Friday, August 22, 2014

Review: Storm Siren

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

23 comments:

  1. I found your review to be super interesting Micheline, nearly all the reviews I've read for this book have been positive, so it was really fun to read a differing opinion! Based on your description of Eogan, I think I might have a problem with him as well, I tend to struggle with characters who blow hot one minute and cold the next. Sorry this one was a miss for you!

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    1. It's funny how that works sometimes. The reviews I'd read so far were split down the middle between positive and negative but I was holding out hope that I'd love it all the same. The romance was a definitely downfall for me here so I wonder how much more I'd have enjoyed it without that aspect. Thanks Jenny ^^ x

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  2. Reading the synopsis I already felt like the book would be annoying, and you're review confirmed it. For me I think the main issue would be unoriginality- it sounds a lot like tons of other books out there.
    Thank you for your review!
    Esty @ Boarding with Books

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    1. I'm just such a huge fan of elemental magic that I couldn't see past that aspect and couldn't resist checking it out. What a bummer! Thanks for stopping by Esty :)

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  3. It sucks when romances could be completely left out of the book and it would have been way better. I read a book like that before and the romance actually killed it for me. I wasn't really planning on reading this one but I definitely won't, I have a feeling I wouldn't enjoy it much,
    Thanks for the honest review!

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    1. It think the romance really killed this one for me too - I just couldn't get behind it at all...and it was such a MAJOR focus of the story >.< A lot of people have enjoyed this one though, with a few exceptions. I just wish I could have loved it!

      Good call Kelsey, and thanks :)

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  4. Interesting. I really loved this book, but I can understand how you wouldn't if you weren't behind the romance. I agree that the true power of the elementals didn't come out until the end of the book, but I enjoyed Nym's personal struggle with whether or not to use her powers to kill and I was invested in Nym and Eogan. Sorry this one didn't do it for you!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. This goes to show that we can't all love the same books I guess! :) I enjoyed Nym and her personal struggle too, I just could have gone for more back story and more focus on Nym herself. Instead of Nym + Eogan. Sometimes I like boys like him but this time it just didn't work for me. Thanks Nicole and I'm glad you enjoyed this one more than I did!

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  5. It's too bad this was a lackluster read for you - that cover was drawing me in! But the iffy romance is the thing I'm most of wary of now, I really want a romance I can swoon over. Maybe the series will get better, and then I might pick it up!

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    1. Yeahhh, the cover definitely drew me in too - and than that blurb sealed the deal! Shame the story didn't live up to either of those. Good call Charlene & thanks for stopping by!

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  6. This was a middling book for me - I had a lot of issues with it, but I also really liked some things. It's nice to see a differing opinion than the uber positive reviews I've seen so far though, you echo a lot of my thoughts on what this book needed work on!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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    1. Well I'm glad you (and other people) had better luck with this one than I did but I'm also happy that I'm not the only one who had these issues with it! It goes to show that books are different for everyone who read them :) Thanks Mogsy!

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  7. I've seen many bad reviews for this book, and now that I know that the romance is terrible I'm not sure I want to check this out anymore. What bothers me most in books is romances that make absolutely no sense, and Storm Siren is starting to seem just like a book I'd have to struggle through.

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    1. I have too Preethi but then again a lot of people enjoyed it too! I think some people enjoyed the romance but I simply couldn't get behind it. Like you said: it simply didn't make sense to me...and yeah, it was a struggle >.< Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Reading the blurb gave me the impression that the emphasis was going to be on the elemental magic, which sounds really awesome. It's too bad that the book ended up focusing on a blah, sort-of-love-triangle, something that would have frustrated me, too. Thanks for your thoughts on this one, Micheline! :D

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    1. SAME.HERE. I am adore elemental magic so I got really excited...and then THAT didn't happen. I mean sure there was a lot of her training to control her powers, but the trainer was a potential love interest so those scenes were always tainted :( You said it right: it was frustrating!! Thanks hun xx

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  9. This book pissed me off because it was such a slap in the face. No world history, no character history, Nym can do all the magic almost instantly... The bad villains, the weak plot, and the gorram infuriating 'romance'.
    This book is lucky we both gave it 2/5 and not less. -.-'

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    1. You're right: I didn't even care about the fight for Faelen because there was NO backstory on this place. And yeah I needed more backstory on Nym and she was the one we knew the most about her past! What about Colin? Breck? Hell even Eogan and that crazy mistress should have had a backstory! And then that random villain at the end? o.O Don't even get me started up again on the 'romance' LOL

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  10. I am going to have to give it a shot for just the magic. I picked this up at BEA, and I have to confess, it was the cover that did it for me.

    Thank you for the review!

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    1. Absolutely! I wish you better luck with it! I agree though, that cover is stunning. Thanks for stopping by Lyn :)

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  11. Ohhh noes burned by another pretty cover!! It's hard not to fall for them. But oh you must MUST read Shadow and Bone, Micheline!! Unlike this one, the world building is amazing and a ton of focus is put on the elemental magic, which is awesome! There's romance too of course, but I wouldn't say it's the main thread, nor is it lacklustre. I just know you would like it!

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    1. Shadow and Bone is currently on my bedside table waiting to be picked up next :D Just your comment on it proves to me that it's the way to go at the moment! Hopefully I'll have better luck with that one than I did with this one >.<

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  12. Awhhhh, such a shame when a pretty cover and interesting promise go to waste. Magic on the background and okay world-building.. doesn't sound that exciting to me. I hope your next book is better, I agree with Aylee about Shadow and bone :D

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