Take one gender-reversed Little Mermaid story, flip it upside down, mix in some Cinderella elements, a modern context, a long-lost sibling, and the first queen born to a secret race in millenia, and you have the premise for Secrets of the Sea Lord. Readers who enjoy a gentler, more beta hero will like Faier, who is a strong warrior but consistently bends to Harmony's wishes-- when she is brave enough to speak them.
Harmony's arc from a timid, abused misfit of a woman to an astute, defiant queen is quite the journey. It's made believable in the way that the character incrementally builds on her observations and gains confidence when others' behaviors prove out her theories and predictions.
Conflicts center around the Mer world's cultural norms and Harmony's refusal to bend to them. She will bring an element of the modern human world to them whether they like it or not, but the rules around the warriors' behavior cause misunderstandings, while a long-simmering power play adds to the chaos.
This is the sixth book in the Lords of Atlantis series. I have not read any of the prior books, which may have been something of a detriment. The beginning of this story was violent and chaotic with characters that never reappeared, which felt a bit disorienting. It's possible that there was some setup previously that would've made the beginning a little smoother. At the end, characters from prior books come into play as important allies. This all happened with adequate background contained in this book but fans of the series will no doubt get a bit more enjoyment out of seeing these folks again.
Overall, there are plenty of enjoyable elements in this story and fans of Atlantis and mer mythology should give it a try. Despite this, it does not rise above a three-star rating, and while I had some difficulty pinning down why this is, I concluded that it comes from a surprisingly unsophisticated vocabulary. There are a couple of graphic sex scenes, which is absolutely fine in a paranormal romance, but if they were removed, I could easily imagine this as an appealing story for middle-schoolers.
I've been running my review blog, AlphaHeroes.net since 2007, reviewing mainly Romance in all subgenres, Urban Fantasy, and occasionally speculative or high fantasy. I reviewed for RT Magazine for 3 years, and have been a member of the Avon Romance super reader team ("Avon Addicts") since 2012.