Paranormal Young Adult
Received for review through Teen Book Scene
Will's brother died exactly one year ago, knocked from his sailboat and presumably drowned while Will miraculously washed up on shore unharmed. Now, with his longtime friend Gretchen back in town along with all the other wealthy summer tourists, he's trying to put the accident behind him.
He finds it difficult to do, however, when strange things begin happening, things that all seem to take place in the presence of an attractive young woman with a striking green gaze. The more Will gets to know Asia, the more he realizes how different she is from everyone else. He even begins to think she might know something about how his brother died.
The more he presses Asia, the more he and Gretchen discover about the world they thought they knew, questioning their sanity as they learn the past has a nasty way of repeating itself and ancient myths aren't only a part of the history books as they assumed.
This paranormal adventure is one of those stories where we read the first several pages and immediately know we're entering the characters' world in the eye of a powerful storm. Events that changed their lives forever have clearly occurred a while before our arrival into the eerily calm aftermath, but we can feel the winds of change gearing up for another brutal lashing. Siren's Storm creeps along, showing us little by little how Will and Gretchen are coping with the loss of a brother and friend while also strategically creating chain links that begin to fit together and connect events of past and present. Once we follow the chain chapter after chapter we are rewarded with an interesting tie in between the sirens currently plaguing Will's home and those in Homer's epic Odyssey, the unique twist sparking our curiosity as we wait to see how Ms. Papademetriou will merge her mythology with that of the one we know so well.
Will and Gretchen are both perfectly likeable characters, the one-sided romantic current flowing between them wonderfully understated and at times painful to read as Gretchen cannot find her way around the barrier the word "friend" creates between her and the boy she's loved forever. Their general likeability however never grows into anything more, and we read on interested in them but not necessarily fascinated by their interactions nor overly frantic about learning everything we can about each of them. While some characters leap of the page with the strength of their personalities–the sight of their names in ink enough to call forth a detailed profile of them in our minds and cause a corresponding tug on their distinct connection to our hearts–Will and Gretchen remain simply words that never breach the paper separating us to burst into life before our eyes. The potential for an evolving relationship from friends to something more is intriguing though, and might just be the impetus that allows them to grow to be those characters we can see and hear clear as day in future books.
Additionally, sometimes the pacing feels just a touch off as several short scenes are included that don't seem altogether intrinsic to the furthering of the plot. We read close to twenty pages of an old captain's log that relates an encounter with the sirens, and though it's interesting to connect that isolated event with the current happenings, it could have perhaps been done in a more succinct manner in order to leave that extra page time available to answer a few of the rapid-fire questions launched in our direction at the end. For most of the story we're focused on Asia and her unusual abilities, but then suddenly in the last few pages we have the introduction of our true villain as well as the appearance of some inexplicable talents on Gretchen's part. These new revelations add complexity, but they arise quickly and seemingly out of nowhere, leaving us a bit disconcerted since we saw so little evidence of their arrival in the beginning or middle of the tale.
Overall though, the story has great promise moving forward into the next installment, we can only hope we are given some clarity on certain elements to provide us something solid to latch onto to ride out the brewing tempest.