Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Siren's Storm, by Lisa Papademetriou

First published by Random House in 2011

A new summer is starting and both Will and his best friend Gretchen are troubled, recovering from a tragedy that took Will’s brother’s life the summer before. Gretchen’s sleepwalking is taking her closer and closer to the water, and Will is intrigued and a little bit beguiled by mysterious newcomer Asia, who has an unnatural effect on people. What is her story, and what do Will and Gretchen have to do with the sinister goings on in their sparkling summer town?

I’m seeing a trend. Vampire paranormal YA seemed to take well to the high school setting. Fallen angel books were all about boarding schools. Mermaids have got summer vacations covered all across the genre – nice for me, I guess – mermaids, the beach and young love – some of my very favourite things.

Siren’s Storm was another book that grew on me. When I first started reading I just thought: bleh. I couldn’t really find anything to like, and it all felt a bit juvenile. But it’s an easy enough read, and after a while I warmed to it.

I didn’t think the introduction of The Odyssey mythology blended into the story, or really suited it. For it to work, I think it needed to infuse all the pages, needed to be engrained more. Getting it in a chunk at the end kind of felt just like a way to give weight to a pretty lightweight story. A shame, because oh my goodness, I would love to read a book where bringing that kind of history and mythology into a modern story was done really well.

Also, the revealing of Gretchen’s true nature – I didn’t really get it, or what she was supposed to be. Once again, I would have liked to see that build up through the story, rather than just getting it in a scene at the end.

I liked Asia and Gretchen as characters. Will was okay. I actually really enjoyed reading from the male perspective, and I also liked all the details about his family business and his stall and the farm and the fact that Papademetriou actually gave him a life and hobbies away from the romance/mermaid plot. Some good supporting characters too, although the dialogue was perhaps just a little cringey.

Look, it’s an easy read, the writing is okay, and it will be interesting if you’re into the whole mermaid/siren thing. Plot wise and structurally I could pick a few holes. If I had really high expectations I would be disappointed. But I kind of just took Siren’s Storm for what it was, and in that way it’s pretty harmless.

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