Warning if you have not read the book and do not wished to be spoiled please do not keep reading!
I’ve just finished the book mere minutes ago and I have a lot of thoughts about it so I’m going to skip the summary as I’ll assume that those who read this review have also read the book.
Honestly this book disappointed me quite a bit. It’s by no means a terrible book but it by no means lived up to my expectations based on the synopsis. The first half of the book I enjoyed, though it had it’s flaws retrospectively, they didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the story. Unfortunately for the last half of the book, it’s a different situation. The pacing is wrong, the writing becomes more like Netflix romcom dialouge rather than banter between characters ( to the extent that I was cringing! ) and glaring failures in the overall characterisation of Elian and the rest become more and more noticeable
In the first few chapters, the set-up to Lira was great. Our understanding of the Sea Queen and her politics was poor ( unfortunately that never really changed other than when the book chose to simply inform us that the sea is ruled through the Queen’s forced loyalty ) but I believed that the lore would be further explained so I bit the bullet and embraced the unknown. The set-up to Elian was less great, we hear he loves killing sirens and all but what the guy loves to do more than anything is ramble on about how much he loves the ocean, still I continued with the story fascinated by the premise.
Halfway through the story, things suddenly felt different. Lira was coming up with more random self-descoveries than an internet phycology quiz spits out in a day. Her behaviour went from ruthless killer to “I love being part of my pirate family” WAY too quickly to the point where it undermined her character and the story. Lira’s sudden realisation that humans are good and that she hates her mother were so random and plot-convenient that it actually annoyed me. Lira and Elian’s relationship was interesting until the cheesiest moments in history started happening ruining the dark tones of the first chapter and setting the story up to become more and more corny.
The romance in this book should be good and the fact that it’s not is really disappointing. Instead of getting a complex dynamic between killer siren princess and ruthless siren-murderer prince we got two teenagers playing dress-up in pirate clothes. Elian needed to be grittier and darker, not just a plot device so that Lira could go “humans are nice”. Her apathy to his killing of one of her subjects, was not out of character for Lira, but Elians’s sudden remorse for Maeve was ridiculous coming from a chracter that is supposed to be a ruthless siren killer – this also ruined the lesson of Elian having to change the way he thought because he was clearly already unsure of himself. The minute that Elian finds out Lira is a siren the dialouge becomes painfully immature and the stakes of her keeping it a secret are made basically redundant as it takes him mere pages to be TOTALLY 100% FINE WITH HER BEING THE THING HE HAS DEDICATED HIS LIFE TO KILL. Lira and Elian’s ‘we’re the same’ comments got old fast too.
I could rant about how we learned nothing about the sirens other than the mention of a couple of them, how the ending was really unsatisfactory and how the final battle was boring but I won’t go into too much detail. The life of a siren is barely touched upon in terms of their culture and their day to day lives and I would be surprised is anyone would be convinced that the Saad crewmates were supposed to be hardened pirates when they are simply goofballs. The plot points of having a heart being a source of a siren’s power is never touched upon after a brief mention and the character’s make the most plot convenient realisations ever.
No hate to the author as it is still a fine book to read – it just could have been amazing with some changes. All in all this book was frustrating and disappointing but the brilliant concept is worth noting. I think the author shows real talent and promise but this book feels too rushed and unsure of itself. I do look forward to reading more books from her in the future though.
Rating out of 5: * * *