This is the first Author review I have ever done. I thought it would be fun to take a look at an author who has a very successful young adult series, and look at her other work as well. I don’t typically get stuck on an author, but it does happen. I’ve read 2 Rainbow Rowell books and I can’t wait to read her others, and I’ve been a fan of Stephenie Meyer for longer than I care to admit.(I own most of her books, I’m not ashamed.)
Last year I got into The Selection Series by Kiera Cass. I can only describe the series (the first 3 books in the series) as The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. It’s dystopian young adult, with lots of fluffy romance, just enough angst and feels to keep it addicting, and isn’t super long so it goes quick. I completely blew through the first 3 of the series, omitting 4 and 5 and the novellas because they followed new characters and I liked the original characters. America and Max’s story ends in The One as far as I’m concerned, and feel the next 2 books which are about another character, should have been separate, but I digress.
I heard about Cass’s The Siren after I read The Selection Series. A book about a siren? I love mermaids and sirens, I’m OBSESSED with the mythological lore and all the surrounds it. I’ve been into mermaids as long as I can remember, and naturally I discovered the myths of sirens along the way. One of my favorite books of all time, is a book called Sirena by Donna J. Napoli. I read it when I was just a kid, about 12 years old. The story is about a mermaid/siren named Sirena who lures a ship full of sailors to their deaths and falls in love with one of the men who survives. It’s a beautiful tail, (see what I did there…get it, tail? haha…I crack myself up) and it is honestly a great young adult novel.
I can’t say The Siren is bad by any means, because it was definitely interesting to say the least. The story follows Kahlen (which is another reason I wanted to read the book, not many times you hear my name in a book) who is supposed to die in a shipwreck, but she wants to live and so the Ocean takes her as a siren. As a siren Kahlen will be in the debt of the ocean for 100 years, then will be able to resume her life as human and live in peace, forgetting her time as a siren. The Ocean in this novel is both a villain and something similar to a mother figure. The Ocean takes lives to balance out the lives that live, and her sirens aid her in her need to consume. This was a really interesting concept I thought, as was the bond between the sirens.
I went into reading The Siren with the idea it was going to be like The Selection Series, but it was not. The Siren is described as a romance- kind of like a modern day retelling of the The Little Mermaid, but it isn’t really the kind of romance you think your going to get, especially if you are familiar with The Selection Series. These 2 stories could not be more different. While The Selection Series is full of romance front and center, The Siren’s romance is a fraction of the story. We spend more time with Kahlen pining over her romantic partner than we spend actually building up the romance or involved in it at all. Kahlen falls in love with Akinli after a day or so, and total the “couple” only spend a few days together. It’s enough to throw it all away on though, apparently.
Cass isn’t the only one to ever do the “insta-love” trope, but I have seen it done better. I just didn’t buy into it as much as I wanted to, and that was mostly because the meat of the story centered around Kahlen’s passive-aggressive relationship with the Ocean as a paternal figure, and her socially disconnected relationship with her sisters. There’s a heavy bit of self-loathing as well from Kahlen, who despite doing this for 80 years, just can’t enjoy her life because of the lives she takes bringing her so much guilt.
I went into reading The Siren with the hopes it would be as fluffy and escapist as The Selection Series was and it was not anything like what I thought it would be for a Kiera Cass book. That’s both good and bad depending on how you look at it. On one hand, it could be good that Cass can write books that are so different, but it can be a bit off-putting if you are expecting cohesiveness in the plot.
In my opinion, I’d like to see some more of Cass’s work, to better make a comparison, but I can say this- Cass has proven she can do a variety of things, and her writing style and world building are both good enough that I’d still pick up another book by this author. The Selection Series by far is the standout, but I wouldn’t say The Siren was a bad book at all, its just different.