The Siren by Kiera Cass

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Kahlen is a Siren, bound to serve the Ocean by luring humans to watery graves with her voice, which is deadly to any human who hears it. Akinli is human—a kind, handsome boy who’s everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. Falling in love puts them both in danger…but Kahlen can’t bear to stay away. Will she risk everything to follow her heart?1

My inner teenage girl absolutely loved the whole Selection series and novellas by Kiera Cass.  Normally when you find an author that has a series or more than one book you like you tend to look at all the books they have written and read those as well.  While I loved the Selection Series it took me quite a long time to check out The Siren.  Written well before her success with the Selection series, Cass takes us on a unique adventure to the sea.  We may be expecting mermaids, but what we get is something closer to the Greek mythology than any form of mermaid.

It was the 1950’s and kahlen is on vacation with her family.  Her and many other families were enjoying their time on a ship until a sudden storm threatened to capsize the ship.  When a strange and melodic sound is heard, the people onboard the ship begin to make their way on deck, despite the storm, and begin to hurdle themselves over the rail to be near the sound.  Struggling against the soothing sound Kahlen begs for her life before a calm falls over everything.  A strange voice confronts her and questions whether she would truly do anything to stay alive.  I imagine that most people would be willing to make such a bargain in such a crisis, but Kahlen did not truly know what kind of bargain she would be making.

The ocean is a living being, a spirit that helps the entire world, but in return she must also take.  With the aid of her carefully selected Sirens, the ocean will speak to the girls and inform them when it is time to sing.  Mysterious shipwrecks are chalked up to urban legends and tragedies, but there are a few girls who know differently.  The Sirens serve the ocean for a period of 100 years where they do not age and they do not get sick as they stay in a perpetual state of beauty.  Once their time of serving is done they are placed back into human society, their memories wiped, to live out the rest of their lives.  Though the Sirens are immortal, if they disobey the ocean she can easily destroy them.  The girls must live among humans without anyone discovering their true identities.  Each one stunningly beautiful makes this difficult to begin with, but they are also marked by their muteness.  The girls can speak to each other, but if they speak to humans the sound of their voice causes them to instantly sacrifice their life to the ocean.

Kahlen, the oldest of the current group of Sirens has served 80 out of her 100 year sentence, but when she meets the human named Akinli, their relationship threatens to compromise her remaining 20 year sentence and also threatens both Kahlen and Akinli’s lives.

Though I should have known differently from the title I just assumed the book would be about mermaids.  The concept of Sirens is usually only heard in passing when discussing Greek mythology and was an intriguing knew topic for a young adult novel.  Cass creates a world of these young and beautiful girls who are also extremely dangerous.  A story of life and destruction that mirrors the give and take cycle of the ocean and the world.  There are many interesting qualities about the story and I enjoyed the interactions between the characters, but I was not quite as wrapped up in the story as I was with the Selection series.  The Siren tickles at my interests in the new and the fantastical, but it failed to ignite any burning desires for my inner teenage girl that I had been hoping for.  A fun and different read but highly suggest reading the Selection series if you have not already.

  1.  Book summary courtesy of Kiera Cass webpage.
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