Review: The Merman’s Kiss by Tamsin Ley

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Genre(s): Paranormal Romance

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Synopsis:

Even Monsters Need a Mate

After the death of her child, Brianna seeks to end her life within the ocean’s final embrace. Instead, she falls into the arms of a sexy, sleek-tailed monster. He’s wild, seductive, and sets her blood on fire every time he touches her, and soon she begins to need him for more than his magic to breathe underwater. He might just give her a new reason to live.

Zantu has evaded the mate-bond for thirty-five years, dodging promiscuous mermaids with vile intents. Unlike mermaids, mermen bond for life, and Zantu refuses to accept the heartbreak most mermen die of. That is, until the glint of gold catches his eye, and a simple salvage mission turns to passion. Now he’s bonded to a human, and begins to wonder if bonding to the right mate might not be so bad. The problem? A finless female won’t live long among the dangers of the sea.

Now Zantu must choose between keeping her at his side, and keeping her safe. Either way, he’s sure he’ll end up with a broken heart.

Review:

What the bleeding hell did I just read.

I’m gonna be honest here. I requested this because I wanted an answer to the age-old question of how mer-people get down and nasty. The answer (at least in this book) horrified me. Their human-like genitals are concealed in a pouch (or by a slit, if they’re a female) until they’re aroused. There is nothing sexy about a dick pouch. Nothing.

But that’s not even my main issue with the story. My main issue is that there isn’t really a story at all. Ley isn’t a bad writer and parts of the book were decent. I liked the underwater setting, the fish and their quirks, and even the few little bits of deep sea myth we were treated to. But then all that potential is wasted on a plot that made my eyes roll more than once.

Tell me: if you’d just thrown yourself off a bridge because your life was so miserable that you wanted to die, would you then abruptly become a-okay the second you were rescued by a merman? And by abrupt I mean we went from drowning to doing the do in like two seconds flat. And then afterward, Brianna’s just like, “Well, I’m a merman’s mate now. Cool beans” and she brings little to no angst from her former life with her. So there’s no internal conflict, and there’s no relationship conflict between her and Zantu, which left me hoping for some good external conflict.

The good news is that there was external conflict. The bad news is that it was weak and kinda offensive. Mermaids are portrayed as selfish, cruel, and super sexual. Their polygamous nature and inability to stay put and raise a family is one thing. Their outright demonization, however, was completely uncalled for. It makes them flat and predictable antagonists. In my opinion, having stock villains like these mermaids who are just evil because they want to be evil is lazy storytelling. It fits in with the rest of the less-than-stellar characterization, which I’d say is the biggest problem with this book as a whole.

If you’re looking for a quick and raunchy read with decent writing and you’re not fussed about the depth of the story, this would actually be a good call. But it wasn’t for me.

Rating: ★★

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