Title: Stealing the Wind [Mermen of Ea: Book One]
Author: Shira Anthony
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Taren Laxley & Ian Dunaidh
Sub-Genre: Fantasy, mermen
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.
Taren is pretty content as his life as a slave. As an apprentice to the man who bought him from his parents, he is treated fairly, has enough to eat, a roof over his head, and is being taught not only a valuable trade but also to read.
All this is upset when debt collectors stop by one morning. Exchanged for the debt owed, he finds himself in a barracks with other slaves and treated with neglect until he has his first sexual encounter (partially coerced).
Taren comes across as an older teenager for most of the book, maybe eighteen-ish, and as such, he really just reacts to circumstances as they happen, which includes becoming a bedmate to the pirate when the opportunity arises. Ian, an older man, is completely different in that he chooses his actions carefully (or tries to, at least). Even so, Ian finds himself being driven by fate and the Goddess.
I don’t want to say too much, as this story is more of a lead up to the next in the series, but consider it said that Taren has quite the adventure, and both Ian and Taren have a rocky road to walk before they agree to a permanent relationship.
I think my favourite character was Renda. He’s a healer, and yet he pops up at the oddest times. For the rest, I couldn’t really relate to the characters in the book, but I think that’s more my issue than anything to do with the writing. Overall it was an enjoyable read, but I just couldn’t get into it, probably because Taren seemed a bit spineless and despondent, even if it was a realistic portrayal of a character in his position.
I loved the Ea, the creatures they are caught my imagination. But then again, I have always been a water baby.
I would recommend this story for people who love series where every book is about the same main characters and who don’t mind the story wandering a bit. It’s similar in flavour to “Mage of Silence” by Edward Kendrick and G.A. Endless’s “Issla”.
Reviewed By: Alison