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“There’s always room for love. Even if it’s as small as a crack in a door. That will be enough,” Kahlen. –The Siren
by Kiera Cass
Kahlen and her parents are on a luxury ship when suddenly the passengers begin jumping overboard and the ship sinks. In a panic, Kahlen calls out—she doesn’t want to die. The Ocean itself saves Kahlen and demands that she serve as a siren for 100 years. Kahlen and the other sirens use their beauty and deadly voice to lure humans to their deaths. Kahlen mourns for the strangers that she causes to die, but she is obedient to the Ocean who spared her life.
Kahlen loves her sisters but is looking forward to being released from her siren duties. In twenty years, Kahlen will be a regular human girl. But then she meets Akinli and falls hopelessly in love. Will she risk everything to be with the boy of her dreams? Or will the Ocean kill their love forever?
The story is told from Kahlen’s point of view. Much of the conflict in the story comes from the internal struggle of the sweet, submissive siren. After one date, Kahlen is so in love with Akinli that she cannot live without him. Akinli appears so infrequently that the readers will be left wondering why Kahlen is head over heels in love with him. Although their romance drives the story, there is not enough interaction and chemistry between the two to keep readers emotionally interested in the outcome of their tragic love story.
Although the siren’s world is interesting, most of the time the girls live on land, blending in with ordinary humans. Not only is the sea world underdeveloped, but so are Kahlen’s sister sirens. However, it is clear that the sirens care for each other and will go to any lengths to help each other. Having the Ocean as a character adds interest, but unfortunately, the possessiveness of the Ocean makes the sirens go to great lengths to hide their deeds from her. In the end, the Ocean is much like a possessive, overbearing mother who only thinks of her own needs.
Similar to Cass’s Selection series, The Siren is an easy-to-read story that follows one girl’s struggle. However, The Siren lacks the action of the Selection series. The Siren is like Romeo and Juliet without the fight scenes. For readers who don’t mind spending an entire book reflecting on one character’s internal struggle, The Siren will be an enjoyable read.
- Elizabeth goes to bars to find men where she is “quietly luring boys to bed.” She goes home with the men. “Elizabeth could regularly go to a stranger’s apartment, be as intimate as two people could be. . .”
- Elizabeth says she has “shared plenty of . . . fluids with human men.”
- Akinli and Kahlen kiss twice. “With my face still cupped in Akinli’s hand, he kissed me. It was brief, but it was enough to send fireworks running down my veins.”
- When explaining the background of sirens, Kahlen thinks about a siren that “used her voice to make three girls who had teased her jump into a well . . . She’d put an entire town in an uproar, and the Ocean had silenced her to keep our secret.” Another Siren “murdered a household of people in the night, including an infant, in an outburst. . .”
- Padma’s father tried to kill her because girls are “too expensive.” When the sirens find her in the ocean, her clothes, “Had been viciously ripped at. There were fresh bruises all over her arms and legs, but most horrifically, when we followed the trail of welts to her ankles and wrists, we saw there were cinder blocks tied to her, keeping her trapped.”
- The sirens cause a cruise ship to crash and all the people on the ship die. “All around us, people plunged into the water, their fine dresses and slacks seeming grotesque against the backdrop of so much death. . . We sang until the last scream quieted, until the ship was resting on the Ocean floor.” The scene is described over three pages.
- When a homeless man attacks Elizabeth, “She whispered in his ear to get him off her, and he threw himself into the Hudson.”
- When the sirens cause a ship to crash, one man calls out to the girls until his voice was “thicker with gargled water” and then he died.
- Padma and two others kill Padma’s parents because “none of us could allow her to live in the same world as her abusers did.” Their murder is not described.
- The Ocean threatens to kill Padma. The Ocean “ripped Padma from Elizabeth’s arms, holding her in a vice grip of nothing but water. Padma screamed, trying to move her arms, but was completely paralyzed.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Kahlen goes out with her siren sisters and had “two drinks, hoping to take the edge off my nerves.”
- Elizabeth goes to bars to pick up men. One evening, she chooses a boy who had “more to drink that she realized, and he passed out at their table.”
- Akinli shows Kahlen a picture of him and another guy; the other guy “had a beer in his hand.”
- One of the characters says his roommate, “took lessons in how to be an ass.”
- Damn is used twice.
- Crap is used once.
- Hell is used three times. For example, Kahlen yells at the Ocean, “Get the hell out of my head!”
- The story revolves around sirens who are “servants to the Ocean” for a hundred years.
- The Ocean is a living being that must feed on humans to survive.
- The Ocean changes the girls into sirens. When Padma is changed, “The Ocean opened Padma’s mouth and forced a strange, dark liquid down her throat. . .” The change makes it so that the girls do not age, but their voices are deadly.
- Akinli and Kahlen are dying from a mysterious illness. The Ocean explains, “If he hadn’t heard your voice, he’d be fine. . . Now, what happens to one body happens to the other. And since your voice has taken hold of him, killing him slowly, you fall down with him.”
- Kahlen said a prayer.