Siren’s Song by Heather McCollum

Today I am very excited to share with you my review of the young adult paranormal/romance Siren’s Song by Heather McCollum as part of the blog tour hosted by Spencer Hill Press. Links to purchase the book and find our more information on Heather and the book are after the review.

Goodreads badgePublished: March 25th 2014
Publisher:
 Spencer Hill Press
Pages: 376
Format: ebook via Netgalley
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Jule Welsh can sing. She enthralls people with her bel canto voice. But it takes more than practice to reach her level of exquisite song; it takes siren’s blood running through her veins. Jule is starting her senior year at Cougar Creek High when her relatively normal world begins to resemble a roller coaster flying through a carnival scare house. Her mother is diagnosed as insane and committed, a psycho-stalker is snapping pictures of her to put into his homemade Jule-shrine, her voice is suddenly putting people into comatose trances, oh and the gorgeous new guy in town, Luke Whitmore, is interested in her . . . but also wants to kill her.

I am going to be vague and secretive because I don’t want to give anything away because finding out is the best part of this book so you’ve been warned.

I adored this book, I simply adored it. There is no other way to explain it. The story McCollum has written is one that is filled with mystery and intrigue, and a brilliant combination of magic and reality that brings this paranormal romance to life.

From the beginning I was enthralled by the narrative and I fell in love with the characters. There is an ideal balance of secrecy and unanswered questions that tease you as you read and as we follow Jule in her experiences we learn as she does, though we are also not told everything either.

The paranormal element McCollum has in this book is excellent, the siren aspect is wonderful on its own but couple with everything else it’s marvellous. There is an excellent balance between the paranormal and the real, there is no domination of either and while the paranormal plays a large part in what is happening through the story, we are not actually given a large or overloaded exploration of it either. With first person narration by Jule this is understandable, but even when it becomes more prominent story wise, we are given exactly what we need to know in order to understand the story and the history of events, just as Jule is to understand what is happening around her.

Having only read a few paranormal romances I didn’t know what to expect but at the same time I had an expectation in mind. This, I am pleased to say, was nothing like what McCollum delivered. I have nothing against other paranormal romances, as I say I’ve really enjoyed a few, but for me the paranormal side of this young adult novel was fresh and new, certainly unexpected and brilliantly executed.

Initially I thought that Jule was not asking enough questions in the beginning when she saw strange things, I certainly thought some things required asking for an explanation, but as the story progressed I started to understand the possible reasons why. If like Jule you live your life not believing in the impossible or magical, then you may not recognise it immediately. Logic takes over and you use real world examples to explain away what you heard or saw, and while it may seem odd, your mind does not assume it is supernatural.

What I found interesting was that when Jule does discover the truth she is quite accepting. After a reasonable yet quite restrained reaction to what she finds out, she then listens quietly and doesn’t react as you expect. She asks direct questions, establishing the validity in what she is being told and doesn’t let them go unanswered or avoided. Her determination is what I love about her, she isn’t passively accepting things around her but she is willing. I think this understanding is helped by the fact there is clear evidence to substantiate the claims being made and while Jule remains wary on the surface she can’t help but believe what she sees. Though to her credit, while she seems to believe the circumstances around her, there is an underlying scepticism that rears its head every now and then as she doubts what she’s been told. This questioning is also evident regarding her connection with Luke. With all the facts behind her she does not assume that everything is as it appears and what feels real may be masked by magic and short term.

Her understanding of the magical elements in her life was not lost on her and while she goes along with these feelings for Luke she never forgets that they may not be real or everlasting. This is just another reason why Jules is a wonderful character. Her friendships and her common sense are excellent tools in this story, but she also has a sense of responsibility and she is willing to do things for the greater good.

Each of McCollum’s characters are excellent and intriguing, they pull you into their world and lives so completely you struggle to leave. Each character is their own entire person, and through their actions, their relationship with others, as well as what is said and left unsaid we are shown a great sense of who they are which only adds to the story as a whole. When the characters in a story feel complete and real, regardless of their role played, you can find yourself having pity and sympathy for characters with even the smallest part. It is truly wonderful.

I think one of the reasons I was kept up until three and four in the morning reading this book was the fact I didn’t want to stop and I needed to see where the story was headed and what was going to happen. I think if I’d had the time I definitely would have happily read it in one sitting, though having the excitement drawn out over a few days made it that little bit better.

There are some of the best sentences in the book as well. Two of my absolute favourites are “Loved with obsessive devotion, hated with barely controlled fury” and “The bravest warriors scream inside while fighting for what’s right”. The way McCollum tells this story is filled with suspense and secrets and wonderful explanations. They are unique, creative, and the ideal balance that makes then filled with tension and drama and the kind of writing that makes you gasp with excitement and your heart pound with uncertainty.

The conversations and dialogue are great through the book. There is just something about Luke’s portrayal as a character and the dialogue he delivers that is divine. Even the characters pick up on it, he is clever and funny, and he knows the right thing to say in the right moment with the touch of humour and restraint that make it so enjoyable to read.

There is humour threaded through this story which makes it fun to read. There is a humour that comes from characters that have had a long time to accept their situation and there is also a humour where the newly initiated try and make things less terrifying than they appear, a way to diffuse the tension. This is equalled beautifully by the serious moments that grab your attention so suddenly that you aren’t sure what is happening until you’re halfway through it. This is where McCollum excels, through the exquisite depiction of power and danger, magic and love, friendship and family. The kind of amazing writing and narrative that keeps you on the edge of your seat, sitting upright in bed, holding your breath while still managing to squeal and gasp as you read.

The reason this book was hard to put down was the fact McCollum has created a novel that not only pulls you long by the strength of her characters, but also with a plot that will not let you walk away willingly. The desire to keep going, to find out the secrets, and see how it is resolved is powerful and one I found very hard to ignore. Siren’s Song captures the beauty, the danger, and the seemingly mundane into a story that stays with you even after that last page.

 In honour of the release of Siren’s Song, Heather is giving away two One Direction lawn tickets to the 28th September show in Charlotte, NC. You can read the Terms and Conditions and enter through Rafflecopter here

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather McCollum
    May 17, 2014 @ 11:14:31

    I’m thrilled that you loved Jule and Luke’s story! Thank you so much for a fabulous, detailed and eloquent review. Have a lovely, all-the-stars-align kind of weekend : )
    Heather

    Like

    Reply

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