Saturday, October 18, 2008

AEQUANA by Linda Mooney

Fantasy Romance
Publish America
ISBN# 978-1424140060
Print - Available 2007

Rating: 3 Enchantments

Maja Van der Beek is more commonly known under the code name of Aequana. In her early twenties, she lives a sheltered life and is allowed to indulge herself. However, the one thing Aequana does not have is freedom. She is a mermaid. More specifically – a ‘malformation’ which occurred while she was still in the womb has left her with gills and not-fully-formed toes. Consequently, Aequana can live as easily underwater as on land. There’s a catch though – she ‘belongs’ to the US military. Born and raised in their world, she has never known what real life is about.

John Eagletalon, commonly known under his code name of Talon, is a trained soldier from an elite detachment of the Army. A past military intervention has allowed him to be medically discharged from duty. However, Talon still owes Uncle Sam fourteen months of service.

Aequana works for the Army. When her partner falls sick and cannot continue by her side, the Army decides she needs a new partner. Talon is called in, among others. But Aequana chooses him. He will finish his remaining service time by her side. They are sent on a mission, and both learn more about the other. The spark of passion that flared ever since their first meeting ignites, until both cannot deny their love for one another.

But the army is the nagging detail in this equation. Aequana will never be allowed out of their control. When Talon learns of the atrocities and scientific experiments Army doctors conduct on Aequana, all hell breaks loose. He will save her, come hell or high water. Aequana wants only one thing – a normal life with Talon. Will love be strong enough in the face of all the obstacles in their path?

I wasn’t prepared for the depth of the intrigue and the plot when I started reading this book. A brief glance at the blurb had hinted at the plot, but I must admit going through the story one page at a time was a voyage of discovery.

Ms. Mooney writes with a strong, clear voice. She knows how to pace tension, suspense, and action. Her mastery is also evident in how she builds up the love between this unlikely pair. Aequana is a profoundly human character. Despite all her sass, she is a little girl at heart. Ms. Mooney conveys this really well. But at times, the heroine is a bit too silly to really exist. True, she is sheltered, but a military op like Aequana is expected to be a bit less mushy.

Also, the one thing that jarred me out of the narrative was the hero. Talon is a smart guy, ex-military, take-charge personality. He will fight for the woman he loves. However, Talon often falls in melodrama, which appears inconsistent with the man he is supposed to be. A hero can be tender and love sincerely, but Talon was a bit too feminine at times, which takes away from him. There were also some scenes in this light which were a tad too sentimental and syrupy.

Overall, it is a good read. There is the right balance of elements. Romance is there, action has you hanging at the edge of your seat, and the suspense is carried through to the very end.

August 2007

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