(first published July 9th, 2009)
Kahlen is a siren – beautiful, magical, and deadly. In her service to the Ocean, she must sing her toxic song to lure seafarers – not just men, but women and children as well – to their watery graves. The Ocean sustains all life on earth, and must be sustained in return. 80 years into her 100 years of service, Kahlen is still not entirely happy with this life, despite her love for the Ocean and her sisterhood of sirens. After a singing, she mourns over the lives she has taken. She sees them in her dreams. She is consumed by sorrow and guilt over the lives she has taken to feed the Ocean. She knows that it must be done to keep all life in balance, but she still hates doing it.
She becomes even more dissatisfied with her life when she meets Akinli, a boy who changes everything. Even though she cannot speak to him (for a siren’s words are like poison that compel people to throw themselves into the Ocean), Akinli is drawn to Kahlen. It is difficult not to be drawn to sirens because of their otherworldly beauty and perfection, but it is clear that she is more than just a beauty to Akinli. He sees her wit, her old-fashioned charm, her intelligence in all of the words she can’t say. Little does he know that she is a siren.
And they fall in love.
Of course, we have reached our conflict of the story. As you have probably guessed, sirens and humans cannot be together. Sirens, during their 100 years of servitude, belong to the Ocean. In 20 years, Kahlen knows that she will be released from the Ocean and made human again, with no memory of ever having been a siren. But by then, Akinli surely would have moved on, wouldn’t he?
Will Kahlen and Akinli’s love be stong enough to overcome the waves?
I definitely enjoyed this debut book by such a captivating writer. Kahlen’s story of love and loss is as beautiful and as deep as an ocean. If you get can get through some of the darkness amidst the deaths at sea, you might enjoy this modern-day fairytale as I did.
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