Friday, August 14, 2009

The Siren by Kiera Cass

Author: Kiera Cass
Release Date: July 7, 2009
Category: Fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (+Gold Star)

After reading this story, it is taking everything in me to not totally gush; it is that good. The Siren is the story of Kahlen, mostly, along with her sisters and the Ocean. A siren is a singer, a singer of the Ocean. In order to maintain herself, the Ocean must feed; sirens help her to do that.

Kahlen and her “sisters,” Marilyn and Aisling, begin the story and you find out quite a lot of how sirens and their lives work. They are beautiful, they can live around regular humans, they can live semi-normal lives, but there’s a catch - they cannot age, which means staying in one place for more than a few years isn’t possible, and they cannot, under any circumstances, speak, laugh, scream, or make a sound outside of a sigh or breath around a human person.

There can be no more than four sirens at a time, and not everyone will choose to live the lives that these girls have agreed to. Their sentence is 100 years, after which the Ocean will return them and they will become normal again, and begin aging from whatever age they are frozen into (almost sounds like a dream come true at times). With only their “sisters” for company, it can become lonely, and for Kahlen that causes daydreams. That is, until one day while sitting on the beach she meets a man. He is beautiful, sad, lonely, in pain, and yet there is something about him that Kahlen can’t let go.

The Ocean warns Kahlen that no matter what happens, those must stay daydreams and she cannot chance their secret by letting her fantasies run away with her. Kahlen decides she wants to make a difference and takes up sign language, which transforms into spending a few years at schools for the deaf teaching children, and later teenagers, that being deaf isn’t always a bad thing.

Kahlen gets new “sisters,” Miaka and Elizabeth, who help transform her into something better than she ever imagined she could be. Miaka is creative and she is also Kahlen’s first “little sister,” while Elizabeth is wild and crazy, and brings out the fun and slightly mischievous side of Kahlen. Aside from Aisling being withdrawn and bitter (think Mr. Scrooge), you don’t know much about her for the most part, but she is a very important piece of Kahlen’s puzzle.

Once this human, Akinli, enters Kahlen’s world, nothing else seems to mean as much. Not even the secret that she is bound to keep, and with less than 20 years left on her sentence, will it all be destroyed because of this? Now Kahlen has found the one thing she has always wanted. Is the life she could have worth destroying the life she does have? Or can she have both?

More than anything, this is a story of love and hope. Whether that love be between sisters, family, lovers, strangers, or even love for yourself; it covers all the bases. Once I started, it was hard to stop, and I really didn’t want this story to end. There were numerous parts where I actually found myself tearing up, and that never happens! Some of these situations made me want to become a siren, and then there would be a moment that broke my heart.

Kiera Cass may be a first-time author, but I pray this is not her only book. This is truly a beautiful story all the way through. I love the imagery; it is phenomenal and almost makes you feel like you’re really there (and let me tell you, there were many times in the Ocean descriptions where the song Dark Blue by Jack’s Mannequin got stuck in my head. Thanks Kiera!).

It’s been a long time since I have seen a first-time author whose writing style is as beautiful as this, and she definitely has not only the talent to be a wonderful writer, but also the imagination to successfully tell a story that is not only entertaining, but also touching.

If there was one book that I would recommend this year so far, it would be The Siren. Just make sure you have time on your hands, because once you start you won’t be able to stop until the very end. Even then, I flipped back and forth over the final pages, hoping that there would be more magically appear before my eyes. After all, this is a fantasy!

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