Defiance (Son of a Mermaid Book Two), by Katie O’Sullivan

First off, I’d like to offer special congratulations to previously spotlighted author Katie O’Sullivan on the re-release of the second book in her Son of a Mermaid series, which is now called Defiance. I read and enjoyed this book back in the spring of this year, but I held off on posting a review to coincide with the re-release. Well, that time is now, and I’ll do my best to be spoiler-free, but please remember that I’m reviewing a sequel.

You can read my review of the first book, Descent, HERE, and you can view the spotlight of Katie HERE.

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The events of this book take place not too long after the end of the first book. Shea McNamara had moved to his grandmother’s house on Cape Cod from Oklahoma after his father died in a tornado. There, he met (and fell in love with) the mysterious and beautiful Kae. He also learned that he’s part mermaid—and not just any mermaid, but the son of mermaid royalty, perhaps even a descendent of Poseidon himself! He met the mother he never knew and saved the King from an assassination attempt by bad guy Demyan.

In the start of the book, Shea’s a little frustrated at what’s been going on. While his mother and Kae are in the ocean, Shea stays on land where it’s safer. Now that it’s known that Poseidon’s drylander (and half-human) heir exists, being in the sea where there’s some unrest among the mermaid clans could prove dangerous. Also, Kae isn’t royalty—her father is a trusted guard of the King, and ultimately of Shea—so it may be difficult or even impossible for them to stay together despite their emotions for each other.

But before the reader learns about Shea’s situation, author O’Sullivan introduces us to a new major player in the series: Zan. He was part of the plot to poison the king, and now he’s on the run. If he’s caught as a traitor, there’ll be punishment, so he doesn’t have much choice other than to continue serving Demyan. Zan has impressive magical abilities, and Demyan wants to exploit them to help start a war. Immediately, the reader feels the conflict bubbling within this intriguing character, enough to want to continue reading and see both the external havoc he wreaks and the internal havoc wreaking him.

His task is to kidnap Kae and use her as a bargaining chip to get to Shea. She was going to be headed off to Atlantis to study soon anyway, but her premature disappearance concerns Shea. Later in the book, Shea heads there by plane instead of via his merman tail to avoid being seen in the ocean, but unexpected and gripping consequences ensue that I don’t wish to spoil here.

But first, Zan—under the alias Xander—has used his magic to lure Kae with him to the Arctic. Along the way, he’s enchanted by Kae, so there’s a little bit of a love triangle typically found in YA going on. Before too many sparks can fly between them, Demyan’s trying to forge an alliance with the Nerine clan of the Arctic Ocean. The description of the Nerine is starkly haunting, and I like their inclusion as a different style of mermaids, but the physics teacher in me can’t help nit-picking the travel itinerary. Granted, mermaids are fictional, so there’s some leeway in how fast they’re able to swim, but they get around—from Nantucket Sound to the Arctic Ocean and to the Mediterranean Sea—a little too quickly. The target audience of YA readers probably won’t be bothered by this, but it’s the only quibble I have that briefly pulled me out of the story.

However, I was most impressed with the complexity of the main characters Kae, Shea, and especially Zan. All of them face difficult situations and difficult choices, and though I won’t state whether the decisions they make are always the best, I will say that I always felt they came from places of true character motivations. Each of them step up in their own ways and some (no spoilers as to which of them) do some heroic things.

Where I found the first book to be delightful, I found this one to be tense in a very good way. The characters have matured, and I really like their growth and look forward to their continued journey when the third part comes out. I gave the first book a five-star review, and this one is just as good, though for different reasons. Thus, it would be an act of defiance to give Defiance anything other than FIVE STARS.

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Defiance is available at Amazon.

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