Monday, 21 January 2013

Siren Song - A Book Review

 Note: A review copy of Siren Song was provided to The Muse's Library, courtesy of  author, B.A Blackwood.

When word nerd Ariel Robinson goes away to college in Montana, she thinks her biggest worries will be mastering calculus, dealing with the cold-enough-to-build-an-igloo winters, and keeping an eye out for “the one”, or at least someone who’ll make her heart beat triple time with a single glance just like the bare chested heroes in her mom’s romance novels.
Instead, she discovers she’s been lured to Montana State by warring Fallen Angels who believe her mother stole a powerful relic from them called the Piece of Home that they’re willing to kill to get back. As Ariel races against time to figure out what the Piece of Home is, why they think she has it, and where it might be, she uncovers chilling secrets about her parents that she’d give anything to unlearn, and finds that no one can be trusted, not even those who claim to be protecting her.

To start with, let me say that I really enjoyed this book. I practically breezed through it, scribbling notes while I went. I was finished in a few hours. A fun, easy read. That said, I sincerely think the cover of this book may be the kiss of death for this series. I'm not normally one to “judge a book by the cover"- to borrow the old and tired colloquialism – but this one leaves something to be desired. The chunk of rock set against the black background really didn't inspire confidence when I pulled it out of the package. But all it took was the first page, and I was hooked. Sadly, today’s reader may not even give a book that chance, if the cover doesn’t catch their eye.

What I liked about it:
I loved the character of Ariel. She’s fun, engaging, witty. My husband asked me a couple times while I was reading, “what are you smiling at?” and I had to read a few paragraphs to him when I laughed out loud. There’s a word definition at the beginning of each new chapter that pertains to the contents of the story, and I found this quite clever and fun. I also loved the slang-talking goblin, Barnaby.

I had a few problems with the plot (which I’ll expand on later) but there were a few clever twists that caught me off guard. In the end, Ariel proves to us that she’s not another wet noodle YA heroine, in an epic showdown that leaves the reader satisfied.

And it wouldn't be a review without a remark on the prose: B.A Blackwood’s writing is smooth and effortless to read. She also portrays a young adult point-of-view very well.

What I didn't like about it:

I really only had two main problems with the plot: One is that there’s a time were the story is sort of suspended and we can’t move forward because Ariel can’t remember exactly what the bad guys wanted (and why they were attacking her). This left me incredulous, because when the reader can plainly remember what it was they said (I think they said it at least twice when they attacked) then the information seems obvious. The fact that they want the “piece of home” is hardly a mystery, since it says so on the back of the book even. I know that occasionally the reader is privy to knowledge that the character doesn't know, but this was a case of the character “forgetting”. It slipped her mind apparently. To me, this didn't ring true. I think if someone was attacking me and demanding I give back, “the piece of home”, I’d remember later.

The other thing was Michael. To be frank, I didn't like him one bit. First he’s described as a “greek god” - and frankly, I'm very tired of perfect love interests – and then he turns all “bad boy”, which I'm also very tired of, since I read a string of constant YA and it’s a theme that comes up repeatedly. There’s a reason for the bad boy transformation, and we find out later. He does end up redeeming himself in the end, but I still hated him. Everything is cleared up in the last few pages, but by then it’s too late for me personally, I still spent the entire book hating him, and I didn't end up changing my mind on the last page, even though he explained himself.

In Conclusion:
So, is this book worth buying? I’m going to give it a resounding…Yes. I really did enjoy reading Siren Song, the narration was clever and amusing. An enjoyable, easy read. Not to mention, I learned quite a few new words!

I give Siren Song an 8 out of 10 on my bookshelf!

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