The concept of mermaids and other sea creatures coupled with hunky military men sounds like a winning combination, right? But even unique world-building could not make me love this story.
Mermaids are alive and well in coastal Maine and under the sea. The Lonike sisters reside in a coastal town and have blended nicely with the population there, with their tails disappearing upon emergence from the sea. Possessing a sort of magic known as mercraft, Addison Lonike is working as an EMT providing her unique talents for rescues at sea. She’s able to remain submerged for long periods of time without utilizing diving equipment, which comes in handy if there are victims trapped underwater. Raised on the Atlantic seashore by a Mer mother and human father and descended from Mer royalty, Addison and her sisters have attracted the attention of Magaera, the brutal queen of the Mer, placing them in immediate danger.
Magaera has opened a wormhole in the ocean floor allowing her kingdom of Ishaldi to appear once again in this dimensional plane in the midst of the Mediterranean. The United States Navy is understandably concerned about the Mer species who are reputedly not human-friendly. The Navy’s attempts to negotiate with Magaera and her people have been soundly rebuffed, leading Captain Mason McKenzie to contact Addison for her assistance and knowledge of the Mer. Addison agrees to help him, especially since one of her sisters has been abducted by Magaera.
I really appreciated the original premise of the story. The Mer are a fascinating species with their ability to shift into and out of their tails, their mercraft which Addison’s sister uses to heal her injured brother-in-law, and their separate civilization which is advanced in some ways yet primitive in others. I loved that the Mer are very much a warrior race of females, disciplined and tough, showing no fear. With so many paranormals on the market these days that feature human women with supernatural mates who protect them, it’s refreshing that this story offers a role reversal.
As much as I enjoyed and appreciated the world in which the book is set, the romance really did not do anything for me. Mason is blah. Addison is only slightly less meh. The sum of Addison plus Mason is blah and meh with a side order of so-so. Their main conflict stems from Addison being one of the Mer and Mason’s distrust of her species. This is kind of silly since Addison is completely cooperative with the Navy and really just wants to get her sister back home.
Just as Mason begins to trust Addison, a second conflict between the two arises with the introduction of Jovon, a Nyx, a male species of dolphin shifters. Jovon is looking for a mate and finds Addison incredibly appealing. Addison, though, has been raised to believe that humans are the natural mates of the Mer and is stunned at the revelation of a male sea-dwelling creature. She begins to question her future and wonder if she should hook up with Jovon to try to repopulate their species. While Jovon is an interesting creature, his emergence out of the blue and interest in Addison seemed manufactured to create additional tension in the romance. I’m really not keen on love triangles and this one wasn’t even an interesting one. I felt it was clear who Addison’s choice would be.
Siren’s Desire is the conclusion of the author’s Dark Tides trilogy. While the storyline is a continuation from previous novels, it is able to be read as a standalone. For existing fans of the series, I believe the conclusion will be satisfactory as the story threads were tied up nicely. Had the romance been slightly stronger and more emotional I would give this one a more enthusiastic recommendation. As it is, my reaction to the story is lukewarm at best.