Once Stolen by D.N. Bryn review

Once Stolen by D.N. Bryn

Jen reviews Once Stolen, the first book in D.N. Bryn’s new Fantasy series, These Treacherous Tides, as part of a blog tour to celebrate its recent release! You can follow the tour HERE!

We’d like to thank D.N. Bryn for providing us with a copy in exchange of an honest review.

book tour
Check out the rest of the tour!
About the Book
Series: These Treacherous Tides #1Genre: Fantasy
Date of Publishing: July 27, 2021Trigger Warnings: Cultural ableism, adolescent abandonment, two instances of animal injury and death, accidental house fire, kidnapping, secondary character drinking alcohol including non-violent drunkenness.
Page count: 255Publisher: Self-Published
Book Blurb
Once Stolen by D.N. Bryn

No one with half a brain would rob the jungle’s most notorious energy cartel. The vibrations of their power-producing stones are the only thing that calms the mer-snake Cacao’s agonizing sensory condition though—and after being banished from his homeland swamps for similar thefts, he’s desperate.

When his attempt fails stunningly, a chaotic escape leaves him chained to a cartel prisoner: a self-proclaimed hero with a hidden stash of power stones so large, Cacao would never need to steal again. He’s determined to get his hands on it, even if it means guiding her home straight through the mist-laden and monster-filled swamp that exhaled him, with scheming poachers and a desperate cartel leader on their tail.

But the selfish and the self-righteous can only flee together for so long before something snaps…

Return to Our Bloody Pearl’s steampunk-inspired world of merfolk in this fun, fast-paced adventure with a hate-to-love romance, a boat-load of sass, and even more heart.

Quote of the Book
Quote Background

“Life isn’t just about surviving.” I snatch the ignit back from Thais, pressing it into the empty space in my necklace so it sits against my collarbone. “It’s also about enjoying that survival. I like stones, Fern likes skulls and plants, some humans like beads, and others like feathers. The Murk shares what it doesn’t need any longer.”

Song of the Book

Smash Into Pieces – Let Me Be Your Superhero


I was thrilled to see a new book in this world. I fell in love with Perle in Our Bloody Pearl and was very excited to return to their world.


Cacao’s love of the colorful stones, called ignits (which are used as a power source for various things) is almost like an addiction. The compulsion to have them near and the lengths he has gone to make sure he always has some at hand, has gotten him into trouble more often than not – to the point of being kicked out of his home.

Thais is Cacao’s ticket to an easier life. One that will give him enough ignits to last a lifetime and he will never worry again about being without one. Unfortunately, there are others that feel the same way about Thais’s mother’s stash of ignits and they will stop at nothing to retrieve them for themselves.


I honestly never thought I could be so into interspecies relationships but I guess I just needed to meet the residents of the Murk.

Cacao wasn’t as easy for me to love as Perle. Cacao is prickly and angry and he pushes everyone away. He is also greedy and self-centered and it requires some time to warm to him. But as we get to know Cacao and see how his family and the other Bouinas have let him down, it’s easier to understand his bad attitude. He just kind of worms into your heart after a while and you just want someone to care for him and give him the opportunity to be a good Bouina.

Thais is everything Cacao isn’t – open, trusting and sweet. She isn’t interested in her mother’s ignits or the greed behind them. She is just the kind of person a prickly pear, like Cacao, needs to break down the walls he has around his heart.


D.N. Bryn has created a wonderful world in the Murk. Their stories are about characters overcoming the feelings that the rest of the world doesn’t get them, or even want to try. They’re about feeling wrong in your skin and or different, but their stories are also about learning along the way that it doesn’t matter what’s on the outside, if you are true to yourself.

I love the message. I love the friendships, and the healing that comes along with finding themselves, the learning that they don’t have to change their core-being to belong, and that it’s not an easy thing being yourself and being accepted for it, but it is doable.  

Once Stolen is a charming new stand-alone story, in the These Treacherous Tides series with lots of action, a great setting, characters to steal your heart, all with a heartwarming underlying story message of learning to love yourself.

Other notes that I just couldn’t figure out how to fit in

Murielle cameo – yay!

The Murk – I love this name because it says everything about the world, they inhabit in four short letters.

I love the naming conventions – names are chosen by the scent they exude. I thought that was so cool and also communication between most characters is in sign language.

Our Judgement
Let Their Deeds Be Noted - 4 Crowns
Meet the Author
D.N. Bryn

Danny Bryn is a queer, disabled, non-binary speculative fiction author of the liberal Jesus-freak variety. When not writing, they conduct infectious disease surveillance in their hometown of San Diego, where they enjoy basking in the Santa Ana winds, hiking the brush-heavy slopes, and eating too many tacos.