I’m always very sad when the book I have high (or even moderate) expectations for, ends up being a complete miss. «Songs from the Deep» by Kelly Powell promised a dangerous world where sirens weren’t a myth but a reality that tourists from all over the world came to witness.
Instead of following this fantastical thread, Kelly Powell led the plot differently. It often felt like the author couldn’t decide what genre she wanted to write, and ended up mixing mystery, fantasy, historical fiction (??), romance and a love letter to music. In turn, I found my mind wandering from one plot element to another, not able to focus or care about any of them.
The sea holds many secrets.
Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the deadly sirens who lurk along the shores of her island town. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he’s one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure.
Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike.
Thank you Netgalley and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, Margaret K. McElderry Books for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.
Set in a small town on an island famous for the presence of sirens, in «Songs from the Deep» we meet Moira Alexander and Jude Osric in their quest of unraveling the ill plot against the sirens, and the townsfolk.
WHAT I LIKED:
1 – Kelly Powell’s lyrical writing style, combined with the small-town setting, created a very atmospheric story. Even though I DNF’d this book at 86%, it wasn’t all that bad. In fact, I really enjoyed how the author used writing style to set the mood, portray the feelings of the townsfolk, and show us the life on the island.
This was my first “siren” book, and I enjoyed the little facts thrown here and there that described the danger of living in such proximity to sirens, but also the need to protect them from us, humans. Moira’s father was one of the supporters of the siren killing ban. He helped to implement it, and see it followed by everyone on the island.
I wish Kelly Powell would have focused more on sirens, on the fantastical element and left the mystery and the romance in the background.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:
1 – Despite the beautiful, lyrical writing, the plot and characters lacked purpose, which made it difficult to keep paying attention to the events in the book. «Songs from the Deep» is only 320 pages long, so I didn’t expect it to have so many unnecessary details. Especially the long paragraphs that described Moira’s violin, music, etc.
Halfway through the book I still didn’t see what the book was about. The sirens and the murder mystery seemed to come on and off focus, while we got excessive information about Moira’s whereabouts, Moira’s music, and Moira’s thoughts.
2 – Speaking about Moira, the book is written in the first person, and we read the story from her point of view. I expected to grow more and more attached to her as the story progressed, but somehow it had a different effect on me. In the beginning, I tried to like Moira, to understand what she was going through, but after many rude remarks and rather selfish acts, I gave up.
She was constantly rude to her mother, she was putting other people in danger, and the romance was (1) very convenient and predictable, but also (2) lacked the spark.
3 – The mystery murder wasn’t compelling enough to keep me reading. I should have DNF’d this book way earlier, but I made it to 86% and debated with myself for a couple of minutes if I should just read the final pages, find out the answer to the main question who did it and contentedly set it aside.
I wanted to… But I couldn’t.
Some GoodReads reviews were really positive, so I might go back and finish it at some point, but at the moment I will let it go to avoid driving myself into another reading slump.
As a result of my DNF, I didn’t rate the book. It was very slow, with a lot of irrelevant elements, and I wish I’d see in it more of positive things that people mentioned on GoodReads.