Calder is a merman, a predator who drags humans to their deaths so he can feed off their positive emotions to fill the voice inside every merperson. But this time he and his sisters are not targeting a random human – they have set their sights on John Hancock, a man promised to them by his father and a debt that has long been owed
Of course, even though he’s not finally within their reach, getting him to the water is a different matter entirely, especially since he has listened to his family history and is wary of the lake. It falls on Calder to try and find a way to the man, through his daughter Lily if necessary.
But getting into Lily’s affections isn’t easy, especially as she comes to suspect something is different about Calder and stories of lake monsters abound. And then there’s the trap of his own emotions, caring for his prey even though killing John Hancock would not only be revenge, but his chance at freedom from his sisters.
This novel is primarily about a romance and, I have to say, it didn’t appeal to me at all because it had several tropes I strongly dislike. But I will start with on element that was almost done right. Calder starts by being stalkery in the extreme. He follows Lily around, he tries to charm her, he appears at her house at truly bewildering hours - before anyone is awake (except Lily because that girl never sleeps) and generally is a creepy creepy stalker guy. And Lily is put off because of that – for a while anyway. She doesn’t even let his rescuing her convince her that she must instantly open her heart to the stalker. Yet… she does end up with him so the stalking does pay off, and for the level of stalking her reaction is still a little low. Someone’s hanging around your garden around dawn and regularly camping in your hammock? A little creeped out is a pretty minor response.
Firstly, it rushed in too quick and too soon. It seems that Calder arrives in town, sees Lily and is pretty soon smitten. It’s not love at first sight, but it’s close. And when you think Lily is the daughter of his big bad enemy John Hancock and a tool to getting at him, I don’t really see him being all open and looking for love. Yes, I know it’s a trope in romance and YA, but it still loses me to see people declaring eternal-love-I’ll-totally-betray-my-family-for-you after a brief acquaintance.
But secondly, and mostly, it’s how Lily reacts to him. Not just the reluctance-turns-to-love trope, but how, when she discovers he’s a merman and he finally admits it they have conversations that go a little like this:
Calder: I’m a merman, a dangerous predator
Lily: yay, merman! Let me quote pretentious poetry!
Calder: Actually, we kill people, I’m a murderer.
Lily: But you don’t mean it and we can be happy together. Let me make you happy.
Calder: We. Are. Predators. WE KILL PEOPLE! They are DEAD
Lily: Under the sea, under the sea, darling it’s better down where it’s wetter, take it from me!
What is this, Bella Swan the Rather More Soggy? It’s not just the whole falling in love with a mass murderering monster because he’s so hot and romantic which is such an utter depressing trope in Paranormal romance. No, she doesn’t even pause, it’s like he confessed to a minorly annoying personal habit like jangling his keys or ruining perfectly good pizza with pineapple (don’t argue, that’s just nasty) rather than drowning multiple people so he can suck on their happiness (this? Sounds waaay dirtier than anything that happens in the book).