Living along the English coast is an idyllic life for Jake, a descendant of the people of Atlantis. He lives with his two mer lovers, Prince Finn and a bodyguard named Kyle. Their home is literally a palatial gift from the gods, equipped with everything the three lovers could need to satisfy their intense cravings for physical intimacy, while providing all the creature comforts a merman could want.
But good things rarely last. Kyle’s work at a local aquarium brings him ever closer to being outed as a supernatural being—something that would be disastrous for him and his lovers, not to mention all the rest of the merpeople. On top of that, Finn is having issues finding solid footing between his two lovers, willing and able to both see and present himself as an equal member of the relationship. Finally, Jake’s Atlantean blood is giving him increased extrasensory powers that take alarming affect—such as making him irresistible to any male in his vicinity and being privy to all thoughts of love, lust, and sex.
As the trio work towards meeting these various challenges, the slumbering gods of a long forgotten pantheon are slowly awakening—and they are hungry for power. When the gods decide to prove their existence by raising the lost city of Atlantis, Jake, Finn, and Kyle are suddenly scrambling to help their mer families escape the hidden depths of the soon-to-be-revealed city…but how can two mermen and one human of Atlantean blood dare to hope to escape this desperate act of the gods unscathed?
This installment of the Mermen and Magic series was my first foray into L.M. Brown’s fantasy world. The most enjoyable part for me was seeing the ever-shifting dynamic between Jake, Finn, and Kyle. Brown focuses a lot of attention on their physical relationship, but does not shy away from exploring the complexities of having a three-way relationship. The biggest issues the trio face are Finn’s feelings of being excluded, Finn’s shame at needing to be spanked to find sexual gratification, and how the antics of a pantheon of gods physically separates the lovers for months on end. While all that sounds exciting, the first two issues are mostly just lip-service. I thought there was a disappointing lack of development concerning the “odd man out” idea. It seemed like Jake and Kyle just promise to do better once Finn’s worries are made public, and they do get better about being more inclusive. Kyle asks to have a plus two for a work party and shows up with both his lovers. The spanking theme only really serves one purpose: as fodder for blackmail later in the book. This, too, was a bit disappointing, since the sentiment is ripe with possibilities to explore the depth of these three men’s relationship. Instead, however, everyone just explains to Finn that it is completely alright to want to be spanked—no muss, no fuss, no drama, and very little discussion about the fact with characters I am supposed to care about.
As much fun as it was to read about these merpeople and their struggles to find a safe place to live while the gods are threatening to raise their sunken city home, the world building left a lot to be desired. The gods in the story are, frankly, annoying nuisances. It seemed like their only purpose was to help or hinder Jake, Finn, and/or Kyle as the author needed. For example, when Finn and Kyle are visiting their merfamilies in Atlantis, one of the gods just pops up to provide them with a way to instantly transport themselves from their home in England to the underwater city of Atlantis. For “gods,” these all powerful characters certainly to pander to the wants and needs of a few horny young men.
While there weren’t many typos or grammatical mistakes, the writing style itself felt rather amateurish. The best example is probably how Kyle works in an aquarium. When his boss asks him to don a fishtail and pretend to be a merman, Kyle is genuine torn…despite the fact that merely being in the water will force Kyle to actually transform into the mythical creature he is (which is bad, because in this world, no one knows merpeople exist). In other words, Kyle is determined to keep his glorified janitorial job at the aquarium despite the imminent risk it poses to his own and his lovers’ basic safety. The near constant reference to events from earlier books also hindered my enjoyment of the story. There are more than a few major events that have happened previously and the characters involved in those events appear rather frequently on-page in this book…but without so much as a synopsis of who the character is or what happened to them in those earlier books, I wasn’t sure if I should feel sympathetic towards them or what.
Without having the benefit of having read the previous titles in this series, I was a little disappointed at how disorganized the book felt. The gods seemed only too convenient for the purposes of the plot. The main characters’ main romantic issues seemed to be resolved as soon as they are mentioned. The biggest conflict was concerning the raising of Atlantis, but once the plot points that tie that concept directly to our menage of lovers are resolved, the magical appearance of a whole damn island in the middle of the ocean is all but vanished from the page. On the whole, I cannot recommend this book as a standalone, but if you’re a fan of the series, I think you’ll enjoy following the adventures of Jake and his lovers along with seeing a few familiar faces from novels past.