We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: MM Paranormal
I haven't read any mer-shifter books previously, so I was excited to try this one. I really liked the first half or so, and while I didn't dislike the second half, it fizzled out a little bit for me.
The first half consists of us meeting Taren briefly as young slave boy, then as young slave man, then as the companion and lover to Pirate captain Ryder and Ryder's boyfriend Bastian. I don't usually read menage books, but I was perfectly fine with this. Both the reader and the characters understood that this was temporary and while they cared for each other, there weren't deeper feelings involved.
Things got a little murky, however, when the "true" love interest was introduced. All of a sudden we're thrust into a political war between two factions of mer-people, and are left just as unaware and ignorant as Taren. Ian constantly talks about the pull he feels towards Taren, and they have moments together, but then he keeps pushing him away in favor of his "duties" and I'm not particularly enamored towards him. I don't dislike Ian, I just don't feel the connection between them besides them both saying that they feel an inexplicable connection.
Another component that was a little odd was Ian's mention of his "animal" as a separate entity and the strong focus early on regarding his need to "dominate" Taren. This made it seem as if D/s was a strong component of all mer relationships and ingrained in who they are as a people, but then it kinda got dropped. If this wasn't going to be a D/s book, then I don't see why it needed to be mentioned at all.
This is a series, and therefor there is a strong overarching plot that carries over between books. For that reason I won't call this a cliffhanger. Our heroes are safe and together, but there are hoards of unanswered questions both from us and from Taren. I think "I'll tell you later" was one of Ian's favorite sentences, and very infrequently did he ever deliver. We ended with more questions than when we began with.
All that being said, I enjoyed this, I simply think the second half could have delivered a little better. With regards to the audio version, it was fine. I have no complaints whatsoever, but I also don't have anything standout to say. If you like audiobooks and you're interested in reading this, then that's a good option. I'll continue on with the series, but we better get a lot of explaining in book 2!