I enjoyed Kiera Cass’ The Selection series, so I decided to try out her most recent release, The Siren. This book was written before The Selection and was originally self-published. It’s since been revised/edited and re-released by her publisher. Here’s the official synopsis from Amazon.com:
From Kiera Cass, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Selection series, comes a captivating stand-alone fantasy romance.
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?
I was very intrigued by the whole idea behind the sirens. They’re young ladies forced to choose between death and a semi-immortal life where they call people to their deaths, drowning in the Ocean, which is represented in the book by a female entity within the water. The sirens don’t like what they do, but they live knowing that some day they’ll be free from the Ocean’s hold and will be able to live a real life once more. Unable to speak to mortals due to the power of their voices, they’re forced to rely on each other for emotional support. Their bond keeps them from going over the edge into insanity. It’s a beautiful example of sisterhood.
Most of the sirens come from rough backgrounds. It’s made it easier for them to adapt to losing their families, but that’s not the case for Khalen. While her family wasn’t exactly an example of female empowerment, it was well off financially and her parents loved her. This made Khalen incapable of killing and forgetting like the other girls. She carried the weight of guilt of each person who died due to her singing while the other girls adapted and pushed the deaths to the backs of their minds. In a way, this made Khalen the most relatable of them all.
The Ocean never chooses a girl who is married or has a child to be a siren, because she knows that they won’t be able to do their job. She also warns the girls to not become attached to a love interest, because they will be incapable of sustaining a relationship. After they return to being human at the end of their sentence, they lose all their memories.
Khalen is considered the most obedient and the Ocean’s favorite siren until she meets a boy named Akinli. She falls in love with him and soon feels the consequences. She knows she must end the relationship quickly, but his mere existence has a hold on her.
I loved the forbidden love portion of this book. Kiera did a good job making the reader want Khalen and Akinli to be together through the expression of Khalen’s emotions. However, it felt like something was missing. I wasn’t totally sold on Akinli’s devotion to Khalen. It was clear she intrigued him, but I didn’t really feel love in the few scenes they had together. I kept expecting him to turn into a typical college boy, nonchalant and put off by her suddenly ignoring him. I think this layer of the story was saved by the fact that Kiera kept most of the attention on Khalen and her incredibly strong feelings.
I also wanted to see more background about the Ocean. Why did she need to be fed human beings? Why did she have human features, like the desire to be loved and waves of jealousy? I was left with so many questions and I really think it would have add more dimension to the story, which fell flat at times.
There was an interesting twist at the end, which I really liked, but I won’t reveal any spoilers. With that, I give The Siren 3 out of 4 stars and recommend it to anyone looking for a storyline that breaks from current popular themes.