Friday, February 24, 2012

SIREN by Tricia Rayburn

Tricia Rayburn

Rating: A-

Description from
Seventeen-year-old Vanessa Sands is afraid of everything--the dark, heights, the ocean--but her fearless older sister, Justine, has always been there to coach her through every challenge.  That is until Justine goes cliff diving one night near the family's vacation house in Winter Harbor, Maine, and her lifeless body washes up on shore the next day. 

Vanessa's parents want to work through the tragedy by returning to their everyday lives back in Boston, but Vanessa can't help feeling that her sister's death was more than an accident.  After discovering that Justine never applied to colleges, and that she was secretly in a relationship with longtime family friend Caleb Carmichael, Vanessa returns to Winter Harbor to seek some answers.

But when Vanessa learns that Caleb has been missing since Justine's death, she and Caleb's older brother, Simon, join forces to try to find him, and in the process, their childhood friendship blossoms into something more.  
Soon it's not just Vanessa who is afraid.  All of Winter Harbor is abuzz with anxiety when another body washes ashore, and panic sets in when the small town becomes home to a string of fatal, water-related accidents . . . in which all the victims are found grinning from ear to ear.  

As Vanessa and Simon probe further into the connections between Justine's death and the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance, and that will change her life forever.

My thoughts on the book:
I really enjoyed Siren, and it kept me hooked from the very beginning. Rayburn jumps right into character development by allowing the reader to get to know Vanessa and her deepest darkest fears right away. Instead of Vanessa saying, "oh, I have deep dark fears," she relays stories of how she's been afraid of silly things, such as the dark, and how her sister always tricked her into not being afraid anymore. These stories in place of a statement is what I mean when I say showing instead of telling. Rayburn does an excellent job of showing the inner workings of Vanessa's mind in this novel. However, the emotional showing is a little bit lacking. She doesn't talk about physical reactions, and instead just says things, such as, "I blushed." Saying she felt the heat crawling up her neck and into her face or something to that effect would have been a more compelling way to word it. Overall, though, Siren is an excellent read, and the writing is definitely top notch. 

Vanessa is a likable character, and while her fears get a bit annoying sometimes, she's still somewhat easy to relate to. I mean I'm not scared of the dark and haven't been since I was maybe three years old, but I do have irrational fears (bugs, for example), just like we all do. Vanessa just seems to be a bigger pansy than most. She's a goodhearted character, though, and that shows in every page of the book. She's also fairly independent and strong, even though she is a scaredy cat.

Simon is a terrific character. One of the things that kind of bugged me in this novel is that I still have no idea what Simon looked like. Rayburn never described him that much. I know he's tall, has filled out, and wears glasses. Past that, I don't even know what color his eyes were. This caused me to keep reinventing how he looked in my head, which sidetracked and confused me. Some people like the vague character descriptions, but for the leading man, I do not. Vanessa's vague descriptions were fine, even though I knew more what she looked like than Simon. I can see the purpose of not describing the character whose POV we are reading because then any reader can picture herself in the narrator/main character's place. For the leading guy, though, I feel like there needs to be at least a general description. Eye color and hair color are a must for this, in my opinion. 

There wasn't a lot of action in Siren, but there was a lot of mystery. I had quite a few things figured out early on, but there were a few surprises as well. Authors don't surprise me very often, so I enjoyed the feeling of actually not knowing what was going to happen next sometimes. This novel was more suspenseful and mysterious than action-packed. 

The plot was complicated, but I never felt lost or confused. Rayburn did a terrific job of explaining the world she created without reciting the facts like a list of rules and regulations. She showed us a lot of the rules instead of telling us, and I'm sure you guys know by now that I like showing and not telling. The ending tied things up nicely, but left some questions unanswered for the sequel.

The pacing was pretty spot on. The story was fast moving without feeling rushed. I didn't feel like the book ever lagged, and I was interested until the very last page. 

Siren is a terrific story of mermaids, mythology, love, and loss. It's a fantastic book, and I can't wait to read Undercurrent

Want to buy Siren?


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  1. great review, I have this on my list, cant wait to read it! x


  2. Sounds interesting. I agree with the whole 'showing not telling' thing, it makes for a better story.

  3. Hmmm...sounds like a book to add to my TBR.


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