Book Review: Tempest by Cari Z

When Colm travels to Caithmor, he quickly finds himself living a happy life with a roof over his head, a family who accepts him, a job that allows him to use his "knack" for sensing fish in the water, and a sense of freedom he never felt in his hometown. He also finds himself in love with Nichol, but, as each of them struggles through their own hardships, including the discovery of what Colm's knack really is, the strength of their love will be tested to its limits and might not be enough to save them.

Book Review: Tempest by Cari Z | books, reading, book covers, book reviews, lgbt, fantasy, historical fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, mermen
Title: Tempest
Pages: 294
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

This book was definitely not your typical paranormal romance. I would actually call it a paranormal love story. And you know what? As much as I enjoy paranormal romance, I think love stories might be even more my thing. The former tend to be lighter and fluffier. The latter, like this book, tend to be a little darker and heavier, but still usually with a happy ending, and I think it’s inspiring to see characters struggle only to come out better for it. And struggle these characters did. Colm and Nichol went through some serious hardships, and their story was not a perfect one, but it sure was a beautiful one.

This book was also not your typical mer story, as the blurb states. It was a surprising but interesting take on the creature, especially for a romance.

The best part about this book though was how ADORABLE the relationships were. Colm and Nichol weren’t even dating yet at 30% in, but already they had me awww-ing and swooning. And the way they never gave up on each other throughout the story was what made it so beautiful. *SPOILER ALERT* I mean, Nichol even brushed the muck out of Colm’s gills when they got clogged while he was battling the nihm fish! This is going to sound ridiculous, but I swear I almost started crying at the cuteness. I guess I’m just imagining it’d be pretty disgusting to brush muck out of gills… but Nichol didn’t even hesitate because that was the person he loved. *END SPOILER ALERT*

The family relationships were equally as adorable. The way Colm’s sister spent the whole night with him before he left because she was going to miss him had me all mushy inside, the good-natured fun between Nichol and his grandmother always put a smile on my face, the way Nichol’s grandmother took Colm in as one of her own made me love her even more, and the way Nichol’s grandfather was there when Colm was at his lowest and needed help the most was just about the sweetest thing I’ve ever read. *SPOILER ALERT* I feel like the fact that the grandfather was a selkie in seal form and Colm was a merman only made it that much better. They couldn’t even speak, but actions spoke so much louder than words, and the grandfather was absolutely not going to let Colm get caught or lay down and die, even if that meant occasionally slapping him in the face with a fish 😛 *END SPOILER ALERT*

There were a few things in the story that seemed a little bit unnecessary or never really got explained or given closure *SPOILER ALERT* (Was Colm’s mysterious mother a mermaid, or was his mer magic just a curse? How exactly did the mermaid legend about cutting out the man’s heart translate into Nichol rubbing his blood all over Colm? Did Baylee ever make it to Caithmor?) *END SPOILER ALERT*, but it didn’t ruin my enjoyment, and the important part of the story still had a satisfying conclusion.

So, to sum this up, this was a book I really didn’t want to put down once I started, and I’m really glad I read it!


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  1. Lola

    It sounds like an original book with how it tackles the mer aspect it makes me curious about how it comes to play. And a relationship can already start before they start dating, some authors write that getting to know each other stage so well that i am already invested at that point. That’s too bad a few things seemed unnecessary or weren’t explained enough, but if it didn’t decrease your enjoyment that’s great. I like it when a book is so well written that the tiny issues don’t really detract from my enjoyment of the book.
    I also like family relationships in books, it can be fun to see how family members interact with each other. I am not a fan of torture scenes though and the warning mentions that. Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, the getting to know each other and just the budding feelings and all that was so cute. I was totally invested before they were even dating! And I definitely loved the family relationships.

      Honestly though, I thought the warning was a little extreme. It wasn’t even gruesome or that bad, just some pain. I’ve probably read worse in YA books lol. But the book overall had a lot of kind of heavy stuff, and I know that’s not really your thing.

  2. Daniela Ark

    You know what I really LOVED about this post????
    I’m reading through it and I read… “lighter and fluffier”, “ADORABLE”, “awwww”, “relationships were equally as adorable”, “awww-ing and swooning”, “the sweetest thing I’ve ever read”, “mushy inside”, “good-natured fun”…
    and I’m getting that unsettling feeling… “oh oh this book may too ‘cute’ for me!”
    And then…
    “Warning: Contains graphic violence, explicit sex, and scenes of torture that may not be for the faint of heart.”
    and then I perked up… “I’m IN!” LOL
    I know.. I know… there is something seriously wrong with me 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hahaha but the fact that I spent the whole review talking about how cute and sweet the book was says the same thing about me lol. I’m just like you with stuff like that though, so I often think about how messed up it is the types of things that actually convince me to read books. Actually it was a review of this book talking about the torture and stuff that convinced me to read it. Except I think the warning is a little extreme. There was lots of struggle and suffering, which I liked, but the torture they mention was really only some pain in like one scene. Then again, I’m that person who sees a million reviews about how dark a book is, and then I read it, and I’m like, “WTF? This book was funny. Definitely not dark. I can’t imagine what these other people would think if they read some of the truly dark books I’ve read…”

  3. Bookworm Brandee

    Reading your review makes me think paranormal love stories might be more my thing as well, Kristen. And mers? I haven’t read many mer stories. But you have me very curious about Colm and Nichol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m not big on the light and fluffy thing, so I definitely prefer some real hardships in my books! I’ve read not a ton but a few mer stories, and this one was pretty unique in that regard.