Hello humans! How is it humanly possible that this is another retelling? Seriously? This year I have read more retellings than I have encountered almost my entire reading ‘career’ thus far. However much I complain, I still adore retellings with a huge portion of my heart and a lot of these have been really good. This one, however, was particularly awesome.
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
It’s The Little Mermaid but with sirens instead of mermaids (and there are still mermaids and they are even cooler than normal mermaids so that’s phenomenal too!). I cannot convey how excited I was to read this book. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted, it’s got a smattering of well-written romance, it’s got buckets of romance and it has a love for the ocean at its core.
Back when I used to do songwriting that wasn’t for musicals, essentially all of my songs ended up being about the sea in one way or another. I blame the fact that I was brought up in the south of England with the sea only a half hour or so away, being in such a landlocked place – Oxford, I do miss it, and books like this which can take me back there are all the more precious.
The characters of this book were what won me over. The book is dual POV between Princess Lira and Prince Elian, both of whom are fleshed out, interesting and multi-faceted characters. On top of that, you have a host of supporting characters, all of whom I would gladly read a spin-off novel about (please?). It helps that the vast majority of side characters are pirates, I just adore pirates. You see how this book was pretty much all of my favourite things put into one book?
I think that one thing some people might take issue with is that some of the romance has a couple of elements of ‘insta-love’ in it. I was somewhat worried when things happened like warm tingly feelings when two characters touched, that romance was going to take over this gloriously murder-y book. In actual fact, despite those few moments, the romance builds at a fairly natural pace (as natural as these things ever come in a novel).
But clearly, it was the dark elements of this book that grabbed my heart (when you’ve read this book you’ll see why that’s a joke) and wouldn’t let go. Lira’s mother is a classically terrifying villain, Lira and Elian are both killers in one way or another and most of the crew are more than a bit morally dubious. This makes for a story that smacks more of the gruesome nature of original fairytales than any of the softened Disney-esque versions. Even with that in mind, this story and this writing felt incredibly new to me. By which I mean, they felt refreshed and filled with the energy of someone with a lot more amazing books to come.
I’m obsessed with this book, I may need to order a copy for everyone I know. Of all the retellings I have read so far this year (a lot) I think it may have been my favourite.
Should you read this? Absolutely. If this has even slightly piqued your interest please go out and order yourself a copy, you won’t regret it!
My rating: 5/5 stars
By the way, I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Want to get excited about this book with me, want to design a siren makeup collection (because this seems the logical jump from mermaids and unicorns)? Let me know in the comments below!