The Siren

The Siren

by Kiera Cass

The Siren

Love is a risk worth taking.

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 can’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. And though she can’t talk to him, they soon forge a connection neither of them can deny…and Kahlen doesn’t want to.

Falling in love with a human breaks all the Ocean’s rules, and if the Ocean discovers Kahlen’s feelings, she’ll be forced to leave Akinli for good. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart.

The Siren is a young adult fantasy romance by Kiera Cass, best known for her Selection series. It was originally released in 2009 and has sense been edited and rereleased in 2016. The story follows Kahlen, a young woman who is dedicated to the Ocean as a siren for 100 years. Serve 100 years and get a brand new life at the end; disobey the rules and the Ocean takes all life away. Kahlen has spent her first 80 years following all the rules, until she meets her one true love.

Ok, ok. Before you start rolling your eyes, because I definitely did when writing that last line, just know that The Siren is definitely a YA romance. I was initially drawn to the book because, well sirens! No one writes about sirens! I managed to get the book for free on Audible, which was good because I honestly would have been irked if I paid full price for it. The Siren was ok, but just ok. 

I am going to start with some good points. I actually enjoyed the relationship between Kahlen and Akinli. Sure, it contained a healthy dose of the Insta-love that has become staple for Young Adult, but I like the relationship Cass develops. It was very grounded, despite the fact that Kahlen is a siren and doesn’t speak. Cass focuses on the simple yet wonderful aspects of a solid relationship built on friendship: days spent doing nothing, dancing, inside jokes, and happiness. I love how Akinli sees past Kahlen’s stunning exterior beauty and sees all the things that makes her who she is. It’s a sweet relationship. 

I also enjoyed the relationship Kahlen has with her sisters. Sirens are rarely covered in modern fiction, so this was a nice change. The life they share is awesome. I like how they are from all different walks of life, how they have each other’s back no matter what, and how they spend their years learning everything they can. Plus, Cass’ take on the Ocean was awesome!

Now time for the negative. EVERYTHING soured in the story as Kahlen’s heartbreak consumed her. I can hear your arguments: Lindsay, heartbreak does that to the best of us and it was a pretty realistic representation. True points, but that doesn’t make it any easier to read and this is the main reason I have stepped away from YA. The Ocean became overwhelming, her sisters seemed so naggy, and Kahlen was all over the place. It just took the wind out my sails because The Siren really isn’t a bad story. Just, blah; whiny teen romance. Plus, I wish there was more siren lore and history.

The Siren was a good book. It’s the perfect choice to get you in the mood for the beach and it should be a pretty quick read. Have you read The Siren? Are you a Kiera Cass fan? 

Lindsay

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The Night is Alive 

The Night is Alive

by Heather Graham

The Night Is Alive (Krewe of Hunters, #10)

MIDNIGHT IN SAVANNAH

It’s a city of beauty, history, hauntings. And one of the most haunted places in Savannah is a tavern called The Dragonslayer, built in the 1750s. The current owner, Gus Anderson, is a descendant of the original innkeeper and his pirate brother, Blue.

Gus summons his granddaughter, Abigail, home from Virginia, where she’s studying at the FBI Academy. When she arrives, she’s devastated to find him dead. Murdered. But Abby soon learns that Gus isn’t the only one to meet a brutal and untimely end; there’ve been at least two other victims. Then Captain Blue Anderson starts making ghostly appearances, and the FBI’s paranormal investigation unit, the Krewe of Hunters, sends in Agent Malachi Gordon.

Abby and Malachi have a similar ability to connect with the dead and a similar stubbornness. Sparks immediately begin to fly; sparks of attraction and discord. But as the death toll rises, they have to trust each other or they, too, might find themselves among the dead haunting old Savannah!

I like Heather Graham. I enjoy her quirky female leads and how she smoothly integrates her paranormal characters in to her mysteries. But, I will not be reading any more of her Krewe of Hunters books. The Night is Alive is the second Krewe of Hunters novel reviewed on Sand Between the Pages.  You can check out Phantom Evil here.

I grabbed the audio version of The Night is Alive, Krewe of Hunters #10,  from the local library, drawn in by the promise of Savannah history and pirate ghosts. I never say no to pirate ghosts y’all!  I just wish I actually liked The Night is Alive.

Let me start with the positive points. The Night is Alive delivered on Savannah history. The detailed passages of the city streets, the historic buildings, and underground tunnels had me ready to book a vacation. I had no problem feeling like I was exploring alongside Malachi and Abby. Graham also didn’t disappoint when it came to pirate lore. My husband and I are both big fans of pirate history and Blue’s scenes were definitely my favorite.

Now on to why I will not be reading any more Krewe of Hunters novels. I do not like the Krewe characters.  They are undeveloped, leaving them to read very two dimensional and forced.  I can’t get invested in their stories.  Abby is a new FBI agent driven to prove herself and we are constantly reminded of this fact by EVERYONE in the story.  She never actually acted like a trained FBI agent until she faced off with the killer so we definitely needed all those reminders, but it gets old fast.  Her relationship with Malachi didn’t feel remotely realistic.  They went from hating each other, to hooking up, to maybe dating, and then to discussing marriage in the course of three weeks.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? This is the second time insta-love has been a major plot device in my Krewe of Hunters reading.  No, just no.  Don’t worry, I didn’t give away any spoilers.  You know where Abby and Malachi’s relationship is going the minute they meet.  Here are some actual spoilers though, so avert your eyes if you must!  I do not like what Graham did with her serial killer.  She did everything she could to divert suspicion from this character so that the reveal would be all the more shocking.  No, it wasn’t shocking.  It was irritating and I was rightly pissed when I realized whodunit.  And then, THEN, she kills off the serial killer before explaining his motivations.  I know this happens in real life, but it just felt lazy coupled with the complete lack of character development throughout the entire story.  UHG!

Now don’t let this review deter you from Graham’s stand alone and Harrison Investigation novels.  I enjoy many of them and they are pretty well developed!  I just can’t get behind her Krewe of Hunters series.  Are you a Heather Graham fan?  What do you think of her new series?

Lindsay