Sometimes you just pick up a book because it has a good concept, or has a mythology in it that you like. I picked up The Siren because I love mermaids, and Sirens. After reading the plot synopses, I knew it would be a generic romance, that part of it didn’t bother me. What wound up bothering me however, was the drawn out premise, the directions this plot went, and how predictably cliché it wound up being. If it wasn’t for the fact it had sirens in it, I probably would have stopped reading. Overall, it was a good enough read because of its length: the audio book was 7 hours, and I finished it in 2 days (could be one day if you felt like binging the book). It’s definitely what I like to call, a popcorn read. It’s nothing ground breaking, but enjoyable enough and engaging enough to finish.
I’m not going to review this in my normal long form format with all the categories and stuff, because honestly the book was short like I said and really not much to fill in each section. So I’ll just touch on the things I liked, and didn’t liked, and then give my final thoughts. Going to be major spoilers in this post, you have been warned!
I’ll start with the things I liked: I loved the core cast of characters. All of the Sirens had really distinct personalities and quirks, and it truly felt like we were looking in at pre-established relationships. The one character that started to bother me sadly, was the main POV character Kahlen. She just kept on whining about everything!! I don’t mind a character complaining in a book, but the entire time she wasn’t even trying to change her situation and just was whining the entire time. They establish early on that “her talent is obeying” but she kept on fighting against it and rebelling, but only halfway. And then going back to the way she was. Everyone but her moved the plot forward, and although the overall themes of the story were good, Kahlen was infuriating to read about. Half of the book is her being depressed or pining or angsting over something and it’s just so irritating to read.
Interestingly enough, I thought the best character in the story, was The Ocean. In this, The Ocean speaks to the sirens, and is their maternal figure for them. Her story is way more interesting than Kahlen’s, and she kept the story going when at times it was hard to get through entire chapters of Kahlen moping, or being depressed. Making The Ocean a talking character that interacted with her daughters was a really nice touch.
Coming off of that, I really loved how the siren lore was used in this! Kiera Cass did her research, while still adding her own lore to it to make the narrative cohesive. Like I said, I love sirens, and getting an explanation of their lives and powers, and why The Ocean picked certain women to be sirens was really cool. Honestly, if it weren’t for this section of the book, them going out and singing, and coping with killing to feed The Ocean, not allowed to speak to humans because their voice literally would make them want to kill themselves, using sign language because of this, therefore having a really good depiction of disability in the book was great to read. It added great depth to the story that wasn’t there for me when it was strictly a romance.
But with all of this cleverly crafted lore, there was one thing that was a HUGE missed opportunity, and it had everything to do with the predictable turn the second half of the book took. Eventually, Kahlen gets sick. Which is odd, because sirens can’t get sick, don’t need to eat, etc etc. So, I instantly thought, “Oh, really cool! She’s going to make it like Kahlen is becoming human because she fell in love, and a siren can only be set free early from her sentence if she finds true love”.
But nope! Instead of going with that, which would probably be just as predictable, but fit more with the story, we get some soulmate mumbo jumbo that is so convoluted and half baked that I literally was like what are you serious. It would have made so much more sense to make the conclusion to Kahlen’s sickness be a siren based problem, and not a random soulmate’s via insta-love problem. Dropped the ball there, Cass.
The “romance” between Kahlen and Akinli erked me too, because it wasn’t a romance. They met once, and then she ran from him for a year, then met him again one more time. So it was twice before he offered her the world, and then she had to run again because she thought she’d hurt him but oh she loves him so much and can’t stop thinking of them because they’re total soulmates! I don’t mind insta-love, but initially the book made it like we’d be following their actual romance, and the hurdles Kahlen would face dating Akinli while being a siren. Instead, we got two meetings, and her pining for him all through the book. If you count the final chapter, and the epilogue, they were together a total of four times in the book and the rest of it was Kahlen moping about how she couldn’t be with Akinly because of her duty to The Ocean, and daydreaming about being in love with this boy she had only hung out with probably a total of like 30 hours.
And still, with all that said, there was something engaging about this book that made me want to keep reading. Maybe it was the half good seen amongst the half flaws, the other more likeable characters that weren’t the leads, the fact that they were sirens (I can’t stress how very in love I am with mermaids and sirens) or the fact that it was just so short it wasn’t worth not finishing. I’d honestly probably read it again if I were bored, because it’s a quick, enjoyable read like most romance novels are.
I usually wind up liking paranormal romances, but an aspect of them frustrate me. I think this is a good example of that: They always have so much potential, but at the end of the day they’re made to sell for a light read on a trip or something, so not much weight is put behind the interesting, dynamic concepts initially put forth. The Siren is a shining example of that, but still something I’d suggest reading if you just want an easy read, and want to see a good take on siren mythology in modern culture.
Did this book make me want to read any more of Kiera Cass’ novels? Not at all. If your stand-alone novel can’t do that, I feel like there maaay be a problem with your writing. But hey, I may be wrong, and The Selection series is an amazing piece of literature I’d enjoy.
Have you read The Siren? Or any of Kiera Cass’ other works? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments!