Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate
Author: Kay Berrisford
Genre: M/M Historical Fantasy
Length: 67,000 Words
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: July 30, 2014
Available at: Less Than Three Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Raef, a lonely merman, spends his days watching the dashing Lord Haverford from afar and dreaming of love. When Haverford is robbed by a pirate, Raef vows to reclaim the stolen goods, hoping his victory will buy him the happiness he yearns for with Haverford.
But Jon Kemp does not match what Raef knows about pirates, and the simple quest Raef anticipated turns out to be an epic journey. For while Jon might be a nobler man than Raef believed, he’s still a pirate. Love and loyalty are not on Jon’s agenda, and he certainly has no plans to love someone not entirely human …
When the elders of his mertribe tell Raef he must marry and foster babies, Raef vows it won’t happen and instead, leaves his tribe to find the love he’s always wanted, which leads him to the shores of Lord Haverford’s home. Watching Haverford for a summer, Raef fancies himself in love with the dashing lord but cautious in approaching the lord for fear of rejection. When pirates steal a precious ring from Haverford, Raef believes it’s the perfect opportunity to attract Haverford’s attention. All Raef has to do is steal the ring back. Unfortunately, that proves easier said than done when Raef’s caught in the act and held aboard the pirates’ ship. But while he’s there, Raef’s feelings of love and loyalty start to waver when the captain of the ship, Jon Kemp, shows Raef more kindness than pirates should. And when Raef learns why Jon stole the ring and who Haverford really is, it confuses Raef’s intentions even more. When Jon gives him the opportunity to help, will that lead Raef to a love that’s real or a future heartbreak?
Oh, how I adored this story! And I will freely admit that my little summary does not do the book justice AT ALL. You may be thinking that the book is more about Haverford than Jon but, no, that’s not the case. In fact, this is a love story through and through with Raef and Jon circling around the very real connection between them. Raef goes through a lot to come to terms with what he believes love is and he’s so stuck on having a prince of his own that he won’t even think of Jon as anything but the barbarian pirate who stole from HIS lord. Thankfully, Raef realizes that not everything he learned as a kid was true and that growing up to believe all kluggites (what the merpeople call pirates) are evil is very inaccurate. Jon is the opposite and doesn’t believe in love at all. He’ll never marry and he’ll never have a long-term lover. After all, Jon’s a pirate who doesn’t keep his treasure. Who’s to say he won’t get bored of Raef soon enough and toss him aside for another? (He doesn’t THANK GOD!)
I loved the constant struggle Raef had on believing and helping Jon. It was interesting to see how Raef would vow not to feel anything for Jon but then get jealous or angry over the thought of someone else having Jon. I just absolutely adored Raef because, as a merman, he’s very innocent and naive when it comes to humans. There was a huge language barrier between Raef and the humans so he didn’t understand half of what was being said even if they were speaking English! I found that so funny and cute because he would take phrases or words literally. At the same time, I loved Jon because he wasn’t the classic pirate. Sure, he was once that barbarian pirate but now he’s more of a Robin Hood pirate – taking from the rich to give to the poor. He’s rich enough himself that now he helps the lower class whenever he can. Like in this book where he’s trying to help a woman claim her birth right from the slimy Lord Haverford.
Overall, this was a book filled with rich detail, suspenseful adventures and a slow burn love story. The connection between Raef and Jon is intense and sweet and I loved that they had such feelings for each other but were afraid to accept those emotions. It was a sweet moment when they finally embraced what was right in front of them. At the same time, the piratical adventures they go on were blazes of fun, with amusing moments tossed in here and there. I loved the world that was created and how the mertribe still played a role in the end. I hope one day the author will consider revisiting this world because I’d love to see more of Jon and Raef and all of the Alice O’Shanty pirates one day soon.
Overall Impression: It was amazing!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*