by Joey W Hill, fantasy (2008)
Berkley, $15.00, ISBN 978-0-425-22380-2
I wish A Mermaid's Kiss isn't an erotic romance. I wish it isn't even a romance, but instead a true blue fantasy story. This otherwise mildly interesting story is bogged down by an uninteresting romance between two flat if recognizable stereotypes.
In this alternate version of Earth, we have angels battling the demons known as the Dark Ones on behalf of the Goddess. Our hero, Jonah, is the Prime Legion Commander, although given that he spends most of this time in this story either being wounded or running around wallowing in angst, I am hard pressed to imagine him in command of an army. Then we also have mermaids, of which our twenty-year old heroine Anna is one. Don't worry about her flippers - she can change into human form when it's time for the rumba.
Think about it - we have a romance here between an ancient angel and a twenty-year old mermaid. He even calls her "little one" and such... and I find that creepy beyond belief.
And that is the problem I have with this story. When Anna rescues Jonah from a Dark One attack shortly after the story begins, she is already infatuated with Jonah to the point that she has absolute blind trust in him. Even when he's being a brute to her, she's going, oh no, he can't be evil, she won't believe that. Seeing an infatuated puppy following a hero and allowing him free access to do anything to her because he's so cute is not what I'd call a compelling romance. Anna is lucky that Jonah doesn't do more to her than to forcefully have sex with her when he's in his mood because she's going to take everything from him lying on her back with her legs splayed wide. Honey, I wish I'm just being crude in a joking manner when I wrote that last sentence.
After Anna has rescued Jonah, he is wounded so Anna does what every heroine would do in such a situation - she allows him to boink her, all in the name of "Joining Magic". We all know a virginal heroine's vagina is the most powerful thing in the entire universe. Shortly after, Jonah finds himself in human form and spends the story wallowing in angst about being overtaken by the dark willies and looking for someone who can drive the emo from his life. Meanwhile, he will boink Anna in the name of Joining Magic or whatever while insisting that he's no good for her and what not. Meanwhile, Anna frets, wondering whether Jonah is using her for sex only (you think?) and then insisting that he can't be evil when he shags her brutally once he gets the dark willies all over. It's like reading about a pathetic self-absorbed jerk and his girlfriend who lets him get away with being a creep because she's so pathetically in love with him that her brain is completely shut down.
The setting is somewhat interesting, but the revelations in the end ruin my mood considerably, as these revelations only serve to drive home the gender stereotypes prevalent in the story. Men are "structures", you see, while women are "feelings". Jonah starts becoming a little more interesting late in the story when he stops being a walking Roger Davis wannabe to Anna's Mimi Marquez, but it's too late by then for him to do anything to salvage matters.
A Mermaid's Tale is billed as a paranormal erotic romance, but alas, it is the erotic romance aspect of this story that doesn't do anything for me.
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