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Review: Sleeping with the Fishes by MaryJanice Davidson

Sleeping with the Fishes (Fred the Mermaid #1) by MaryJanice Davidson
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Mermaids
Mass Market Paperback (JOVE, 309 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0515142220
Fred is not your ordinary mermaid. She's not blonde. She's not buxom. And she's definitely not perky. In fact, Fred can be downright cranky. And it doesn't help matters that her hair is blue.
While volunteering at the New England Aquarium, Fred learns that there are weird levels of toxins in the local seawater. A gorgeous marine biologist wants her help investigating. So does her merperson ruler, the High Prince of the Black Sea. You'd think it would be easy for a mermaid to get to the bottom of things. Think again.

Author Site:

The Little Mermaid Fred Is Not (1 star)

Her name is Fredrika Bimm, but call her Fred or she might rip your arms off. She's a doc at the New England Aquarium. Oh, and when she gets into the water if she doesn't force herself not to... she becomes a mermaid. She doesn't know who her bio daddy is but her human mother means she's stuck somewhere between merfolk and manfolk. Fred's okay with it most of the time but listening to the fish at the NEA gripe all the time is an annoyance and her blue/green hair always has nasty split-ends.

Fred is quite content just doing her own thing until a foxy new doc shows up at the NEA to do some research and the Prince of the Black Sea drops in around the same time. They both want to find out what is polluting Boston Harbor and they both want Fred. They just have to work together to save the harbor and hopefully win over Fred's affections in the process.

Mermaids and merfolk in general are highly under represented in the realm of paranormal romance so I was glad to pick this one up and give it a try. Unfortunately what I was anticipating was not what I got. Fred might be a mermaid and the Prince of the Black Sea is definitely a merman but the fun stops there. Fred's personality might be humorous or even cute in a she'll 'bite-yer-head-off' kind of way but I personally found it grating after a few chapters. It made her very one dimensional. Which strangely was something that carried over to every character within this book. Without a well built personality, whether this is intended to be a funny romance or not, there's no reason to really care what happens to anyone within it.

As to the story itself. It was pretty weak. The whole thing resolved quickly and simply but seemed to have no actual effect on Fred or her companions in the long run. One thing I found really random and misplaced in this book was the relationship between Fred's boss, Dr. Barb, and her best-friend, Jonas. They're the ones having lots of crazy sex through the whole thing despite the fact it seems Davidson couldn't make up her mind whether to make Jonas gay or not (and honestly... it was very contrived).

The book certainly had potential to be good but I get the feeling this was some very early work of the author's that she sought publishing for only after she had a hit with another series. I think fans of her work will find this to be really bad and those looking for a merfolk story and some good humor will be much in the same boat.


JenB said...

Oh, rats! I actually bought this one after I read and loved the first Queen Betsy book. I tried to read it a few months ago and got distracted, but now I may not pick it back up again.

I read another merfolk romance last month that turned out to be a stinker too. :(

Rhianna said...

I found this one in pristine condition at my local Goodwill and thought for 99cents it was a bargain but now I almost feel a little cheated. No wonder it was in such good condition lol!

I think it's tough finding good mer-fic. I do somewhat like Virginia Kantra's Children of the Sea stuff but their selkies not merfolk. I'm not huge on mer-lore but every once in a while (summer) I get a bit nostaligic for the summer I spent watching The Little Mermaid 6 times a day with my step-sister. ;D


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