Warning: If you have not read “Bay of Sighs” by Nora Roberts, do not read this review if you wish to avoid spoilers. If you don’t mind spoilers or already read the book, feel free to read this!
I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s “Bay of Sighs” by Nora Roberts! I’ve reviewed the first book, “Stars of Fortune,” before, and now I’m happy to pick up the rest of the trilogy! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“To celebrate the rise of their new queen, three goddesses of the moon created three stars, one of fire, one of ice, one of water. But then they fell from the sky, putting the fate of all worlds in danger. And now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces…
Mermaid Annika is from the sea, and it is there she must return after her quest to find the stars. New to this world, her purity and beauty are nothing less than breathtaking, along with her graceful athleticism, as her five new friends discovered when they retrieved the fire star.
Now, through space and time, traveler Sawyer King has brought the guardians to the island of Capri, where the water star is hidden. And as he watches Annika in her element, he finds himself drawn to her joyful spirit. But Sawyer knows that if he allows her into his heart, no compass could ever guide him back to solid ground…
And in the darkness, their enemy broods. She lost one star to the guardians, but there is still time for blood to be spilled—the mermaid’s in the water and the traveler’s on the land. For she has forged a dangerous new weapon. Something deadly and unpredictable. Something human.”
If you all may recall from my last book review, I was already starting to like the pairing of Annika and Sawyer. Given how this focuses on these two particular characters in the trilogy this time around, I was quite delighted at their relationship development. Both of them share some sweet moments, such as cooking together early on in the novel and having some beautiful interactions. They also had about four sex scenes throughout the book, too. Those were tastefully written, though I felt it got slightly gratuitous after the third sex scene (thankfully, that one and the fourth one are briefer than the first two sex scenes).
Sawyer and Annika are clearly attracted to each other from the beginning and it only builds up from there, but what I found interesting was how they started getting together—according to the worldbuilding involving mermaids in the trilogy, mermaids aren’t allowed to make the first move (a.k.a the first kiss) in a relationship, at least not with romancing land people like Sawyer. The one they desire (in this case, Sawyer) has to be the one to initiate that first kiss, otherwise they can’t get closer to them. Annika refers back to the sirens of old that would lure men to their deaths through their seduction. Keeping that in mind, this is a great way to cover the whole consent issue (especially given how sirens are traditionally depicted as straight-up seductresses that hypnotize people into going along with them). Aside from this, both Annika and Sawyer also ask each other first before going at it with each other, and I find the whole asking-for-consent thing much better handled in the romance compared to last book, where I complained about Bran and Sasha’s relationship being abusive due to Bran not really caring much about Sasha’s consent.
Individually, Annika was quite fun to read. She’s not the typical protagonist in a light vs. dark type of plot—being a mermaid from the sea, she has a lot to learn about being on land, such as public nudity, definitions and slang terms for various things, and cultural references. All of these moments were scattered throughout the book (though more notably in the first half), and her innocence of it all was quite fun, especially when coupled with her interactions with the other characters. She may not approve of firearms, but she is still fiercely protecting those close to her in whatever way she can. Sawyer himself also was fun to read in his interactions with everyone. He looks out for everyone, like how Annika does, and he’s not afraid to risk life and limb to get the others to safety (especially since he nearly dies doing so in the book).
As for the rest of the main characters (Sasha, Bran, Riley and Doyle), there was definitely far less focus on them given how this book focused on Annika and Sawyer, though the interactions with each other as well as Annika and Sawyer were quite nice. There wasn’t much delving into Sasha and Bran’s relationship this time around, simply because the focus wasn’t on them. I also noticed that Riley and Doyle had much more interaction than last book, and I feel like that’s trying to lead into them potentially getting together for the third book. I eagerly await more chemistry between all the protagonists, whether it be the continuing development of friendship-like-family, or even more romance.
For the antagonists, I found that Malmon was interesting, though I think he kind of fell flat halfway through the book. I liked his growth from being introduced as this clearly ruthless, yet intelligent person who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals, and then having that ruthlessness being taken to extremes once he starts losing his sanity because of Nerezza’s manipulations. I think his obsession with Nerezza felt a bit sudden in development, but given how he survives this book, it makes me think that we’ll see more of him in the next one. Nerezza herself also got a bit more development in displaying her intelligence, bending Malmon to her will, and it will be interesting to see where those two get to in the last book.
Overall, I’m rating this book 4.5 out of 5 stars, losing the .5 because of the kind-of-flat development for the villains.
If you’re looking for a fantasy trilogy that has some good character interactions, this is definitely one you might want to look into! I eagerly anticipate reviewing the third book,“Island of Glass!”
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