Series Review

Series Review: Daughters of Arianne by Joey W. Hill (2008–2009)

Heat Factor: There’s lotsa sex. Some of it is sexy. Some of it is wild. Some of it is BDSMy. And some of it is completely bonkers.

Character Chemistry: My female essence submits to your male energy.

Plot: A girl with a fish tail and a guy with wings hang out, do some traveling, and engage in an epic battle against the forces of evil. 

Overall: If you’re in the mood for bonkers morality-chain paranormal romance, then these books are wildly entertaining. With a lot of caveats.

Gentle readers, how do you feel about childlike heroines? How about extremely gender essentialist nonsense about what males and females are? 

If neither of those things are deal-breakers for you, how do you feel about epic battles against the Forces of Evil? How about when those epic battles are not against an external foe, but against the Evil Blood that’s inside of you? Biology is destiny after all.

If you’re still interested, then how do you feel about sexy angels with Dom tendencies? Who maybe are not very good at consent?

And, uh, how do you feel about head-hopping?

Look, these books are cracktastic, but they are not for the faint of heart. 

A Mermaid’s Kiss

Jonah the Angel is wounded battling Dark Ones (think cosmic demons that are both the source and the result of human evil) and falls into the ocean, where Anna the Mermaid saves him. They sex in an underwater cave to make *joining magic* to heal his wings, but there’s still darkness inside of him, so they go on an epic road trip to the desert so he can be healed for real. Oh, and Anna is cursed to die before her twenty-first birthday, which is happening ten months from now, and has no merfriends except for Mina the Scary Sea Witch. Oh, and she can shapeshift into more than just a human.

Important Information: The childlike heroine energy is STRONG in this book. Anna refers to herself and her desires as childish multiple times. She calls Jonah “My Lord.” He calls her “little one.” He is always thinking about how ancient he is, and how young she is. Granted, he is, like, a thousand, and she’s twenty. That’s a pretty big age gap.

Weirdest Sex: So there’s a scene where Anna shifts into her pixie form. Yes, you read that right. She has a pixie form. Like Tinkerbell, but more naked. Anyways, even though she’s tiny, both she and Jonah are very very horny, so Anna rubs her body all over Jonah’s erect penis until she cums. Note: her body and his erect penis *are the same size.*

If you’re interested in a deep dive into this particular book and all its glorious wackiness, Whoamance covered it back in 2019.

A Witch’s Beauty

At the end of A Mermaid’s Kiss, Mina the Scary Sea Witch helped save the day against the Dark Ones, so now she has permanent angel bodyguards. She hates them, and the feeling is mutual, because she is half Dark One herself, which means she has Evil Blood! But David the Angel has had a thing for her ever since he pinned her tentacles to a rock with his daggers back in Book 1, so he volunteers for permanent guard duty. And decides to start sexing Mina to help her balance the good and evil within her. Mina doesn’t exactly agree to this plan, but she doesn’t curse David, so we’ll go with it. Then they go to the desert, and then they battle some Dark Ones.

My Take: This is by far the best book of the trilogy because Mina is amazing. She’s scared and lonely and powerful and takes no shit from anyone and is perhaps the best example of a female character with a morality chain arc I’ve ever come across. She is so scared to let herself love that she speaks in hypotheticals and can only accept happiness for the single moment of the present. 

The Caveats: However. The content warnings on this one are legion. Beyond the dubious consent, there’s also: self-harm, suicide, child abuse, and frequent threats of violence. And also a stupid paternalistic angel who psychoanalyzes this awesome sea witch and decides that she’s in a perpetual state of childlike arrested development because of her past trauma (unfortunately, within the text, he’s right, but that doesn’t mean I like it).

A Mermaid’s Ransom

It’s twenty years later, and Anna and Jonah have a daughter who is a full-blown hottie with super empathy powers. Meet Alexis the Merangel. Yes, you read that right. She is a mermaid, but she also has angel wings. Dante the Dark Spawn Vampire kidnaps her through her dreams and brings her to the Dark One world so that Mina will let him out. Of course, all of our friends from the previous books are all set to kill Dante as soon as they bring him to earth, but Lex intervenes because she can sense the tiny spark of light in him and wants to rehabilitate her kidnapper. Plus he did some vampire stuff to bind her soul to his, so they can’t actually kill him without killing Lex too.

Holy Stockholm Syndrome, Batman! Ok, so this book definitely has non-consensual sex (read: Dante definitely rapes Alexis), but it does this hand-waving thing to say that it’s not actually rape. Lex thinks: “It’s a dream, Alexis. You weren’t raped in real life. It was just a dream…And it wasn’t rape. You wanted him, he wanted you. He just…maybe he had no clue what he was doing.” Uh huh. That’s some nonsense, Lex. You keep lying to yourself.

No Plot, Just Vibes: After the initial kidnapping and rescue (the first third of the book), there’s basically no plot to this story. Lex convinces Jonah and all the other murderous angels to give Dante a chance, and then she and Dante hang out in Florida and do crafts and swim with manatees. I am not joking about either of these activities. It’s literally hundreds of pages of them trying to acclimate Dante to a new reality and help him figure out how to live on Earth without causing a vampire war or destroying humankind.

Rape Fantasies: Just so we’re clear, the noncon is a feature, not a bug. There’s a scene late in the book where Lex goads Dante into having violent sex with her—including anal without lube—by imagining Leonardo DiCaprio. (Of all the heartthrobs! The mind boggles.) (Her imagining Leo works because Dante is inside her mind, thanks Vampire Magic!) Which all leads to this sentence: “Though she wasn’t sexually experienced, she’d been exposed enough to those who were to know that it might not be hygienic for him to go from that intimate rear opening to this needy one. But she’d always been immune to most infections…”

Now I need a shower, and you probably do too.

TL;DR: These books are a ride.

Buy Now:

A Mermaid’s Kiss: Amazon | Bookshop

A Witch’s Beauty: Amazon | Bookshop

A Mermaid’s Ransom: Amazon | Bookshop

The Whole Dang Series

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