Publisher: Faber & Faber (2011)
Format: Paperback | 377 pages
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
How to put into words what I felt when reading this book? I think I already mentioned those sorts of books you know aren't perfect and you know lack something but still like very much. I think the Siren books are those types of books for me. As was Warped for example.Description (GR): "Vacationing in Winter Harbor, Maine, is a tradition for Vanessa and Justine Sands, and that means spending time with the Carmichael boys. This summer, Vanessa is determined to channel some of her older sister's boldness, get over her fear of the ocean, and maybe turn her friendship with Simon Carmichael into something much more.But when Justine goes cliff-diving after a big family argument, and her body washes ashore the next day, Vanessa is sure that it was more than an accident. She is more certain of this, when she discovers that her sister was keeping some big secrets and Caleb Carmichael's gone missing. Suddenly, the entire oceanfront town is abuzz when a series of grim, water-related accidents occur, with the male victims washed ashore grinning from ear to ear.Vanessa and Simon team up to figure out if these creepy deaths have anything to do with Justine and Caleb, but what Vanessa discovers might mean the end of her summer romance, and life as she knows it.A chilling, gripping paranormal romance, "Siren" will make you think twice before your next trip to the beach."
I think I've said this before, but I love Mermaids. I also might have mentioned that my love for mermaids was born when I first watched The Little Mermaid. Until today it is one of my favorite movies (Disney or otherwise) ever.
Still, I am not a kid anymore and while I love the idea of cute, cuddly mermaids as much as the next person, I want a bit more 'realism' (if you can have that with mythological creatures). I want mermaids (or sirens, if you want to be technical, which is a bit different, but oh well) that lure sailors to their doom. Mermaids that are other not just cuddly humans with tails. At the very least, if they have to be human, make them flawed. After all that's how they are portrayed in the old stories and myths. And that is how they're portrayed in this book.
Sure, the book is flawed. Sure, the pacing is rather odd, at least in the beginning when we seem to be missing large chunks of time because the author jumps between scenes and leaves information behind. And sure, the plot is predictable, mostly, and the character development leaves a bit to be desired (the friendship between Vanessa and Paige was unbelievably abrupt and the fact that Vanessa only noticed Simon after he became a hunk was pretty annoying).
But alas, cute mermaids you do not have in this book. And that is a huge positive in my book (ahah). These mermaids (that are also sirens) are ruthless because they are intoxicated by their powers. I liked the fact that Rayburn wasn't afraid of showing the dark side of human nature (the whole "power corrupts..." thing). I will say that some things in the first book will not make much sense without reading the second book. For example it is never clearly explained why the sirens drown men and why they want to drown them. It is implied that it is because they can, which is a rather weird reason. Further explanation is only given in the second book.
So, "Siren" is not a perfect book, far from it. But the fact that the author wasn't afraid to portray mermaids as more than good people with fins and also the fact that there was no love triangle or insta love made me like this book quite a lot. I'd have liked it more if Vanessa wasn't such a 'goody two-shoes' but she's the protagonist after all.
Overall: I ended up liking this book a lot more than I expected. Yes, the beginning is a bit rocky and yes, Vanessa isn't a memorable character, but I liked the general pacing and the general concept. The last few chapters have the same problem as the first few (confusing writing) but overall I thought it was a nice book and there is no love triangle!