Storm Siren by Mary Weber
Storm Siren #1
Published: August 19th 2014 by Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins
“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.
*An ARC was provided by Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.*
Storm Siren was one of those books that I knew I needed even before it came out. I am a HUGE fan of elementals and elemental magic so that bit was a no-brainer. The synopsis seemed original to boot with an elemental female who shouldn't exist being saved from a life of slavery and trained as a weapon to save kingdoms. Despite all this promise though, Storm Siren ended up falling flat by focussing on a questionable 'romance' instead of elaborating on plot, villains and tying up loose ends.
Sigh, will I ever learn to not be lured in by the pretty covers? I sure hope so because it seems like I'm on a bridge to nowhere with these debut novels lately. Admittedly, Storm Siren started off promising enough, tying into the blurb nicely we got introduced to a broken and jaded MC with exceptional powers that she can't seem to control. Elementals in this world are killed at birth, and what's more: there's never been a female elemental. Like, ever. Nym believes she is cursed and since she keeps being sold from slaver to slaver, it's obvious that her previous owners tend to agree. Until finally someone sees her for what she truly is and offers her a choice: train to become a weapon to defend Faelen from impending war or die. Obviously she chooses to begin training and that's where her whole life changes.
Within her lavish new owner's house, Nym is still a slave but being taught to control her curse makes it all worth it for her. Soon she meets other people with gifts, and training together becomes their sole purpose - when their eccentric and cruel mistress isn't forcing them to attend extravagant parties as spies that is. It's about at this point where Storm Siren began to falter. There's something of a budding love-hate relationship that begins to surface and takes up most of the story's focus. The two main boys in the story become potential love interests with the classic nice guy being ignored while the MC focuses all her energies on the jerk who's only nice to her in between being jerky. Notice that I avoided using the word ''romance'' because to me there was nothing remotely romantic about their interactions. I'm sure some would disagree with me but it doesn't change how I felt reading this one.
The best part of Storm Siren for me was in fact the elemental magic. It's the reason I was attracted to the book to begin with and it's what I was hoping would be the main focus of the story. Unfortunately, Nym's powers and their evolution seem to take a backseat for the better part of the story. The elemental bits only really became front and center at the very end - with a few notable exceptions. Sure we see her training a lot and struggling to harness her powers but all those scenes are tainted with supposed 'romantic' tension and frustrations. It seemed to me that even the character development suffered by this relentless focus on building some sort of a love story.
As an MC, Nym was likeable enough but I would have liked her a lot better had the 'romance' been completely removed from the equation...or at least put on the sidelines. I really enjoyed Colin though but I feel his character wasn't given the attention he deserved. Colin's twin sister Breck was another character I liked but I found myself forgetting she was supposed to be the same age as Nym and Colin. For some reason she came off like she was around 10-11 years old instead of being a teen like the rest of them. And then there's Eogan. *groan* Eogan didn't seem to be able to decide what the hell kind of a man he was. He oscillated from being a jerk to being something of a nice guy but I could never tell if he was lying or being sincere. Nym couldn't either but she seemed to have less of a problem with it than I did >.<
Similarly, the world-building in Storm Siren was decent but it took a backseat to other points of interest. There were some nice descriptions of their surrounding areas as they moved around but even now I feel like I know little about Faelen and it's structure. Nym was training to defend the people of Faelen but I found I didn't care much about the city and it's plight. For whatever reason though, I kept reading. I always hold out some hope that the ending might turn things around with a book like this. The ending was action packed enough to keep my interest but when the dust settled, there were simply too many loose ends for me to feel satisfied. And that twist right at the end was surely meant to build tension for a sequel but it only annoyed me further. Like WTF?!
Truth be told, Storm Siren had a lot of potential but the focus on lackluster romantic tension simply put me off. It's not that I don't enjoy romance in my YA literature but I need it to have a nice flow, proper development and it's usually preferable for it to not take focus away from the main storyline. Even the thrill of elemental magic couldn't save this one.
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars