Title: The Siren
Author: Kiera Cass
Publication: January 26th 2016 by HarperTeen
Genre: YA, Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 327 pages
Format: Library book
A girl with a secret.
The boy of her dreams.
An Ocean between them.
Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she can’t resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again.
Kahlen is resigned to finishing her sentence in solitude…until she meets Akinli. Handsome, caring, and kind, Akinli is everything Kahlen ever dreamed of.
Falling in love with a human breaks the Ocean’s rules. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart.
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So here’s the alphabetical run down:
Seldom do I critique the names of characters, but these I feel like just can’t be overlooked. Kahlen is supposed to be a girl originally born in early 1900’s, she was supposed to be a teenager when the jitterbug was popular (around the 1930’s), but her name sounds like something that someone would name their child today. Akinli is just such a strange name, even for someone current day, and even though Cass makes the character explain that it’s a family name and even make fun of the name himself, I think it would have been a better choice to just rename his character.
Kahlen’s character is unfortunately not extremely likable. She is depressed and feeling sorry for herself for the majority of the book when there are other characters around her with issues much bigger than her own. Also, there is a scene early on in the book where Kahlen is considering what her “big dream” for her life is. After considering a doctor, dancer, writer, and astronaut she concedes that her one big dream in life is to be… a bride? Wait what? The last time I checked, being married isn’t a career. Honestly, the book almost lost me at that point, but I really did enjoy Cass’s Selection series, so I was determined to see this one through to the end.
When we first meet Akinli, he is a “normal” albeit friendly college guy, but I had a hard time finding anything special about him. I was very confused, after just a few short interactions with him, how Kahlen could not have met anyone like him in her 80 years as a siren, he just seemed too ordinary. Later in the book, however, I did actually come to like Akinli’s character quite a bit. When he is in his hometown in Maine I felt like his personality was more solidified.
The Ocean is a very strange character in this book. Part loving mother, part possessive and jealous owner, I just couldn’t get into the relationship that the Ocean was supposed to have with the sirens.
I think the cover is beautiful and it fits with the sea salt dresses that the Ocean makes for the sirens when they swim. Also, it does fit nicely with the rest of Cass’s books since they all have ball gown covers as well.
I have to give Cass props for an original concept; I haven’t read any other books with sirens. Also, I do enjoy how she portrays the sister-like relationship of the sirens. Their commitment and loyalty to each other is refreshing, where most YA romances tend to go the route of “us against the world” mentality.
I feel like in order to be a good fantasy novel, to really sell me on the world you have created, the story needs to be so compelling that I’m willing to suspend my own reality for the time that I spend reading it. In a good fantasy novel, I don’t feel like I’m constantly thinking “that isn’t real,” but in this book I just wasn’t pulled into the world enough to set aside my reality, even for a short time.
“Books were a safe place, a world apart from my own. No matter what had happened that day, that year, there was always a story in which someone overcame their darkest hour. I wasn’t alone.”
“There’s always room for love. Even if it’s as small as a crack in the door.”
“It seems to me that we value individuality, but only to a point. When what sets one person apart from another is beyond our understanding or becomes too much to handle, we dismiss the quirk and the soul that accompanies it to give ourselves the greatest comfort. What does that accomplish?”
Unfortunately, if I hadn’t been so dead set on finishing this one, I probably would have put it down not even 50 pages in. However, the ending was better than the beginning, so two hearts it is.