Published by Kensington on August 25, 2020
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Four sisters have become queens, rulers of all that Aerthlan's two moons embrace. The last sister will forge her own path . . .
Signs and Seals
Raised on the magic-seeped Isle of Moon, Maeve is used to unusual powers--and the way they fuel the politics of her world. But when she discovers an ability to shape-shift at will, she knows who she wants to share it with first. Brody, the enigmatic, infuriating shifter-spy has always made time for Maeve. But it's been almost two months since she's seen him. And though no one else believes Brody is in danger, Maeve is more than ready to rescue him herself.
The rumors Brody's investigating are terrifying: a secret army of magic-users, in the service of the cruel Circle of Five. But when he uncovers the identity of one of the Five, the mission becomes personal. Cursed as a boy by the Sea Witch, Brody can spend only two hours a day in his human form, a restriction that limits his future and muzzles his heart. Plus Maeve teases him for being such a pretty doggy instead of appreciating his manly charms. To win his freedom, he must take on a terrible disguise. And when Maeve finds out, she'll unleash a tempest like no other . . .
Just when you think we knew it all, there are more secrets to be revealed.
The Siren and the Deep Blue Sea is a story about secrets. You would think after four books we would have a hold on all the secrets that are to be revealed but The Siren and The Deep Blue Sea could have simply shortened the title to The Book of Secrets.
Obviously, Brody hides secrets. We didn’t know too much about Brody except that he showed up one day in Leo’s tent and shifts from a dog into a human shocking Leo and Nevis and from there he becomes an ally and a spy for Eberoni. We know that Brody suffers under a curse but we finally learn how Brody became cursed, where he ended up and how he lived after he was cursed and where he originally came from.
Maeve has secrets but actually Maeve isn’t hiding her secrets. Maeve simply didn’t know her own secrets but here we will learn why Maeve was left on the Isle of Mist to be raised by the Sisters. We will also learn who her parents are and why Maeve shifts into a seal on the full moon. Actually, there is one secret that Maeve holds dear. She knows that Brody joins her every month when she changes to a seal during the full moon. He thinks that she is unaware and she knows that if he was ever aware that she recognized him, he would stop coming to play with her. As Maeve’s story unfolds, it will also bring big changes to her life.
The secret Circle of Five have been plotting to overthrow the kingdoms of the mainland and take their power for themselves. Oh wait, we killed a couple already…so, that makes it a secret Circle of Three. More a secret triangle now, but who make up that remaining triangle plotting against the mainland kingdoms still remains to be seen.
While Maeve doesn’t know anything about her family, it is not her family she is searching for in this story. Maeve is searching for someplace called the Isle of Secrets. As you might imagine, this island is full of…you guessed it: it is full of Secrets. Maeve is looking the Isle of Secrets because Brody has been missing for the past two months and she believes the Isle of Secrets is where he has gone to look for the secret Embraced Army. Is this secret army hiding and preparing for their attack on the Isle of Secrets? Oooo…maybe.
This Embrace Army is being lead by a person only referred to as the Chameleon because he can shapeshift into any animal and more importantly into any person. The Chameleon has tried to take over the mainland kingdoms by killing and impersonating the former kings only to confronted and chased away by Brody who can recognize his scent. And while Brody can scent him, no one has seen his true face. The Chameleon can be anyone but even if he is wearing his own face, no one will know except for Brody so the Chameleon is determined to get rid of the only one who can track him down.
The only thing that isn’t a secret in this story is how much Maeve and Brody love each other…oh, wait. Actually, that’s not a secret to us, but it is a secret to the characters since they keep from each other, or more to the point, Brody is keeping Maeve at arm’s length to protect her from danger and to protect her from his cursed self. You can imagine just how well that goes over with Maeve who is tired of Brody as well as her older sister’s always needing to protect poor little Maeve from herself.
Since this is the final story, we will have an answer to all these secrets. We will finally have the epic battle with the witch that cursed Brody as well as the Chameleon.
There is one thing I found disappointing, but I should have realized it before if I really thought about it, View Spoiler » we have been afraid of the Embraced Army and their combined powers and what that would do to our new peaceful Kingdoms, except I forgot one key element, Lord Morris has been “collecting” Embraced children from their parents for the last 20 years or so…That makes the Embraced Army a bunch of kids. Kids! And not all of them have awesome powers. The kids who have crappy Embraced powers are treated as slave labor. All I could think was that these kids will all run away once they know they aren’t the only Embraced and that they can return home or whatever other lies they have been told all their lives.
After all the fear of an Embraced Army being lead by the Circle of Five and it turned out to be a rather small bunch of kids? It reminds me of a Sesame Street book my little sister had called The Monster at the End of this Book where Grover is terrified of you getting to the end of the story and it turns out the monster at the end was only him. This big Embraced Army that we feared could destroy the mainland turns out to be only a small bunch of kids with only a handful being teenagers. Even the characters in the book didn’t put together that since this Circle of Five has only been plotting for the last two decades and the kids being stolen couldn’t have been grown up. It was a bit disappointing. « Hide Spoiler
I love the wit and humor that Kerrelyn Sparks brings to her stories. The Embraced series allowed her to let her imagination run wild creating impossible Embranced magics. I am sorry to see the series complete but look forward to what she will create for us next.
Splash. He swam into the cove and surfaced a few yards from the rock. The annoying seals were still talking to Maeve, monopolizing her time. It’s me she wants to see! But they didn’t hear him or notice him. He slapped the water’s surface with his fore-flipper, and while the water splashed around him, he gave a loud bark.
Instantly, Maeve turned toward him. After giving a quick yip, she plunged into the water. His heart began to pound. she was hurrying to see him! She recognized him! You fool, she only recognizes the seal she used to play with. Not you.
He sank into the water to watch her approach. Ah, Maeve. Even the way she moved was beautiful. Graceful. And sensual, as if she enjoyed the undulating motion of her body and the caress of water against her skin. She circled around him, and he rotated in the water, admiring the view as she came closer and closer. Close enough he could reach out a flipper to touch her.
But he resisted. He wasn’t here to flirt with her. He was here to get rid of her.
Then, to his surprise, she lunged toward him and pressed her nose against his.
Was that a seal kiss? He gasped, a stupid thing to do underwater. Sputtering, he surfaced and gulped down some air.
She surfaced beside him, her eyes glimmering with amusement in the moonlight. With a quick bark, she dove back underwater.
Ah, she wants to play chase. He could do that. For a little while, until he had to seriously chase her off. He followed her as she swam around the flat-topped rock. Thank the goddesses, the other seals were staying put and not getting in the way. Of course, she might have asked them to do that. The thought made his heart squeeze. Did she want to be alone with him?
Putting on a burst of speed, he gained on her. Just as he was about to catch up, she dove straight down, knocking him in the snout with her hind-flippers.
Ouch. Well, two could play this game. He zoomed after her, diving at an angle so he could intercept her. He pulled in front, causing her to halt abruptly as she bumped into his side. He twisted, planning to press his nose against hers.
With a fore-flipper, she slapped him.
What the hell? He watched her swim toward the shore. Why would she kiss him, then seconds later, slap him? And why the hell was he even trying to kiss her? That was not the plan. He was supposed to be sending her back home.
He shook himself mentally. That was the problem when dealing with a siren. With just one look, she could make him forget his plans. Forget all reason and wish for the impossible.
Get a grip. He had to be strong. Resolute. Nerves of steel. A heart of stone.
Oh, hell, she was shifting! Her hind-flippers morphed into feet, then her body split to form two beautiful long legs. His nerves of steel melted; his heart of stone crumbled. As the shift swept up her body, he had a glimpse of a sweetly curved bottom, rounding hips, narrow waist–
He shot to the surface and, gasping for air, turned away from her. You fool. He’d been so obsessed with the dreaded revelation of his secret that he hadn’t realized how difficult it would be to talk to her once she returned to her human form. So close to him. And so naked.
Distance, that’s what he needed. With a push from his hind-flippers, he moved slowly away from her.
“Brody, I know it’s you.”
He spun around. What?
She was fully human and standing with the water up to her shoulders, her long black hair slicked back from her beautiful face. “I’ve always known it was you. Every month you came to see me, either as a seal or an otter.”
She knew? In his shock, he forgot to tread water and promptly sank. Sputtering, he resurfaced and shifted. He feet found the sandy bottom, and he straightened to his full height, the water just below his shoulders.
She knew his secret. He shoved his wet hair back, giving her a wary look. “How did you know?”
Her mouth twitched. “It’s simple. I can mentally communicate with seals. But you with, I couldn’t.”
He winced. Why hadn’t he realized that? You didn’t want to. You didn’t want a reason to stop seeing her.
“And whenever you shifting into a river otter, you were far too large,” she continued with a grin. “You were as big as a sea otter–“
“All right,” he gritted out. So he hadn’t fooled her for a minute. All this time, he’d been the fool, dammit. “You should’ve told me months ago.”
Her smile vanished. “I couldn’t. I was afraid you would stop coming.”
He clenched his fists underwater. She was right. He would’ve stopped. He had never wanted her to know how much he cared.