Reading Level/Genre:: Young Adult/Fantasy
Publisher: July 7th 2009 by iUniverse.com
I'm so freaking mad at this book. I really don't know where to begin, other than with telling myself not, -NOT- to get that upset, it's just a book and BAD books happen. But this one happened to ME.
I'm not going to write a proper synopsis either. I'm just going to spew. And type various things in all caps.
First, this story has a gorgeous premise- the elusive sirens that for centuries have lured sailors and ships to their deaths with their seductive voices. In this author's telling, the Ocean chooses four girls from its victims, four that ask to live and gives them the chance at a second life. They can chose to become a siren, and serve the Ocean for a hundred years or they can let the Ocean consume them. They must promise complete obedience to the Ocean, heed it's call and perform the dreadful task of taking lives in order to feed the Ocean and vow to keep it's secrets. They can only speak to each other since the sound of their voices, even their laughter can drive people to madness and costs lives. They have to sing and watch as the Ocean consumes countless victims, year after year. In return, at the end of their sentence they are allowed to return to life, at the age they were taken and live out their remaining years as a mortal. They will also have no memory of their previous life, or of their hundred years of service to the Ocean.
I was hooked on just that. All parts of the story that told of the siren's involvement with the Ocean were breathtaking. Kahlen is the one siren that has really bonded with the Ocean, truly loves her and can see past what she asks of her to do, to the heart of an immense being that gives and gives to our world so that it can exist. Kahlen finds in the Ocean, a mother that listens to her, cares for her and holds her while she cries and feels the same pain as Kahlen when she is required to take lives. For the Ocean, Kahlen is a beloved daughter, a best friend and confidant and someone who's heart and soul she loves and admires. I think I cried about sixteen times in this book. It was such a beautiful relationship, this discovery that Kahlen still has someone to call mother, a family.
From here on in we have spoilers:
And then...comes Akinli, the mortal boy our siren falls in love with. OK, this is good, I can dig this. Akinli has zero personality and since Kahlen can't speak he has to carry the conversation. Akinli says stupid shit. Akinli is a flat character and I see nothing in him that would lure a mythical creature to jeopardize all she's accomplished (she's near the end of her 100 year sentence) and we accept him as the object of her affection simply because the writer tells us to, not that he in any way entices you to believe it. So I yawn through those parts hoping we'll get back to the Ocean and I'm dying for the Ocean's reaction to her daughter's secret. For a week Kahlen lives in Akinli's cousin's Ben's house and they watch football.
Sorry I fell asleep. Then something stupid and mundane happens and Kahlen decides that since she was going to have to leave him anyway she'd just go now. Yup, true love there. So she goes back to the ocean, all heart broken and sniveling and it is in this part that fire shoots out of my eyes and burns holes in the pages of the book.
Kahlen starts thinking/talking about God. OK, I'm on board. The writer has done really well up until this point in portraying the greatness that is the Ocean and nature and the holistic circle of life that its great force provides. Then she starts on about their being something even bigger than the Ocean and I'm still OK, she's on to something here and I think for a moment that she gets it. She gets how to approach this subject within the context of the story... Until she says it's the father, son and the holy spirit that has domination over the Ocean and I stop dead, turn the book over and wonder when Amway started publishing fantasy. Please do not sneak Christianity into my fantasy fiction. Do not place shamelessly inappropriate religious undertones in my stories about mythical creatures. Since where the author ended up had absolutely nothing to do with the story I can only conclude that it was product placement and propaganda. I'm flabbergasted. How did we get here? We were nowhere NEAR here. We were not even in the same universe as here and yet that's where she wants us to be. It had NOTHING to do with the story. Had it I would have been fine, but you wouldn't start rambling about the appeal of PC over Mac or vice verse in the middle of a book about blood sucking vampires would you? It would be stupid because that's not what the story is about. Write ONE story. If you want to write ANOTHER ONE, do it in ANOTHER book. So yeah, she lost her story and the book ended with the siren's and the ocean's good bye- for me at least. To add further insult to injury, after that heart wrenching ending with the ocean where she in essence loses her mother again and a mother loses a child we switch to Akinli telling the story. Huh? So now he's telling the story and Kahlen is irritating the piss out of me and the whole thing...the whole thing seems so very wrong that I want to shake the book and throw rocks at it.
Taking a beautiful story and KILLING it makes bunnies cry but I give five stars for the Ocean because man was it beautiful. The emotion that the author's writing conveyed in what I consider to be the -actual- story in the book, was breathtaking, so I know she CAN write. She had me, she'd probably have you too. It still earns a sigh of sad remembrance even days later because it was that good. But she dropped the ball and her story and on the whole it was crap.
And this was a finished copy that I purchased and it had typos throughout. Hiss. Boo. Plus it has a horrible cover featuring a disheveled girl wearing a bed sheet and her granny bra is showing.