The Princess in Black and the Mermaid Princess: 04/05/22
The Princess in Black and the Mermaid Princess by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, and LeUyen Pham (Illustrations) is the ninth book in the Princess in the Black series. It's a follow up of sorts to The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation (2016).
The Princess in Black, the Goat Avenger, and the Princess in Blankets are on a cruise looking for sea monsters and mermaids. Before they find any monsters, they meet a mermaid princess who has a problem with krakens and sponge abusers.
While this book is in its way a sequel to the fourth book, I am reminded of a much older book, The Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum (1911). Both involve human travelers being invited under the sea to a mermaid kingdom where they are treated as honored quests, are given the grand tour, and ultimately help the leader.
For the Mermaid Princess, she has two problems. The first is in the form of the kraken who escape through a rift in sea floor. Like their land-based cousins, they have a taste for goats (or in this case, capricorns). Her second problem is one in self assertion. She's been raised to be nice above all even when she should be speaking up to defend herself or her subjects.
For those hoping to see the sea monster again, there's a coda. Like The Princess in Black and the Giant Problem (2020), this volume subverts some of the monster tropes established earlier in the series. This monster isn't a threat. Here there's the suggestion that monsters could be welcomed members of society if they don't destroy things willy-nilly nor go after goats without permission.