The Ocean's Shadow
by Jennah Sharpe, historical/paranormal (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $2.50, ISBN 1-59998-494-6

Jennah Sharpe has come up with a "I Shagged A Merman" story in The Ocean's Shadow. I honestly don't know what to say about this story because it ends just as the story threatens to become interesting. It is as if Jennah Sharpe refuses to let me feel even a little excitement while I'm reading her story.

The story starts on an odd note, to say the least, when the author describes our merman hero as "grinning maniacally". Maniacally? Like the Joker? The merman hero, Ailfinn, is described as a merman who pouts and terrorizes fisherman in the coastal village of Copperberry when he's not shagging widows and spinsters. One day he rescues our heroine Claire McIvor when she falls overboard from a ship and realizes for some reason that only he and the author will know that she's the one for him. Claire needs rescuing one or two more times before the two realize that they're really in love and then it's the end.

The story ends just as it could have been so interesting because Ailfinn takes Claire to the place where merfolks live. The problem with The Ocean's Shadow is that it seems to be very afraid of details. How exactly does a merman's true form look like? Ms Sharpe never fully goes into details so I find myself wondering where Claire will have a heart attack if her boyfriend's real form is similar to that of Mer-Man from the He-Man and Masters of the Universe cartoon. And how is Claire going to live with her boyfriend? Do the merfolks live underwater or above water?

I would love to see more of how the author treats her merfolk canon but alas, I guess I'm supposed to be content with Ailfinn rescuing Claire again and again, which I confess isn't the most interesting thing to read about. Because I know so little about Claire and Ailfinn, I am not emotionally invested in their problems. By the time the story ends, I know next to nothing about Claire and a bit about Ailfinn (he is a familiar guilt-ridden "I sleep around and pout a lot to assuage my guilt" hero).

The Ocean's Shadow could have been an interesting read if it doesn't come off like only a few chapters from a much longer story instead of a complete story in itself. Even so, the author concentrates on the boring part and pulls down the curtain just when she's starting to get my attention. Talk about misplaced priorities - I am not going to remember much about this story other than its utterly lovely cover.

Rating: 51

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