I recently made a list of best YA mermaid paranormal romance books on my fiction site, UrbanEpics. There have been a bunch of them in the past few years.
Sometimes the mermaids are evil and seductive, like Sirens. Sometimes it’s a merman who tempts a young girl to her death. Often moral rules are fluid: the reason it works as a genre is because mermaids have built in romantic conflict – lovers are literally from two different worlds, and can’t survive in each others.
While it may not have the same blood-desire that you get with vampires, the addiction, the need, you still get a little bit of longing. The siren call; the forbidden seduction of the ocean (plus – the ocean is a subconscious symbol of sex). The desire to let go and give in, drowning and becoming one with the all.
The really interesting thing about mermaid romances is that, because they are still on the fringes of paranormal romance, different authors can make such unique choices – most mermaid books have entirely new mythologies or worlds: each is a fresh interpretation of classic mythology (unlike the majority of vampire or werewolf novels, which hit the ground running with built in tropes and assumptions, and readers that already know exactly what’s going on).
I tried to create a new kind of mermaid romance with my book Shearwater;
One of the things that’s always bothered me for example, is how mermaids have sex.
I solved the issue by turning my merfolk into crustaceans, with removable exoskeletons, and I drew on the TuathaDe and Irish mythology to create a race conflict.
But I’ve seen other books do fascinating things as well, like the Sound of Sirens by Jen Minkman – which takes a dystopian, technology based spin of mermaids in a really interesting way.
If you’re interested in mermaid books, make sure to check out this list, 32 magical mermaid books for YA readers – and let me know which you like best!