Well, this was severely disappointing. First of all, let me just get this out there: I like romances. There was a time in my life when I read Nora Roberts on a weekly basis and I actually like some of her books. I can enjoy a good old "Will they, Will they not" book as well as I would a psychological or political thriller. What I don't like is shallowness. And, forgive my pun, this book is shallow.Let's rewind. Lily is a mermaid princess, living on land and infatuated with a boy. She longs for them to get together, but at a dance, when she was meant to confess her feelings, she ends up accidentally kissing another guy, Quince. Unfortunately, the kiss has more consequences than just an awkward "Holy shit, I swear, I thought you were someone else", because for mermaids, a kiss starts a complicated process which bonds the partners physically and emotionally. Also, Quince will turn into a merman unless the King, Lily's father, severs the bond. Oh, and Lilly needs to bond by her eighteenth birthday or she will lose her right to the throne.Okay, firstly: Lily isn't a bad character. She makes a very believable teenage girl, and her voice is fresh and peppered with all kind of fishy slang which was hilarious. Quince is a pretty nice guy, too. I may have some issues with him kissing Lily when she thought he was someone else, but there's really bigger fish to fry here (so to speak).First of, Lily knew what would happen when she kissed a human boy - he would be bound to her, and would eventually have to leave everyone he knows and loves behind to follow her under the sea. Moreover, she had no idea how either boy would react to these news - they could believe her just as easily as they could call a news crew or a shrink. She ranked the security of her people below her hormones, and we're supposed to think that this is okay?Well, apparently, because there's an easy-peasy ceremony to sever that bond. It's not like our protagonists are in any real danger, emotional or physical!And do you remember what I said about this book being shallow? Hell, there is no villlain, or stakes for that matter. We know there's a magical solution to everything, and that Lily would remember using a maguffin spell at just the right moment, and that they wouldn't have to fight anyone but themselves.So it's a romance, you say. Big deal. Yeah, except for the fact that the romance between Lily and Quince is not enough to keep this book going. Sure, it made for an easy read, but there weren't any real obstacles to the relationship other than some misunderstandings about his character and her stubborn refusal to see him as a potential love interest. It's a simple conflict to overcome, and the roads Childs takes around it are painfully convoluted.There was no tension. At all. There was no point in the story where I thought that Quince could lose to his rival (whose name I can't even be bothered to look up), or, even better, that Lily would say: "Screw the romance, Ima gonna be queenin' solo and there's nothing you can do about it." And the subplot about her having to bond by her eighteenth birthday? Which is, conveniently, five weeks away? It's only mentioned once or twice, and bears little to no relation to Lily's motivation. She's not particularly bothered that she has very little time to pick her mate for life, nor does she stop to wonder: "Hmm, isn't that a little unfair? I mean, my parents were never married, so why should I be in any hurry?"Princess Jasmin would not approve of this.In someone else's hands, this concept could have been better executed. It could have been the tale of a young woman unhappy with the system set in place, but working as best as she could within it, and finding happiness along the way. Instead, we get a bratty mermaid too laser focused on getting the guy she wants to even see the nice, supportive boy who's already crazy for her.Yeah, okay. Whatever.