Samhain Publishing, $6.50, ISBN 978-1-61923-338-6
Fantasy Romance, 2016
Tempest is set entirely in a fantasy world. Our hero, Colm Weathercliff has lived in the seaside city of Anneslea all his life, although he never truly feels that he fits in. When his father passes away, the local priest insists that the man cannot be buried in the local cemetery due to the man’s deliberate aversion to local religious activities when the man was alive. Colm’s stepmother has to agree, as she and her daughters still have to live among these people. She has her husband cremated, and asks Colm to bring the ashes to Caithmor, the capital city, where her stepmother has relatives that would take Colm in.
There is more. Desandre understands that Colm is never happy living in Anneslea, just like her husband, and hence, she advises him to try to find his true calling, if not in Caithmor, then somewhere else. She knows that the rigid, stifling life in Anneslea would eventually suffocate Colm, and as much as Colm hates to leave his family, he knows that she is right. He is different from most people – he has a supernatural affinity to water, which makes him a very good fisherman. And so he goes.
He soon finds a more comfortable existence in Caithmor, as well as a hot guy, Nichol, who likes to swim and do… watery stuff. But as he learns more about his abilities, he would discover some things about himself and his father that may shake his world, and not entirely in a good way.
Okay, I think I may have made this one sound more dramatic than it actually is. Tempest is actually quite sedate. For a long time, it’s about Colm settling in with Caithmor and doing naughty things on Nichol’s bed when the guy is not around. It is only around the mid-way point that some people have to die to get the drama ball rolling, so to speak. Like I always said, this does not necessarily have to be a bad thing, but here, the pacing is so lackadaisical, it is almost comforting to know that one can put this one aside and come back later, knowing that there is no urgency to go from one point to the next.
Colm and Nichol have a pleasant, charming chemistry – there is a sweet kind of like attracts like vibe here, and I like the slightly darker, more obsessive undercurrent that eventually reveals itself more in the later chapters. Indeed, the later chapters, in the last quarter or so of the book, are easily the most riveting moments, as Colm finally discovers the true nature of his legacy and the angst begins to flow. If the author had kept to the tone and pacing of those chapters more consistently throughout the entire story, I probably wouldn’t be able to stop reading this one in one sitting.
I really like Tempest when it finally comes alive, and I like the two guys, even if they can be such sad sacks sometimes. For a long time, though, this one is more like a pleasant kind of drizzle.