Disclaimer: I read the advanced reader's copy (ARC) of this book; this book will be released on August 19, 2014. Undoubtedly, there will be minor changes between the version I read and the published version. I picked up the ARC at the 2014 ALA Conference.
...I have a confession. I definitely had a moment where the cover kept luring me in to reading the book. So I read the book. Then I kept trying to abandon the book, but the cover kept calling me back...like a siren. [/no shame]
An amazon summary, ""There are few things more exciting to discover than a debut novel packed with powerful storytelling and beautiful language. STORM SIREN is one of those rarities. I'll read anything Mary Weber writes. More, please!" -Jay Asher, New York Times bestselling author of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY
"I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don't want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you."
In a world at war, a slave girl's lethal curse could become one kingdom's weapon of salvation. If the curse - and the girl - can be controlled.
As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn't merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth - meaning, she shouldn't even exist.
Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.
Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she's being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.
But what if she doesn't want to be the weapon they've all been waiting for?
Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE
The main qualms I had with this book is that it tries to accomplish too much in too short of time, and the narrator. This was a very character driven book, but the narrator (Nym) was all over the place with how twisted her story was.
The book opens with Nym being a slave and sold at an auction. There's a big reveal when her hood is lifted and her hair is revealed to be white; signaling she's an elemental. Female elementals are allegedly impossible to exist plus there's a rule that all elementals are killed at birth because their powers are too crazy to control.
So Nym is seventeen, being sold for the fifteenth time, and can be provoked into unleashing her powers on fiends doing terrible things. Nym seems to loathe her powers as she can't control them and it's hinted that she's often sold again when she accidentally murders someone in her owner's keep.
...yet she hasn't escaped from being a slave even with all of her power...or been killed even though there would have been at least 14 instances of her elemental powers, especially if they have a very dedicated person out there killing elementals.... Perhaps she didn't want to escape because her parents are dead (she believes she killed them) but then she will remember how terrible every owner she's had has been. It's curious why she wouldn't seek to forge her own path considering the strong will of her character.
But moving away from those logical plot points, Nym is bought by a lady of the court. She's to be trained to control her powers and to use them to win the war. The lady of the court...is odd at best as she keeps a lot of deadly things around her castle; like carnivorous horses.
Nym meets her trainer and another boy who manipulates the earth. They have a long training sequence in the book where Nym not only trains to use her powers, but be passable in ball room type situations. Nym is constantly pulling a seesaw effect as she admires her trainer, yet hates her trainer for his twisted past, then she gets haunted by her own past, and then she admires her trainer some more, etc etc.
The book really had too much going on in. If the story had been spaced better with better developed secondary characters and a narrator who wasn't all over the place, it would have been a much more enjoyable read.
I was also very confused about the setting. I could never conjure a clear image of the country they were in. There was a segment of the book where they even go on a journey to a different city, and I know they went through some woods, but that's all I got. It seemed like a very 2D picture layout. I had no grasp on how big the country was either, and I had no grasp on how big the other countries were that are involved in the war.
The book holds a lot of promise, but it seems to be two books worth of content severely distilled and crammed into one book.
All of that being said, I did like the whimsical nature of magic in the story. I enjoyed how magic didn't have to make sense because it wasn't cleverly disguised as science. The magic was something more nature based and revolved around feeling/sensations. It was easier to accept what was presented because so much about magic is unknown in that world.
So, all in all, this book seemed like a nasty car crash, but for some reason I couldn't look away. Honestly, I'll probably read the second book even if it's the same situation; I just hope the book will be better fleshed out.