YA Weekend: Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Storm SirenGenre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Series: Book #1 of The Storm Siren Trilogy

Publisher: Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins (August 19, 2014)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Tiara’s Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Narrator: Christine Stevens | Length: 9 hrs and 32 mins | Audiobook Publisher: Thomas Nelson | Whispersync Ready: Yes

In Storm Siren, we meet Nym, a young slave girl who has been sold fourteen times. Nym is an Elemental, a person who can summon the elements. However, she doesn’t know how to control them, which often leads to her unleashing them when she’s emotionally charged. She possesses the telltale signs of an Elemental, the white hair and unearthly blue eyes along with the powers. She shouldn’t exist, though, as all Elementals are born male. However, despite being female, her looks still make people uneasy.

Nym is carted off by her fifteenth owner, an eccentric woman named Adora, who wants to use Nym as a weapon in the war against another kingdom that is technologically superior to the kingdom of Faelen. She promises to provide Nym with the means to learn to control her power by providing a tutor while telling Nym that her only other alternative is death, which Nym has contemplated. Preying on Nym’s protective, caring, penitent nature, she tells Nym that defending Faelen would make up for all the death and destruction that she has caused in the lives of others. Nym takes the offer because she wants to learn to control her powers, and she does want to protect her home and its people regardless of the hardship she’s faced.

How do I describe how I feel about this book? This book caused much internal debate as I tried to figure out that out. I can’t say I ever connected with this book, but there were things that I liked about this. There were also things I really loathed about this. Some slight spoilers after the jump (YMMV), mainly because I think I used this review to process my feelings about this book. Also because I am curmudgeonly… and like gifs… 

I liked the idea of Nym, who is fairly straightforward and rebellious, being pushed into this world of political intrigue and having to learn to navigate this cutthroat affair. I love court intrigue, but I did wish it had been more fully-formed in this story, especially since there is a war being waged. The magic of the story was fascinating as we learn that Elementals aren’t the only magical beings that exist. I especially loved the idea of the Luminescent. This short summary from the book of their abilities piqued my interest: “Luminescents see on a spectrum. The more decided a person’s intentions, the clearer they become. And the stronger that person’s motivation is, supposedly the easier they are to predict.”

The main cast of characters brought out varied feelings in me. It took Nym a while to grow on me, mainly because every 30 seconds I was reading about how gifted she was but how she felt cursed topped off with the attitude whip cream and the angst cherry. I guess the obsessive, attitude-riddled, angsty nature of Nym’s personality is probably typical of a seventeen year old. However, I really felt for Nym’s struggle with her powers and how she felt she had to atone for the bad things that happened because of her powers. I thought Weber captured her pain and struggle there well. I appreciated Nym’s protective nature, too. She tries to distance herself because her feelings fuel her powers, but she can’t help caring about others, especially those who can’t defend themselves.

I liked Breck, Adora’s blind servant who has a healthy love of food and shows some intuition where people and situations are concerned. The all-knowing, all-seeing  blind girl (the Blind Seer trope, but again, as with most things in this book, not fully realized) might turn some people off because it’s so typical, but I thought Breck was a joy and wished there’d been more time to develop her.

With Breck, we have her twin, Colin. In their country, children gifted with Colin’s ability to manipulate the earth are always born with a twin. One is gifted and one is cursed. Nym asks early in the story which is which in Breck and Colin’s case. Colin made me roll my eyes so much while he repeatedly kissed his biceps and talked about his “magnificence.” There was something that felt somewhat immersion breaking about him in the beginning. Maybe because he talked liked your every day dudebro. There was an abundance of moments like this:

“What? She can’t kill me!” Colin scoffs. He shoots a smile my way and kisses one of his biceps. “Can’t kill magnificence.”

Which had me sitting here like this:

Dear Lord

#DearLord as modeled by Stefan Salvatore.

However, I thought Colin’s excitement craving bounciness was adorable, so it was hard for me not to like him in the end.

I didn’t like Adora. I know we’re not supposed to like Adora, but I didn’t dislike Adora because she’s antagonistic. I disliked Adora because she’s just some cardboard, mustache twirling mean crone that gets a cheap loathing reaction. There’s no depth to her, nothing truly memorable–except that she colors her hair outrageous colors and she throws memorable parties. She could’ve been a force, an antagonist that I would remember to years to come as a character I love to hate. All the ingredients were there to make Adora shine in her role, and then, she just doesn’t.

Evil as demonstrated by Maleficent.

Evil as demonstrated by Maleficent.

Eogan. I had sort of mixed feelings about his character. On one hand, I really liked him and wanted to know why he was so enigmatic. On the other hand, I got a little tired of the hot and cold, the nice jerk routine. However, as the story marched on, I settled into being mostly okay with him. He sounded cute, though, so I’ll give him a pass. Overall, I thought all these characters had the potential to be characters I really loved or really hated. There just needed to be more time exploring different aspects of their personality.

However, despite what I did enjoy about the story, all this was overshadowed by the “romance” portion of the story, which is some weird love rhombus involving Adora, Eogan, Nym, and Colin. It’s a typical case of the girl wanting Mr. Nice Nasty rather than the doting Mr. Nice Guy while the evil old crone wants Mr. Nice Nasty for herself and isn’t beyond threatening bodily harm against women she sees as threats. It got old for me fast.

I wanted to hear more about the world, the characters, the different magic in the world, and get a solid story about Nym becoming Sorceress Supreme. Instead, I’m treated to page after page of that drama while the main plot starts to falter behind this romance. How can you expect me to care about Faelen and the plight of these people when I keep reading about ALL THE FEELINGS?

All the feelings

ALL THE FEELINGS as shown by Castiel.

Even though there were some passages that tried to dredge up something like care about the people and what’s going on, it was easy to forget there was a war going on for most of the book. I’m not given the opportunity to care about these people or this war, and too much of the world feels flaky and shallow because of that. Weber glosses over things that could’ve really gripped me in favor of padding the romance even more.

At first, I thought I would rate this a 2.5, which isn’t necessarily bad. It’s a middling rating that, for me, says, “This was okay, but it could’ve been much better.” I went back and thought about this story, though, because it just felt like I should think a little more on what I did like about the story and how it balanced out against my feelings about what I didn’t like. I wanted to be fair to this book because I was excited about the premise and I thought I might’ve been overly critical.

After thinking about it, I conceded to myself that the ending along with Weber’s writing, which was achingly beautiful in some scenes, and some of the brilliance that pushed through I truly liked.  I liked the little bit of the world I did get to see. The war conflict was solid and played with some elements I thought were wonderful, even if I felt they weren’t explored. The idea of old world magic versus new world technology was intriguing. With that said, I would’ve really liked to have explored Bron’s technological war advances more. Nym’s plight, her pain, I cared about. I loved the whole idea behind this story. There’s a fount of great concepts here, but I just didn’t think it was executed extremely well.  So, I bumped the rating up just a little with that in mind.

In the end, though, the romance soured me a bit because that could’ve been time spent exploring the world and characters more. I don’t hate romance as long as it doesn’t overwhelm the overall story–barring the book isn’t a romance to begin with. This book just felt less about a story of a girl learning to control her powers, a girl atoning for past mistakes, to stop a war and more like a romance that everything else was secondary to. I wasn’t invested in the romance portion of this at all. The only compliment that I can give the romance is that it was a slow burn throughout the story rather than a rushed hookup.

Will I read the next book? Absolutely, I can’t just stop after it ended on that note. (And by the time this posts, I should be done with the second book and have a review waiting in the wings.) Hopefully, I’ll get more world/character building in this next book along with the romance. I’m optimistic that this will get better.

163a3-new3stars

 

More reviews of this series: Storm Siren (review by Mogsy)

21 Comments on “YA Weekend: Storm Siren by Mary Weber”

  1. Really nice, informative review. It sounded like a book I might like, but I reckon I would have the exact same problem as you, as I hate when the romance in a book that is not primarily a romance book overwhelms the actual story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You may tolerate it much better than I did. I meant to link back to my co-blogger’s review. I think she gave it nearly 4 stars. I’m just one of those readers that if you promise me one thing, then that’s what I want. I don’t want to feel like the writer dropped the ball by focusing on something completely different unless it’s done so masterfully that I have to say “Well done!”

      Like

      • I doubt it, I like my books to be relatively light on the romance front. I completely agree, I’m the exact same way, I want want I’m promised and if the author delivers something else then I won’t be happy, unless like you say it’s really good which doesn’t seem to be the case here.

        Liked by 1 person

        • She has really great moments in the book and the last third of the book was a heart pounder for the most part, but overall, much of the story focuses on the romance, and I use romance lightly since so much of it is her trying to interpret Eogan’s feelings while ignoring Colin’s and tiptoeing around Adora. It gave me a headache to be honest. LOL.

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          • It’s a shame because it sounds from your review as if this had the potential to be a really great book. Uh I hate that, the whiny heroine trying to figure out how the guy feels about her, they’re the worst.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. You finished reading the sequel, right? Not sure if I can get around to it with all my other books this summer, and who knows when I can? I’m also too damn impatient to wait to find out what happened earlier after that insane cliffhanger, to the point I don’t even care about spoilers, I just want to know if you-know-who is actually you-know-what! Please I beg you, you’ll have to tell me all about it. One of these days you and will have a chat over email 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I’m finished with the sequel and should be working on my review tonight after the kids go swimming and I do some chores because I’ve been neglecting house work this week. LOL.

      Like

    • I’ll be honest. There were times when I just had to put this book down because the romance annoyed me so much and I disliked how it distracted the overall story. If she’d told this story with the same balance she managed to tell the last third of this book, I’d have rated it so much higher.

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    • For most of the book, I was pretty sure it was going to get two stars at the worst, but because there were things that touched me as a reader, I’d pretty much settled on 2.5. However, I really liked the ending. There were still parts that made me grimace, but it was really solid. The romance was cloying for me, though. Great ideas, not so great execution.

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  3. Nice review, Tiara. My reaction to Storm Siren was pretty similar: I liked it enough to want to read the sequel, but I also had some issues with it. The main one being that I’m not used to reading fantasies writing in present tense… But maybe that’s the editor in me coming out. *shrugs* Looking forward to reading your thoughts on Siren’s Fury.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The tensing threw me off a little, too, but I’m a little more used to it with first person POV than, say, 3rd. I’ve noticed it’s used with many first person books, though. Not all, but I’ve read quite a few who do opt to go that route. I’m convinced that if this whole book had been as great as the last third of it, I would’ve really loved it. I was disappointed about the romance overtaking much of the book when I really wanted to know why I should care about this war.

      Like

  4. Awesome review! I liked Storm Siren and am excited to read the sequel, however, the reading experience wasn’t very memorable to me, probably for some of the reasons you listed above … The author seems very sweet though 🙂 Also, love the GIFs!!!

    Like

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  10. I read this book in 2016. I’m about to start book 2 right now and do not remember the first at all. Thanks for this review, it really helped. I wish I could remember that cliffhanger, though. Might have to reread the last few pages just to make sure.

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