I have heard so many glowing reviews of this book, and was extremely vexed at how long it took me to get a copy. Finally, at long last, I had the book in my hands and I could only hope that it would live up to my expectations.
My heart immediately dropped when I opened it and found the dreaded first person-present tense. Nooooo! My least favorite POV in the entire universe. However, one thing I have noticed about reading books written this way is that they either fade away so I don't notice the narration and get lost in the story, or else they just grow more distracting. Thankfully, Storm Siren's narration did the former. While the author's writing style felt clunky at times and still isn't my favorite, I was able to get past it and enjoy the story.
But now we get to my real problem with the book.
I remember years ago reading reviews of books that criticized the books' lack of worldbuilding. I scoffed. World-building? Who cares? I was the type who skipped over descriptions because I wanted to get to the story. That stuff didn't matter. And I felt that way for a long, long time.
I'm telling you this because if I read this book even just a year or two ago, worldbuilding probably wouldn't have bothered me. But this book really suffered from the lack of it. Normally people can have crazy abilities and/or special rules in stories and I don't care if it's not explained. Besides, since this is the first book in a series, I assume that more will be explained in later books.
But what did bother me was the lack of atmosphere. Something about the book felt superficial, like we were only seeing the bare minimum that was required to understand the plot. I never got the "feel" of the culture or the landscape. Even the characters, aside from perhaps Nym, didn't have as much character development as I felt was needed. The worst part was, it came so close. I'd see hints in Breck, in Colin, in Eoghan, but was left wanting more. I've got a huge weakness for secondary characters, and I really wished that those in Storm Siren had been developed more,
However, I don't want you to come to the conclusion that I hated this book. I didn't! I actually thought the plot was really interesting, although it didn't always do what I wanted (more of Nym's crazy weather-bending abilities, please!) Plus, the cliff-hanger ending is making me really glad that I don't have to wait too long for the next book.
Storm Siren, while published through Thomas Nelson, is really a Christian crossover into the secular market- in fact, there are both Christian and secular authors' endorsements on the back (including one from The Lunar Chronicles' Marissa Meyer!). Indeed, on the surface this book appears to be totally secular, but looking deeper it's easy to see the Christian influence and elements (including a few paraphrased Bible verses that made me smile). Still, I would recommend it to older teens and up. There is some romance, and also a lot of war/violent themes. Also, there's some "fake" swearing, where the characters use nonsense words (that I assume are swear words in their culture?) as expletives.
Anyway, I hate rating this book a seven because that's the rating that usually gets dumped on the "meh" books that are neither good nor bad. Storm Siren wasn't "meh" but it did have some significant story issues that I hope get cleared up in the next books.
I received this book for free from booklook.com in exchange for my honest review.