Taren Laxley has never known anything but life as a slave. When a lusty pirate kidnaps him and holds him prisoner on his ship, Taren embraces the chance to realize his dream of a seagoing life. Not only does the pirate captain offer him freedom in exchange for three years of labor and sexual servitude, but the pleasures Taren finds when he joins the captain and first mate in bed far surpass his greatest fantasies.
Then, during a storm, Taren dives overboard to save another sailor and is lost at sea. He's rescued by Ian Dunaidh, the enigmatic and seemingly ageless captain of a rival ship, the Phantom, and Taren feels an overwhelming attraction to Ian that Ian appears to share. Soon Taren learns a secret that will change his life forever: Ian and his people are Ea, shape-shifting merfolk...and Taren is one of them, too.
Bound to each other by a fierce passion neither can explain or deny, Taren and Ian are soon embroiled in a war and forced to fight for a future - not only for themselves but for all their kind.
©2013 Shira Anthony (P)2015 Dreamspinner Press
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"Started out as if it would be M/M/M PWP..."
Started out as if it would be M/M/M PWP, then morphed into what I was expecting from the (very pretty) cover art as the story progressed.
When I bought this, I was expecting an epic fantasy romance with Mermen (just look at that cover!). I’d never read anything by Shira Anthony, and I was a bit thrown when, during the early chapters, it seemed like the story was heading into slave-fic, menage, territory. Hang on, I thought, wasn't this supposed to be more fantasy and less... erotica? I actually started getting discouraged, but the story changed direction once Taren is separated from Rider and Bastian, and meets Ian. From there it was more what I hoped it would be. Fantasy, romance, and some action.
So, if you were actually looking for M/M/M PWP involving the ship’s captain, quartermaster and their newly acquired slave, then you’ll be disappointed because the the story doesn’t revolve around that relationship even though you do get a few explicit scenes in the beginning.
Overall I liked the characters, their dynamic, and how mermen were portrayed.
This isn’t my first experience with Michael Stellman’s narration, and as expected, I enjoyed the way he read the story. He’s not the kind of narrator who uses a wide range of character voices and lots of flashy stuff, but I totally have a voice-crush on him (is that a thing? Should be a thing). His voice just sounds so pleasant to me. No issues with pace and enunciation, either.
I’ve already gotten the next book in the series.
"It Gets better"
Yes, the story gets better as it goes!
The book starts as overly simplistic m/m fantasy erotica, but by the end it acquires a plot and evolves into a fairly unique & interesting world. Parts of the story are only worth 2 stars & others 5; I settled on 3 because the transitions are clunky & even the best parts are somewhat predictable. However the book is well narrated and has a lot of potential. I'd love to see what the author could do w/ the world they created with the help of a good editor.
"Very rich, complex story, excellent narration"
We start this with Taren being sold to a pirate captain (Rider) by the man who essentially raised him in return for gambling debts.
Taren then falls into a triad relationship with Rider and his current “cabin boy”, Bastien. Rider offers Taren his freedom if he agrees to stay on board for three years. To say Taren is grateful is putting it mildly. The relationship is consensual if you disregard that Taren is Redier’s property and can’t really say no, but Taren does enjoy it and he eventually develops feelings for the other two.
There is a skirmish and Taren is tossed out to sea (after two years with the triad) where he is rescued by Ian, another sea captain, Ian, of a rival ship.
Ian is a merman and it turns out so is Taren. Ian develops feelings for Taren and the two begin a relationship. Taren has to embrace his origins or else he might die so Ian helps him to transform into his alternate form.
When Taren and Ian return to Ian’s homeland, Taren is accused of being a spy and thrown in jail. Ian has to decide if his affection and strange connection to Taren is more important than his trust in the rulers of his land. There is a bit of a twist thrown in as well and we are left with the two essentially in a HFN scenario that leads to book 2.
This is an amazingly rich and dense book. I’m assuming that all the wonderful world building will carry us through the next books in the series and we will see more of the relationship and the mysterious tie between the two of them develop more fully.
I had a hard time seeing Taren with others in an on-page relationship and this keeps me from giving this book 5 of 5 stars. I can appreciate that it’s part of creating his back story and giving us the full impression of his life up until he meets Ian, but I can’t say that I liked it.
We don’t get to see much of Taren and Ian together and happy in this book so I look forward to seeing where the two will go from here.
Shira Anthony writes beautifully and has a gorgeous imagination and I’m looking forward to seeing where she takes us in book 2.
4 of 5 stars
I really like Michael Stellman. He is a very easy narrator to listen to. He doesn’t go over the top in differentiating the voices of all the many characters in this complex story, but you can always tell who is talking. He does a nice job with the new names and definitely adds to the overall experience.
4.5 of 5 stars
"LOVE this triology"
I bought this as an m/m romance - which it is - but that part of the story is so not the most interesting part of the books. The World the author created in this series is amazing and by now, when i read the last book as a kindle (not available in audio yet) i am a solid fan. I kind of felt like when i was a child and read stories like the lion, the witch and the wardrobe and was begging that i would find that World behind closet Doors. If you dont Think much of it after this one - keep reading/listening - it only gets better by the second and third book. The only Reason the overall is not five Stars is that sometimes the story jumps a bit - like a couple of days - with no pause and at first i thought it was the narrator - but when i read the last book i discovered it is the Way the book is written. So narrator does a good job.
what a great book that was looking forward to reading the next 2 books to continue the Saga of Ian and Taryn.
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