Review: The Merman’s Kiss

March 10, 2017

The Merman's Kiss by Tamsin Ley

The Merman’s Kiss by Tamsin Ley
Series: Mates for Monsters #1
Rating: ★☆☆☆

Even Monsters Need a Mate

After the death of her child, Brianna seeks to end her life within the ocean’s final embrace. Instead, she falls into the arms of a sexy, sleek-tailed monster. He’s wild, seductive, and sets her blood on fire every time he touches her, and soon she begins to need him for more than his magic to breathe underwater. He might just give her a new reason to live.

Zantu has evaded the mate-bond for thirty-five years, dodging promiscuous mermaids with vile intents. Unlike mermaids, mermen bond for life, and Zantu refuses to accept the heartbreak most mermen die of. That is, until the glint of gold catches his eye, and a simple salvage mission turns to passion. Now he’s bonded to a human, and begins to wonder if bonding to the right mate might not be so bad. The problem? A finless female won’t live long among the dangers of the sea.

Now Zantu must choose between keeping her at his side, and keeping her safe. Either way, he’s sure he’ll end up with a broken heart.

Content Warning: Explicit love scenes, dangerous mermaids, and sexy merman secrets. Guaranteed HEA with no cliffhangers. Intended for mature audiences.

Let’s be real for a minute here. I’ve read more monster-porn than I care to admit. Usually I’m quite masochistic about it. I still shudder every time I think of the T-Rex or Bigfoot erotica that I’ve read. This book isn’t quite at that level, but I felt the need to bring it up because it does say the series title is Mates for Monsters. I kind of expected something along those lines.

I’m glad that’s not what I got. Truthfully, my main goal in requesting this was because I developed this burning desire to know how mermaids (and mermen) have sex. I did get that answer, by the way, which I’ll get into later. I started not expecting much, and in some ways The Merman’s Kiss exceeded my expectations. Unfortunately, it didn’t exceed them quite as much as I could have hoped.

The Merman’s Kiss did some things incredibly well. The oceanic atmosphere was tangible. I really enjoyed the differences between the mer-people culture and our own. The initial trauma that Brianna was suffering was believable, and reminiscent of the reactions and experiences of more than a few people I’ve known in similar situations (Trigger warning: Brianna miscarries and suffers from infertility prior to the book’s beginning).

There were quite a few more things that didn’t work so well for me. I think it’ll be easier on me, and you, if I just bullet them out:

  1. Brianna opens chapter 1 by trying to drown herself in the ocean. Within seconds (let’s be honest about how long it’s likely she can hold her breath), she is gulping air, and then kissing a merman….and that moves straight to sex. AFTER trying to KILL HERSELF BECAUSE SHE’S SO DISTRAUGHT OVER HER MISCARRIAGE. Strike one. I don’t buy it. I don’t care what the exigent circumstances are.
  2. Mermen (and -maids) don’t have scales on their lower extremity.  Zantu thinks (at Brianna – because of course they have a telepathic mate-bond) that “[s]cales are for fish.” Um. You have a DORSAL FIN, dude. You have a tail-fin. You’re not a fish?? Or at least fish-like? Okay, then.
  3. Mermaids are bitches. Seriously, they want to have sex with and seduce every male they see (against their will even). *sigh* I was really excited about the prospect of reading a society where women were promiscuous and men were the family-orientated party in the dynamic. What I really wanted was it done well though. Why do women being promiscuous have to be VILLAINS? Why must they be EVIL? Why can’t they just be? The more interactions we had with these slutty (and that’s how they’re looked up, not my opinion), evil women, the more infuriated I got. Strike two.
  4. Brianna’s issues revolved around her fertility. The mermen were the children’s caretakers. You had to know that a baby was going to come into this. I hate this. Not that she had a baby, because I wish everyone who has fertility problems, and wants children, would be able to without struggle. I hate it because it’s all problem solved about it. No more worries about the baby she lost, because, hey, she’s got a new life inside her. Ugh. Strike three.*

Those are my big issues with it, and I think it’s more than enough.

Oh! And if you, too, are wondering how mermaids and mermen have sex, well, I’ll tell you – at least how The Merman’s Kiss describes it. Mermen have a codpiece like covering, or pouch, that hides their genitals. When they get aroused, it opens and they can have sex with their very human-like penis and testicles. Mermaids, by the same token, have a skin covering of some sort that covers their vaginal “slit.” Practical, actually, but not quite the inventive explanation I was hoping for. It was the subject of a couple of thoughts how Brianna could actually wrap her legs around Zantu….or how he could enter her from behind. Oh lord.

I did really enjoy the fact that the female mermaids apparently color-coordinated – purple hair, fins, and nipples. 😀

Overall? The Merman’s Kiss wasn’t awful, it just didn’t give me anything really new, interesting, or life-changing. The sex was fairly bland, surprisingly, and the story was expected.


*Disclaimer: I’m fairly sensitive to this because my wife went through YEARS of infertility and miscarriages, and I know exactly how much this (years and years later) still affects her.


1 Comment

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    March 11, 2017

    Super happy I passed on reading this. Between the handling of grief and suicide and the girl-hate, I think I would have raged. Also, if they don’t have scales, WHY DOES THE COVER MODEL??? And I’m so sorry to W. for her struggles with infertility. We don’t talk about it enough, as a society. About the trauma and the grief. And we really should, because of how common it is. So many of my family members and friends have had miscarriages.