We’re celebrating the release of the highly anticipated dark fantasy The Syren’s Mutiny by Jessica S. Taylor. Read on for more info and a chance to win a signed copy of this extraordinary book! Be sure to visit our hosts to enter!
The Syren’s Mutiny
Publication Date: November 9th, 2022
Genre: Dark Fantasy/ Pirates/ Mythology
“It’s frightful bad luck to have a woman aboard.”
Brigid knew the superstition, but when her father tried to marry her off, she had no choice but to stowaway on a ship bound for Bhodheas. When she’s discovered and discarded, her fate seems sealed…until she’s saved by the ocean and its queen.
Transformed into a syren and given new life, Brigid now has the power to seek revenge on those who wronged her.
Caelum has spent his entire life trying to help those who couldn’t help themselves. After years suffering the cruelty of his pirate father, saving others from a similar fate was ingrained in him. But when he’s unable to save a young girl from being thrown overboard for hiding away, he’s devastated.
Until one day, when he’s thrown into the water by unforeseen forces, he comes face to face with the past, and maybe, with his future.
But there’s a darkness lurking on the seas they both call home. And Caelum and Brigid have no idea just how intertwined their stories really are.
This book contains dark and adult themes. Possible trigger warnings include: violence, drowning, death, dismemberment, torture, brief/non-explicit references to child kidnapping and deaths, mentions of past domestic violence, mild sexual content, and mentions of arranged marriages.
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Abruptly, the ship diverted from its course, turning hard toward the rocky cliffs on the other side of it. Even in the water, there was a sickening crash and the sound of splitting wood as the nose of the ship rammed into the jagged peaks.
We kept singing.
The ship began to turn, its side now scraping along the rocks as well. Men, driven mad by our song, began jumping overboard as the ship started to take on water and dip lower beneath the waves. While still close to the shore, the water here wasn’t exactly shallow, and the ship would sink in its entirety.
We circled, diving deep as bodies began tumbling in the water, the panic induced by our song preventing them from seeing reason and turning toward the cliffs for refuge. Sorcha looked over at me, her eyes wide as she processed the scene in front of her. She still seemed intimidated, yet interested.
I motioned for her to follow me. As we swam up closer to the surface, gleeful that these men would feel our wrath, a body crashed into the water in front of me. A man, based on the broadness of his shoulders and the general bulk of his frame. His body twisted, his limbs flailing as he sank through the water.
I stopped short, letting go of Sorcha, who continued swimming up toward the surface with the others. I swished my tail to hold myself steady as I stared at him. Instead of flailing, he was trying to steady himself. He righted his large, muscular body and finally turned in the water to face me. His eyes widened, but he didn’t seem afraid of me.
Another man splashed into the water in between us, diverting my attention. This man, once the bubbles around his form dissipated, was terrified. His eyes widened, and he opened his mouth to scream, but only more bubbles came out. He furiously tried to kick to the surface, but Maira was faster. Swimming down between us from the surface, she lunged forward, grabbing his leg and pulling him down into the depths. He kicked, still releasing a stream of bubbles from his mouth as he flailed about furiously.
With Maira gone into the depths, I turned my attention back to the man from before. He was closer to the surface now, almost close enough to breach it. Flicking my tail, I used my power to surge up, wrapping my talons around his ankle just as his head surfaced.
I could not let him escape. This man seemed a powerful swimmer, and if I let him go, I had no doubt he would survive. And given how closely he had seen Maira and me, I couldn’t let that happen. In the moment, I was grateful Sorcha had continued to the surface and wouldn’t have to watch this. I wasn’t sure she’d have the stomach to witness this death up close.
I yanked hard on his boot, pulling him back beneath the waves. Down, down, down we went before I released him. I wanted to see his face, this man who had not seemed afraid of us. Had he seen us before?
Tilting my head to the side, I looked at the man more closely as he calmly treaded water, not trying to get back to the surface. His face was familiar to me…somehow. I swam slightly closer to him, whipping my tail in the water, impressed when he didn’t back away. We stared at each other for a moment longer before it clicked in my head. The bright green eyes staring back at me, the dark hair floating in the water, the chiseled and strong face. While he had aged some, I knew that face, those eyes.
The boy from the ship.
My eyes widened, and my stomach twisted again, my heart in my throat. I never thought I would see him again after being thrown overboard. He had fought to try to save me, even knowing he would be punished by the captain for it. My mind was spinning, trying to process the man before me as I studied him.
He was still oddly calm, keeping himself upright but never trying to go back toward the surface. He studied me back, his eyes roving over my body and stuttering on my tail before traveling back up to my face. He seemed resigned to his fate. His gaze was intense, and I wondered if he recognized me as well. I doubted it, as he had only seen me for a brief moment. But I had remembered him.
His cheeks began to bulge, a sign he was running out of time under the water, and he finally cast a glance upwards to the surface before looking back to me. But still, he didn’t make a move.
In an impulsive moment, I knew I couldn’t let my only savior, the only redemption to men, drown because of us. Because of me. Before I could stop myself and think about the betrayal my family would surely feel, I rushed toward him, grabbed him under the arms, and pulled his chest against mine as I propelled us toward the surface. He would not die on my watch. I would not be the cause of his ruin.
Not after he had suffered trying to save me on that ship.
Purchase The Syren’s Mutiny Here!
Jessica was born and raised in Kentucky, but has been moving with the waves and is currently residing in southern Maine with her husband and cat, Nebula. Jessica’s love of reading and writing began at a young age with the help of her grandmother and her local library, and she hasn’t looked back since. Similarly, her love for pirates, mermaids, and all things fantasy have only grown more intense with time.
Author Jessica Taylor | Instagram | Facebook | TikTok | Pinterest
My thoughts: a sort of Little Mermaid retelling but one where the heroine doesn’t lose her voice but will suffer as she changes between fins and feet.
Brigid became a syren to get revenge on the kind of men who threw her overboard to drown. But a chance encounter with the man, who as a boy tried to save her, has her rethinking the syrens way of life.
Joining Caelum and his crew in an attempt to stop his evil father, she realises she can use her powers to do good, not just kill. But can she convince her sisters and the goddess they serve not to drown Caelum and his crew, but be the heroes instead?
A clever action adventure with a love story and a desire to change at its heart.
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