If you’ve read my reviews of the previous two installments in this series (go on, check them out here and here), you’ll know I’m a great big fan of this author. She’s a consistent author of erotic romance that is both super hot and touchingly romantic, exploring themes of dominance and submission, faith and acceptance. I am loving this Mermaid series more and more with each book. This world of mermaids and angels is not as dark as some of Hill’s other settings, but it, and its inhabitants, are growing increasingly complex. A Mermaid’s Ransom really pushes the envelope with its hero. Those who like their tormented heroes to be truly tormented may like him as much as I did, but I suspect there are some who may not. Why? Read on and find out.
A Mermaid’s Ransom takes place twenty-odd years after the events of A Mermaid’s Kiss and A Witch’s Beauty. Alexis, the daughter of Jonah and Anna, is a grown up Merangel now. That’s right, she’s a Merangel, which means she sprouts wings and a tail at the same time. Seems awkward to me, but hey, what do I know. Anyhoo, Alexis is a happy-go-lucky college student liked by all due to her angelic energy and empathic abilities. Her lovely world is turned inside out when her increasingly dark erotic dreams become all too real. Alexis has been pulled into the realm of the Dark Ones by Dante, half Dark-Spawn, half Vampire.
Dante played a secondary role in A Witch’s Beauty, but he’s changed a lot since that book. He’s now the most powerful thing in the freaky, frightening Dark One realm, and he plans to use Alexis to escape the hell he’s spent his life in. Alexis is frightened, but also incredibly drawn to Dante, and she senses a spark of…something in him. Of course, if he does manage to escape, Alexis’ friends and family are gonna be none too happy with him. Plus, what is a vampire/demon who has spent his life in a hell dimension going to do in our world anyway? Probably not going to fit in.
Dante is a sociopath, plain and simple. It’s not his fault, he has spent his life in a place where the only emotions that exist are fear, rage, lust, and despair, and the only pursuits are showing dominance, causing pain and survival. It is an awful, frightening place, and Dante can be a frightening person. He feels attached to Alexis, very possessive and protective of her, and very attracted. But he has only the tiniest understanding of tender emotions, and he is confused by the things he feels. Dante has also done some whack shit in order to survive and triumph over his lifelong tormentors, the Dark Ones. He’s a mess. A totally freaking hot mess.
Alexis, kind of like her mother Anna, is almost Mary Sue-ish in her complete goodness and sweetness. What saves her from being annoying is her self-awareness (she has always felt that people are drawn to her due to her angelic aura rather than for herself), her sense of humor regarding the weirdness of the Dante situation, and her spine. Despite the fact that she’s afraid and uncertain of what will happen with Dante, Alexis is certain of her connection to him. This gives her the faith to stand up to Dante and her family and try to help him make his way in this world. Their romance is weird, fascinating and super sexy.
The plot is well paced, with moments funny and touching to temper some of the darker aspects. Jonah, Anna, Mina and David make welcome appearances, and help move things along. Hill can wax a bit…new age-y about the whole submission thing and the Goddess and what not, but not for too long. I also felt that the very end of the book, after the intense climax, was a bit of a letdown. But that leads me to my main concern. There is no magical 180 for Dante. He changes and grows throughout the story, but he ain’t no shiny, happy person by the end. He’s got a long way to go. Readers may find it hard to root for him. Me, I loved him, and I hope to see more of how they’re coming along in future books.
This is my favorite of the three books so far, and I’m looking forward to the next. I do recommend reading in order, and reading all three. If you’re looking for a paranormal that’s not run of the mill, give it a try. Complex characters, hot sex and food for thought to be found.
Growing up the daughter of a famous mermaid and the second in command of the angelic legions can put a lot of pressure on a girl. Though she loves her parents, Alexis has chosen to live among humans as an ordinary college girl, but she can’t hide the tranquil aura of angelic light and empathic ability that draws people to her. Unfortunately, while it draws men to her, none of them are willing to cross the line to find her true heart and soul – or even give her a decently passionate kiss. That is, until she begins to dream of a male trapped in fire and rage, who wants her so badly he’ll tear the universe apart to have her. However, while all she can feel is his pain and suffering, and a yearning to heal him, Dante sees her as the way to his freedom. He thinks he’s willing to destroy her to accomplish that, but once he kidnaps her into his world and is confronted with the girl who is the opposite of everything he’s ever known, he starts to wonder if his freedom is as important as keeping her by his side.
Read an excerpt here