Series: Siren #1
Published by Faber and Faber on February 1st 2011
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Received for review from publishers
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Seventeen-year-old Vanessa Sands is afraid of everything—the dark, heights, the ocean—but her fearless older sister, Justine, has always been there to coach her through every challenge. That is, until Justine goes cliff-diving one night near the family’s vacation house in Maine, and her lifeless body washes up on shore the next day.
Though her parents hope that they’ll be able to find closure back in Boston, Vanessa can’t help feeling that her sister’s death wasn’t an accident. After discovering that Justine was keeping a lot of secrets, Vanessa returns to Winter Harbor, hoping that Justine’s boyfriend might know more. But Caleb has been missing since Justine’s death.
Soon, it’s not just Vanessa who’s afraid. All of Winter Harbor is abuzz with anxiety when another body washes ashore, and panic sets in when the small town becomes host to a string of fatal, water-related accidents in which all the victims are found, horrifically, grinning from ear to ear.
Vanessa turns to Caleb’s brother, Simon, for help, and begins to find herself drawn to him. As the pair try to understand the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance—and will change her life forever.
Thoughts: Siren is exactly what I expected: no more, no less. It is a YA novel with a paranormal heroine, a protective love-interest, inexplicably evil villains, a toothache-sweet best friend, and a bitchy-but-beautiful teenage competitor. I’d compare it to The Body Finder… except I actually liked Siren!
Siren had quite a few unexpected twists in it. For starters, we actually get to meet Vanessa’s sister before she dies and see what happens in the immediate aftermath of her death. It made the loss all the more real, so it is actually believable when Vanessa goes to her vacation home looking for answers into her sister’s death. Her relationship with Simon Carmichel was also extremely unusual for a YA book. There is none of the pining and hand-holding – they gradually grow to like each other, but the death of her sister and the disappearance of Simon’s brother are the priority.
But my real problem? The writing. Not necessarily the words on the page, but the words that weren’t on the page. Siren was just extremely confusing. The simple things – like who is driving the car, or what the weather is like – could not be followed. All of the sudden a character would be throwing a cup of coffee that had never been mentioned, besides a short line written paragraphs before vaguely that mentioned a convenience table.
And while we’re at it, character relationships and their individual motivations were just… unintelligible. I felt like Tricia had a plot in mind, complete with 3D characters, she just couldn’t get it onto paper! Although her one-dimensional, evil-for-the-sake-of-it villains? Yeah, I don’t think Tricia had any motivation in mind for them.
Bottom line? Siren is enjoyable but flawed. Pick it up if you’re looking for something a bit different in your paranormal YA, but don’t go out of your way to get a copy.