readers. The warnings can also be found on the publisher’s website. A few of these content warnings include violence and kidnapping.


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