Mermaid lovers, this is a little teaser story for you. For those used to lengthy meaty novels by talented Mr. Hall, this one may blindside you. In Sand and Ruin and Gold, this is a book to be read as a bedtime story. It's a short fairy-tale like story about unrequited love. The love a father possesses for a child is rejected. The love or perhaps lust for a special creature is brutally rejected.
Mr. Hall pulls back the magic from a circus and exposes the dark side. The wonderment an overindulged prince finds in a circus becomes something more when he meets Nerites, a merman. This world Mr. Hall builds is light and at times left wanting. There are questions a reader may have that will never be answered. Questions about this king. Questions about this self-centered prince. Questions about the mer people.
Just as a reader is lulled into this fantastical world, the story ends in a crushing blow. A reader my scream and rail... where is the rest of this story? To which the author seems to answer with a sly smile. Recommended for fantasy lovers who have a thing for mermaids.