Book Review: The Siren (YA)

The Siren by Kiera Cass

Goodreads Summary:
A girl with a secret.
The boy of her dreams.
An Ocean between them.

Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she canโ€™t resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again. 

Kahlen is resigned to finishing her sentence in solitude…until she meets Akinli. Handsome, caring, and kind, Akinli is everything Kahlen ever dreamed of.

Falling in love with a human breaks the Oceanโ€™s rules. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart. 

This book was originally published in 2009, and I’ve had it on my TBR list since June 2014 after I read The Selection series. I never got around to reading it until now. So I read the recently re-published version. I love the cover! It matches up well to The Selection covers but also fits the story.

My Review:
Going into this book I couldn’t remember what it was about. Even with the title, I didn’t suspect that the main character would be an actual siren. I don’t know what I thought. But I really enjoyed the magical realism of this book. There’s only loose magical elements within the present day world. The extend of the world building was comparable to The Selection series.

Kahlen is an ordinary girl traveling on a ship with her family circa 1930. Think the Titanic. Suddenly people start throwing themselves overboard because of a mysterious singing. Kahlen doesn’t want to die, so she begs the universe to save her. The Ocean hears her and rescues her, but her repayment is that she must serve the Ocean as a siren for 100 years. So cool, right?

Jump ahead 80 years. Kahlen and her siren “sisters” are living in Miami. They can mingle with humans, but they cannot speak because their voices are deadly. Every year or so the girls have to sing to bring the Ocean human lives to somehow save the rest of humanity. The exact details of how it works aren’t there, but it didn’t bother me too much. I kind of expect this now with Cass’ writing.

Kahlen spends a lot of time at the library researching the lives of the people she’s killed. She’s plagued with guilt, and she’s just trying to make it to the end of her sentence, although she has great affection for the Ocean as well. Then she meets a boy. A wonderfully adorable, sweet boy. Oh how I loved Akinli! He reminded me a little of Levi from Fangirl. The kind of boy that cares about everyone. He isn’t at all fazed by Kahlen’s sign language and muteness.

The romance was great, but even more than that I loved the relationships between Kahlen and her siren “sisters”. I love friendship stories. The girls are all very different, but clearly devoted to each other. Having multiple sirens added so much to the story.

The motherly nature of the Ocean was intriguing as well. I felt like Cass was drawing parallels to the often difficult relationship between teenage girls and their mothers. Unlike many parents in YA novels, She was portrayed as having believable emotions and being understanding and fair with the girls. It’ll make sense when you read it. I promise.

I was a little unsure of this book in the middle. The pacing slowed down a little bit, and Kahlen got a little whiny and repetitive…not unlike America in The Selection. But I stuck with it, and the second half of the story was very satisfying. I really enjoyed this book.

My Rating: 4 stars
Understand my ratings.

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    1. Yes. I wondered for a bit at the beginning if it was supposed to be like The Little Mermaid, and it does have some similar elements, but I don't think it's meant to be a retelling. I love Disney's A Little Mermaid too. Definitely my favorite Disney movie.

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