Just a middle-brow reader who loves a good story, recipe or how-to.
Storm Siren is a story of a young woman with extraordinary and uncontrolled powers, enslaved, vilified and blamed for deaths that occur around her. When she is bought by Adora, a scheming and lecherous court advisor, she is thrown into a political world that she may not survive. Training as both a spy and a weapon, she manages to form tentative friendships with a blind servant with a curious accent that is singular to her in the story, Breck, and her brother, Colin. Nym and Colin, a cheerful, likeable big guy with Terrene powers, are trained by the more mysterious Eogan. Eogan is clearly a love interest nearly from his introduction, an aspect I found to be handled very well throughout the story.
Nym is nearly everything you look for in a YA heroine. She is smart, tough, and loyal. She is beautiful but not perfect, with a physical handicap courtesy of a former owner. I love how filled with wonder she is when she sees the Valley of Origin (which I'm hoping will be revisited in more detail in book 2 or 3 of the trilogy). What I don't like, though it makes sense in the context of the story, is that she practices self-harm in reaction to her feelings of guilt over deaths she feels she has caused. Having known some individauls who had past issues with cutting, it threw me out of the story each time as I wondered what their reactions would be to reading this.
I enjoyed all of the fantasy aspects to this story. Nym's talent as an Elemental, Colin's more earthbound Terrene abilities, Eogan's abilities, the lore of the Draewolf, even the flesh-eating warhorses. While there were a few instances where an unfortunate word choice would stop me in my reading tracks, I quickly forgave them as the language of a fantasy world often has quirks that take getting used to. And there are some fantastic words, among them 'bolcrane,' both the name of a beast and almost a swear word.
Thankfully the political machinations weren't too detailed or overdone and the world-building was more of a slow reveal, which works so much better for me than huge passages of info-dumping. I also appreciated that the font changed when a chapter started out with one of Nym's nightmares.
Though not all are unexpected, the twists and turns do keep you on your toes. The writing and plot keep you wanting to read on and the ending - oh, that ending! It may not be an original device, but it took my breath away. Well done, Mary Weber! I'm almost afraid to start book 2, Siren's Fury...almost.
Highly recommended for those who enjoy fantasy, somewhat impudent first person narration, political intrigue, traveller's carnivals, powers that are difficult to control, friendship and betrayal, triumphs and heartbreak, the question of good versus evil, and a powerful slave girl who begins in abject misery only to find herself fighting alongside kings.
This review was originally posted with a few brief quotes from the book on my blog, bookworlder. wordpress.com