What did we think of The Captive Merman’s Promise by Zoe Castile? Read on and you’ll find out our thoughts, feelings and judgements about this about this paranormal romance novella.
Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This post contains affiliate links. That means we receive a small commission at no cost to you from any purchases you make through these links.
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In order to save the women in her family from a generations-long curse, Amada Palacios thought nothing of using all her bruja magic to take the entirety of the curse within herself. But now the curse is starting to affect her, and Amada’s last hope is the Grand Warlock of the Abyss. But the Shadow Market doesn’t offer an easy solution and everything comes with a price.
Amada sees that firsthand with Rónán, a captive merman who sold his life to the Grand Warlock for a love that didn’t last. Now, Amada and Rónán have a chance to rewrite their futures and finally have the love they’ve both been so desperate to find.
I wished I loved this story more. I thought it was well done for what it was, and there was a lot that I did like about it. But it just seemed to fall a little short for me after reading the first four books in the Peculiar Tastes series. Maybe it’s because The Captive Merman’s Promise is the shortest story in the series, coming in at just over 100 pages, which is 40-70 pages shorter than the other stories I’ve been enjoying from this series. I felt there was plenty more that could have been said or done. Maybe I just didn’t buy into all the characters’ actions. Either way, I ended up liking the story, but not loving it like I have the other books in this series.
One thing I truly loved about this story was how lost both Amada and Rónán were before finding each other. They both were resigned to the fact that they would never find love, so their coming together was extra beautiful because of that. I also loved how innocent they seemed, not virginal but still inexperienced. Unlike the other stories in this series, the sex was often more exploratory and gentle. It was a nice change from the rutting and animalistic behavior so often found in paranormal or monster romance.
the grand warlock
I definitely felt the plot could have been fleshed out more, especially in regards to the Grand Warlock’s involvement. He was doing horrible things – casting curses and keeping people captive – but we really only see him do one thing on the page. The rest is all just stuff the main characters mention in passing. Because of this, I didn’t ever really feel like the Grand Warlock was this massively corrupt, evil being. A bad guy, sure, but not the supervillain the main characters, especially Rónán, made him out to be.
The Captive Merman’s Promise definitely seemed to focus more on the relationship building rather than external action, but I think I would have been more invested in their happily ever after had there been more action going on leading up to the story’s climax.
Overall, the story had several factors that made it fall a bit short for me. I think it was a good merperson romance, but I would have liked it better if the author had either fleshed out the Grand Warlock plot or just taken that part out altogether.
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