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.
©2010 Tricia Rayburn (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Rayburn's modern-day, edgy spin on siren mythology combines suspense, dark drama, and romance. Vanessa is an appealing protagonist, whose detailed narrative incorporates well-drawn issues, from grief to relationship complexities." (Booklist)
After having just listened to a real stinker of a book, this book, Siren, was a great relief in its compelling and emotional suspense. Vanessa Sands is a very likable heroine, and her struggles and concerns wrapped me up quite successfully. I found the romance compelling - thank God the author forewent descriptive, gratuitous sex, though there is one episode that isn't described. Although I had guessed some of the ending before I read it, the relationships and action kept me engaged until the end.
My caveat, and the reason I only gave this 4 stars, is twofold:
1. Though I don't want to reveal too much, let's just say that I am a sucker for a nice wrapped-up package, and unless the author has a killer sequel that somehow miraculously extends out the resolution in a satisfactory manner, I did not like the very, very end. That does not take away from my recommendation for listening to the book.
2. A very small irritation, the narrator, though expressive, had weird, gasping little breaths that sometimes took away from my enjoyment of her narration. Also, some of the male voices came across as if she were reading the three bears and trying to do Papa Bear's gruff tone. Only slightly annoying.
Despite my very small dissatisfactions, I recommend this book for a good, fantasy-type novel with a bit of romance.
Devourer of all books fantasy
I had been wanted to read this book for some time. I ended up getting it to listen to on audiobook at one of Audible's book sales. It was an okay book, while there wasn't anything technically wrong with the story I had a lot of trouble engaging with the story or the characters.
I listened to this on audiobook and I don't recommend it. The narrator had a breathy, cutesy voice that bothered me. I think the sounds of the narrator's voice made me like the main character even less than if I had been reading about Vanessa in paperback.
Vanessa and Justine are sisters. They spend every summer at Winter Harbor with their family. Vanessa is scared of everything and Justine is fearless. Then one night everything goes wrong; Justine gets in a fight with their mother and storms out of the cabin...the next day she is dead. Two weeks after Justine's death Vanessa can't help but feel something isn't right. She journeys back to Winter Harbor to confront Justine's boyfriend about what really happened that night. Little does Vanessa know that she is going to be entagled in doings beyond her wildest imaginings.
Okay so my main problem with this book is that it is named Siren. Guess what Vanessa spends the whole book doing? Well, she is trying to figure out what is killing people in the waters outside of Winter Harbor. I felt like shaking her the whole book and saying "Duh, it's Sirens! Obviously!" It would have been better to title the book something that doesn't totally give away the mystery that the characters spend most of the book trying to solve.
Enough griping about that. This is one of those high school kids go away for the summer and solve some seaside mystery sorts of books. It moves pretty slow, Vanessa is kind of dense, and of course she has to fall in love with the boy who helps her unravel the mystery. I am not sure why but this book constantly reminded me of Moonglass by Jessi Kirby. Granted this book has more supernatural activity; but it also has that same feeling of high school age characters slowing getting over grief and slowly solving a mystery.
Vanessa was hard for me to engage with as a character; she is always uncertain and always scared. She grows a little in this story but not much and I found her difficult to be inspired by and hard to relate to. She was also incredibly dense, she just didn't understand things and how they related and it frustrated me.
A lot of the characters in this book are fairly forgettable. They must be because I had trouble even distinguishing some of them from each other. I didn't realize this was part of a series. By the times things are actually picking up pace and getting somewhat interesting the book ends.
Overall this was an okay book. There isn't technically anything wrong with it. I just found the characters to be lackluster, the story predictable, and the mystery slow-moving and difficult to stay engaged with. So far I remain unimpressed with all of the Siren YA books I have read. I did think that Lost Voices by Sarah Porter was better than this book but not a ton better. I won't be reading any more of this series.
interesting, believeable, good listening
This is the first book i have read or heard of Nicloe Barber and i enjoyed it so will be looking for more of her titles in audio.
I enjoyed listening to siren, i could easily keep up with the story each time i turned it back on. Tricia Rayburn has an amazing voice that is easy to listen to and makes each character come alive in your mind.
I am looking forward to listening to the next book in this series.
This book was easily the most juvenile and superficial thing I have ever listened to on Audible. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't any good either. The characters are not even remotely developed or interesting, and all of them seem like caricatures of real people. The protagonist's reaction to her sister's death is completely surreal and nonsensical. I understand that this is fantasy, but it was not even remotely believable. The myth of the sirens wasn't even fully explored. And right at the end, one of the major characters in the story has a huge character change that comes out of nowhere. The plot was extremely predictable and contrived. I could have told you the plot twist just from looking at the cover of the book. And I would've appreciated an epilogue. I had major issues with the narrator. Her tone was extremely precarious and tentative, as if she weren't sure she was reading the right passage. She was entirely too careful and timid and not at all emphatic when appropriate. I also agree with another reviewer, she breathes very strangely and does these little gasping breaths between sentences. I did not enjoy this book.
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