Kiera Cass, The Siren . HarperCollins Australia, 1 Feb 2016, 327pp., $16.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780008157937
The main characters in this fantasy novel are loosely based on the Sirens of Greek mythology who lured mariners to their death. The rest of the novel and the construction of the secondary world, however are original and intriguing. The tale covers the life the sirens lead, their allegiance to the Ocean, portrayed as a stern but supposedly loving mother, and one young human man who interacts with one siren in ways that completely disrupt the stability of both worlds.
Fundamentally it is a story about love in all its guises and its power for growth, goodness and destruction and its ability to bring out the best and the worst of emotions in different protagonists. As a narrative it can be read in a number of ways, depending on what aspects of love the reader chooses to foreground. Probably for most teenage readers (the perceived audience), this will be the romance with all its drama and tension, but for other readers it can also bring to mind the destructive qualities of love that arise through jealousy and possessiveness, so prominent in our society at the present time, especially with the focus on domestic abuse. At another subliminal level there is also a Christian reading embedded with the view of a stern but loving God who governs all within our world.
Whichever way readers choose to engage with the text, there is plenty of passion, soul searching, mystery and suspense embedded within the different layers of narrative. Suitable mainly for teenage girls.
Reviewed by Sue Clancy