I received this book for free from Harper Collins Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Written by Kiera Cass
Published January, 2015 by HarperCollins
Provided by: Harper Collins Australia
Genres: Mermaids / Selkies
Purchase: The Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia
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Kahlen is a Siren, bound to serve the Ocean by luring humans to watery graves with her voice, which is deadly to any human who hears it.
Akinli is human — a kind, handsome boy who's everything Kahlen ever dreamed of.
Falling in love puts them both in danger . . . but Kahlen can't bear to stay away. Will she risk everything to follow her heart?
The Siren wasn’t my favourite book of all time, but it wasn’t a bad one, either. After having a very frustrating relationship with Kiera Cass’ other books, I was worried that The Siren would be simply another book of hers I fought to even like. However, being a fan of the subject matter (anything to do with mermaids – yay!) and that gorgeous cover, I thought I’d give it a shot. I was quite surprised with how easily enjoyable this one was.
“There’s always room for love. Even if it’s as small as a crack in the door.”
This is Kiera Cass’ first novel, however it’s gone under some serious changes since it’s self-publication a few years ago. As I understand (not having read the original) it had a complete re-write and was picked up after the success of her Selection series.
While I found Kiera Cass’ previous work to be a little tedious and predictable, The Siren was quite unique in a lot of aspects. It was also a breeze to read and I managed to finish the 300 or so pages within the night. I wouldn’t class it as a favourite, but I’m glad I read it.
Kahlan is our narrator, and for the most part she’s quite likeable and easy to relate to. We first meet her moments before she undergoes her Siren transformation. I for one loved the mythology of the Sirens in this book – it was such a unique twist on everything I thought I knew about them. Their roaming way of life, their intermittent calls to the Sea and the induction of new Sirens was quite interesting. Some things were hard to get a grasp on (the sea-salt dresses, for one) but they added individual factors to the novel which I ended up really appreciating.
“She told me to live… I didn’t know how to tell Her that simply being alive was not enough to be called living.”
Another standout point of this book is the unique relationship Kahlan has with the Ocean herself. The Ocean is a lifeforce – a BEING – who constantly needs to be nourished in order to sustain human life on earth. The Ocean is god-like, constantly referred to as ‘Her’ or ‘She’… and each Siren has a different relationship with her. They are able to communicate with one another, too, which is both good and bad depending on your point of view. The Ocean can me a nurturing mother, or she can be a merciless punisher.
The ‘backbone’ of this story, however, tries too hard to be the romance between Kahlan and a human boy, Akinli. Sure, Akinli was likeable enough, but I felt the importance of the bond he and Kahlan shared had too much emphasis too soon. I loved the way they grew their friendship… Kahlan was unable to speak without inflicting her Siren powers, so she was a mute – communicating through sign language and handwritten notes and texts to Akinli – but amazingly, this didn’t hinder Akinli’s affection for her. It was certainly a unique sort of romance, but I felt I could have bought into it more given more time.
“Love is a risk worth taking. I’d waited an eternity for this. I’d have waited all over again if I had to. I was meant to be kiss this boy, designed to be held by him. All the careful postures I held melted away, and I pulled him closer. We were stars. We were music. We were time.”
We’re supposed to believe by the end of it all that Akinli and Kahlan have this love that will wrench them apart if they’re not together – when all in all they’ve probably spent 48 hours in each other’s company, if that. It was with this direction that I started to lower my expectations for The Siren and its ending.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some fantastic developments (Aisling’s story and her relationship with Kahlan was another highlight), but there were some silly ones too (I never warmed up to Padma and her vendetta against her family). I also wish there had been more ‘meat’ to the story. Certain things happened over the course of one or two sentences, and I wish they’d been fleshed out a little for me to really get invested.
As for the ending, it left me a little cold.
The Siren is a quick and interesting read, so pick it up if you’re in any way intrigued. I wish some things had been expanded on, and some given less page time, but it certainly improved a few of my doubts about any of Kiera Cass’ upcoming work. You may be surprised!