Review: Tempest by Cari Z.

Love can change a soul. But can it save one life?

Colm Weathercliff is a simple fisherman with an uncanny some might say preternatural knack for his trade. He thought leaving his small village to take his father s ashes to the capital city of Caithmor for a proper burial would be the grandest adventure of his life.

At first, all his hopes seem to be fulfilled. He finds a home where he's accepted without question, the freedom to use his talent to its fullest effect, and love with Nichol, a man with a longing for the sea as powerful as Colm's.

But Caithmor holds as many dangers as it does attractions. Colm's greatest secret turns out to be a dark revelation that gets him and his family shunned and changes everything he thought he knew about himself.

The truth about his parentage, his gift, even his physical form could poison his chance for love. And doom both him and Nichol to a gruesome, inescapable fate.

Warning: Contains graphic violence, explicit sex, and scenes of torture that may not be for the faint of heart. These mermen bear no resemblance to those you might have seen in a certain animated film.

If you're reading this review chances are you're familiar with the romance algorithm-person A meets person B, they fall in lurve at varying speeds, something bad happens that they must work through/survive on their way to an HFN/HEA. I like this algorithm. It's predictable, yes, but so many emotions, personality traits, adventures and conflicts can be packed into that algorithm to make it unique. My point being when an author can make me question the algorithm it always impresses me.

That coupled with Cari Z.'s range from fantasy to post apocalyptic dystopia to contemporary make it clear that she is the quintessential storyteller. I can't tell you how many times while I was reading this I thought how great it would be to sit around a campfire listening to her tell this tale. It's filed with adventure, villainous secondary characters, romance, violence, tragedy and triumph, creepy creatures, mythical creatures and a sprinkling of sexy times, though they are definitely in the side car of this story. 

Tempest is a slow burn with and a bit of a love triangle. Colm with the help of his stepmother flees his tiny mountain village after his father's death for fear he will be forced to marry. He has no desire to marry. He wants to live a quiet life as a fisherman, the thing he enjoys most in the world. He joins up with Fergus, who is a jolly lothario with an unknown number of wives (even he gets them mixed up), who sees him safely to Caithmor. Once there he meets aunt Megg and Nichol. 

Megg is a tough old bird who isn't gonna take any guff of anyone. She strong arms the town drunk into hiring Colm and he quickly makes a name for himself and along the way garners some unwanted attention. Colm has always had a knack for fishing, a knack which some people say is magic. Magic in all its permutations is illegal thus he is arrested and taken to Honored Strain, inquisitor. All of this wreaks of hypocrisy in that the priests can use magic while laypeople are tortured and jailed for doing so. Nice subtext.

"Living means you get jostled about a bit."

In Colm's case he's prohibited from fishing and becomes an outcast. Colm being Colm he makes the best of a bad situation, spends more time with Nichol and his friends until tragedy strikes. No sooner has Colm helped Nichol through that crisis before another obstacle gets thrown in their way. This is when the doubts started to creep in. 

"Sometimes there's no perfect solution. Sometimes you have to live out something bad in order to get to something better."

I shouldn't have doubted because Nichol never does even when things seem hopeless. Colm and Nichol are opposites. Nichol is a classic extrovert with many friends, a passion for life that permeates his every interaction and a thrill seeker. His optimism bolsters Colm and they keep working and fighting to find solutions even if they have to trust some unsavory characters. Besides being with Colm is the adventure Nichol's been waiting a lifetime for.

There are many things that I enjoyed about this story but what made me coo was how tactile they are. Nichol pretty much uses Colm as a body pillow. Always snuggling, oftentimes snoring, sometimes drooling and always on Colm.

The other can be summed up as Cari Z.'s writing style. She paid attention to the details and skillfully wove this story together. As a visual person that matters to me especially when you're building an alternate universe. The more I can visualize it the greater my enjoyment will be. She accomplished it without info dumping.

There are loose ends and I still have some questions mainly about secondary characters, so I'm crossing all the things that a follow up or two are planned.

Recommend to high fantasy fans.

An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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