The Siren was the first book written by Kiera Cass, author of The Selection series. It was originally self-published, but after the author’s success, was bought by HarperCollins, re-edited and re-released in January 2016.
I totally devoured this book. I loved every word of it. Light yet deep, haunting but addicting and seriously page-turning. The story follows a girl named Kahlen who is spared during a shipwreck, in exchange for a 100-year sentence to serve the Ocean as a murderous siren. Kahlen struggles to come to terms with all the innocent lives she must claim to feed the Ocean. All she wants is to fall in love and get married someday, after her awful sentence is over, yet she meets the boy of her dreams too soon. Charming college student Akinli is joy-giving and full of life, but the mysterious Kahlen brings only death with the sound of her voice. While she cannot speak to Akinli for this reason, their souls still connect in an unbreakable bond.
But this book is far, far more than a love story. It’s a unique mythology unlike any mermaid book I’ve yet read (indeed, the sirens don’t have fish tails) with careful, gentle but not over-the-top world-building. Kahlen’s siren “sisters” make this more a story of true friendship, of sisterhood. Even the spirit of the loving but frightfully possessive Ocean is a fascinating character that leaves the reader aching for more backstory. A melancholy note rings throughout the course of the novel, adding to its poignancy.
The only thing I wondered about was why the main character had such a modern name like “Kahlen” when she was supposed to have been originally born sometime between the 1920s and 50s. Also, since the plot of the book and Kahlen’s fate was so entwined with Akinli, I’d have liked to see more scenes with him. Overall, a great read and I couldn’t put down my Kindle until I was finished. If urban fantasy, chick lit, beach reads, chaste romances, mythology, mermaids or YA appeal to you, then this is the book for you.