The book opens with Jonah in the middle of a horrific aerial battle; he is outnumbered and loosing ground. It is a spectacular scene with swords and axes clashing, Jonah is a battled honed warrior however through an unfortunate miscalculation a Dark One severs one of his wings. Jonah plummets to earth like a meteor hitting the sea.
It is here readers are introduced to Anna a gentle tiny mermaid who is swept into the current caused by Jonah’s crash into the ocean. Raised to be fearful of the strength and mythological power of angels Anna is initially hesitant to investigate the whereabouts of Jonah but after finding his severed wing she summons the courage to seek out the badly wounded angel. With the Dark Ones in pursuit and at great physical risk Anna manages to save Jonah by secluding them in a deep underwater cave.
Here is an example of Joey Hill’s wonderful descriptive prose. Anna and Jonah are inside the cave, they have made love, she is sleeping and he is studying her features:
“Her features were so fine, small. He put his finger up beside the line of her nose, just to judge, and it seemed the tip of his finger would almost cap it. Her lips were a tiny bow, and despite himself, he imagined what it would be like to stretch them…”
Anna is essentially a pariah amongst the merpeople because of her parental heritage and extraordinary gifts. She is a demure delicate creature who is wise and courageous beyond her young age of 20, she has shapeshifting abilities and is very magical. She is however, very lonely having been devoid of another’s touch most of her short life. Unlike many current books concerning shapeshifters, as a reader I wouldn’t categorize this book as a "paranormal" story. This is a sensual, magical, romantic fantasy about two beings, one a warrior from the heavens and the other oceanic by nature, although Anna can assume human form. She also has other remarkable abilities that will surprise and thrill you if you choose to read this story.
Through a magical joining with Anna, Jonah’s wing is partially healed, however he has suffered a soul deep loss and has no desire to return to his command or call for help, which is well within his limitless power. In fact, he has no desire to even leave the seclusion of the cave.
Anna seeks the help of Mina the sea witch and a creature who possesses magical healing abilities and power. Mina is a curmudgeonly creature who battles internal demons as she is half Dark One and half mermaid. Jonah instinctively mistrusts her. However, with Anna’s urging he allows Mina to examine his injured wing that fails to heal as it should. Mina casts an interesting spell on Jonah explaining to Anna that she alone must take him far inland to a human healer.
So with Dark Ones close and chasing Jonah, and Anna on a ticking clock as she can only stay in human form and away from the ocean for a specified period of time, they embark on a perilous journey of discovery and love. The love scenes in this book are sensual and I will say involve a sharing of magic that adds to their experience. Jonah isn’t always gentle with Anna and because of it feels contrite, but their relationship evolves resulting in a touching tenderness between them.
I could not help but think of ‘Lady Lyssa’ from “The Vampire Queen’s Servant”, when I read Jonah’s character in this book. After millennia of loss and fighting the Dark Ones for a human population that Jonah is not sure is worth saving, he is literally spent and so lonely. However, Anna becomes the one beacon of laughter and hope in what otherwise seems an endless existence that Jonah is ready to abandon.
Anna becomes besotted with Jonah and is willing to do whatever it takes, including sacrificing herself to help him past his grief and hopelessness so his soul and body will heal and he can return to what he was created to do.
The angels in this world are either created by the deity or are ‘made’, meaning they were once human with a pure soul. David, a lieutenant in the army is a younger “made” angel, and is completely devoted to Jonah who has taught and nurtured him from the time he was made. Through Mina, David tracks Jonah and he along with Lucifer implore him to return to his command to prepare for an onslaught of great evil and too heal. Jonah will not acquiesce to their wishes. Lucifer fascinated me, he is not the evil “fallen angel” of myth, but in Joey’s world, he is the black winged guardian of Hell and a force to be reckoned with. When Lucifer and Jonah meet, there is a clash of wills and power that shakes the earth. I hope we see more of Luc in subsequent novels of the series.
I think the word “ethereal” is bandied about a great deal in literature to describe characters, too much sometimes. However, ethereal is the most appropriate way to describe Anna and Jonah, and their love story is extraordinary. I could go on and on about this book, but I don’t want to say more than I should and spoil it for others who choose to read it. I laughed, I held my breath and wept while reading “A Mermaid’s Kiss”, and I think if you choose to read it, you will too.
Joey has built an extraordinary world as the foundation for these beings and I cannot wait to see the stories evolve.