Title: Into the Wind (Mermen of Ea, Book 2)
Author: Shira Anthony
Publisher: click to purchase from publisher
Rating: 5/5 Smooches
Sequel to Stealing the Wind
Mermen of Ea: Book Two
Since learning of his merman shifter heritage, Taren has begun building a life with Ian Dunaidh among the mainland Ea. But memories of his past life still haunt him, and as the threat of war with the hostile island merfolk looms ever closer, Taren fears he will lose Ian the same way he lost his beloved centuries before. Together they sail to the Gateway Islands in search of the fabled rune stone—a weapon of great power the Ea believe will protect them — and Odhrán, the pirate rumored to possess it.
After humans attack the Phantom, Taren finds himself washed up on an island, faced with a mysterious boy named Brynn who promises to lead him to Odhrán. But Taren isn’t sure if he can trust Brynn, and Odhrán is rumored to enslave Ea to protect his stronghold. Taren will have to put his life on the line to find his way back to Ian and attempt to recover the stone. Even if he does find it, his troubles are far from over: he and Ian are being stalked by an enemy who wants them dead at all costs.
It is difficult to write a review of this second book in the Mermen of Ea series without giving away too much information about the plot and characters. There is a lot of excitement, intrigue and some unexpected surprises in this book including a couple of scenes where the reader will be hard-pressed not to gasp out loud.
Shira Anthony is a masterful story teller and a tremendous writer. She writes beautiful prose that grab a reader’s attention and imagination. The character development, dialogue and hot mermen sex scenes are only paralleled by Anthony’s ability to entrench readers in a completely fictional, fantastical world that is brilliant and harsh at the same time.
“He reached the edge of the cove and stepped into the water to avoid the outcropping that blocked the sandy trail. The late-afternoon sun hung low on the horizon, and the temperature had begun to drop in its wake. He knew he had walked this trail a hundred — perhaps a thousand — times before as Treande. Each step felt familiar; each sound reminded him of the happiness he’d had here with Owyn and called to mind the promise of his future with Ian.
“The sky filled with white clouds that danced about, taking on the shapes of familiar things. A boat, a bird, a dog. Taren watched as the dog seemed to sprout wings like a dragon’s. He thought of what Vurin had said about dragons. A year before, he’d not have believed merfolk were anything but legend. Now, he wondered how much of the world he’d failed to see. Why not dragons? Or sea monsters? Or furies? Or sirens who caused ships to wreck? Why should he doubt the existence of things simply because he’d never seen them for himself?”
The Ea world that Anthony has created is intriguing and complex. The basic premise is that the mermen, who have hidden their dual nature, – mermen and human forms – have been enslaved and tortured by both humans and their own people for centuries. Ian Dunaidh and Taren Laxley, reincarnated priests, find themselves as leaders of a brutal civil war. They are the underdogs in this fight and are surrounded by powerful mages and weaponry.
In Into the Wind, Ian and Taren are on a quest. They are in search of the rune stone, a legendary vessel of great and mysterious power. That power is essential to possess, but it is also very dangerous. It is the possession of this stone that caused the death of Owyn, Ian’s previous incarnation. Both Taren and Ian fear the results of possessing the stone again. It is imperative that readers are aware this is the second book in a three-book series. There are some incredible cliffhangers.
Taren and Ian have spent a lot of time interacting with humans, and although the humans are a threat to them, it is their own Ea counterparts that cause the most turmoil and damage, both physically and psychologically.
In this book, Taren and Ian are fighting for the future of the Ea as well as trying to re-kindle their centuries old love. Along with the adventure, fantasy and angst, Anthony has written a beautiful romance. As Anthony noted in a recent interview, here, Taren and Ian are reincarnated “soul mates” who are “fated to find each other when they’re reborn. It’s an incredibly romantic concept.”
“The memory of the battle returned, jarring him back to his senses. Ian! He remembered he’d been unable to do anything but watch the mizzenmast as it snapped. He remembered feeling Ian’s pain as keenly as if it were his own as Ian was injured by a falling beam. His gut clenched, his head spun, and he fought back a wave of nausea. His body seemed to float, carried away on his fear like driftwood battered by the waves. Goddess, please don’t take him from me again! He struggled to clear his mind; he knew he’d accomplish nothing if he panicked. He drew several long breaths as Vurin had taught him, and felt the sand beneath his body once again, familiar and reassuring. Grounded once more, he reached out for Ian’s presence.”
What makes this book so outstanding is Anthony’s picturesque prose and wonderful character development, and that applies to not just Ian and Taren, although the two of them are compelling. In this second book, Rider and Bastian make a dramatic appearance as do some of the other important characters from book one, as well as a new character, who is a bit of an enigma, to say the least.
In both Stealing the Wind and Into the Wind, Anthony has created and delivered a fantastical and well-crafted tale with biblical, mythological and Arthurian Legend allusions. The chemistry between the characters, both human, Ea, as well as the hybrids you will meet in this second book is compelling.
As author Cody Kennedy writes in his forward for this book: “Reading, at its very best, is an enthralling experience, and a good story draws us into another world and stays with us long after the book is closed. The worlds, characters, and events live inside us, piquing our curiosity and fueling our imaginations for years to come.” This description fits Anthony’s story to a T.
In this book (and series), Anthony takes the concept of a contemporary romantic fairy tale and turns it on its head. Unlike with the Blue Notes series, these books do need to be read in order to fully appreciate the tale Anthony weaves.
Into the Wind is a unique and richly layered fantasy world that will capture the readers’ hearts, minds and imaginations. It is a romantic tale exploring a journey of discovery, love, growth and coming to terms with the past. It also is a multi-layered adventure filled with war, violence, prejudice, pirates, treasure and passion. Although Stealing the Wind, the first book in this series, is a wonderful book, it is with Into the Wind that Anthony’s writing style and storytelling abilities shine bright.