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Review: Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Review: Storm Siren by Mary Weber
Storm Siren
Author: Mary Weber
Series: Storm Siren #1
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published on: August 19 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: 341 pages, eARC
Provided by: NetGalley
three-starsthree-starsthree-stars
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“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.

CliffhangarTwistedMagicalHotMess@!-#

Hmmm . . . first of all, when I requested this book, I didn’t realize that it was published by Thomas Nelson, which is a Christian imprint of HarperCollins. If I had known, I probably wouldn’t have requested the book, b/c I don’t like being preached at when I’m reading recreationally, BUT . . . I am happy to report that it wasn’t an issue. SO if you thought you might like this book, but held off, b/c, unlike me, you were in the know  about Thomas Nelson, worry not.

If you have an issue with the book, I seriously doubt that will be it.

SO. I’m quite vocal about choosing YA that doesn’t feel like YA. YA in which the characters come across as older, wiser, more experienced than their numerical ages . . .

I can’t actually recall being told Nym’s age, but whatever it is . . . it’s YA.

Nym is an orphan and a slave. She is also an Elemental. In her world, Elementals are killed at birth, except, also in her world, Elementals are universally male. We are never told how Nym manages to be both female and an Elemental, two things that we are assured are mutually exclusive. In fact, it’s not even really addressed at all, except to add to her super special snowflakeness by pointing out the impossibility of her existence.

But Elementals, male or female, are not the only creatures of magic in Nym’s world.

There are five (I think) nations, all with their own specific type of magic user. We are not given a reason for the existence of magical creatures, and it is not explained why the type of magic depends on geography.

It just does.

The world-building left a lot to be desired.

Also . . . I’m too bloodthirsty for this book. My favorite characters are assassins and thieves and mercenaries. I don’t want them to be killers without conscience, but if someone needs killing, then by golly, they had better be up to the task.

But Nym doesn’t want to kill anyone. EVER. Her country has an enemy that far outclasses it in weapons, has airships, is bombing and destroying whole villages—men, women, children, the elderly, the sick, it doesn’t matter, they are all being killed indiscriminately, but that’s not Nym’s problem. She’s  the one who has to be able to look at herself  in the mirror, and she will not  be turned into a weapon. *sniffs*

How she can look at herself, knowing she could have prevented all of that indiscriminate death, if she’d only put on her big girl panties and killed them first, doesn’t come up, apparently. Or if it does, she acts her age, digs her heels in, and refuses to hear that which she does not want to acknowledge. Tra-la-la.

It’s tedious.

So is Adora, the crazy noblewoman who purchases Nym from the slave market.

Adora, we are told, is the most powerful person in the kingdom. After the king, of course. She’s so ridiculous, she’s almost a caricature of a villain. She dresses in ghastly and extravagant (animal-themed) costumes. She may or may not literally  keep a harem of strapping young men, but of course, she wants, more than anything else, the young man whom she cannot compel to sleep with her, and is very seriously rumored to have killed a kitchen girl (or two), simply for looking at said young man.

She’s the biggest property owner in the kingdom, and she sits at the king’s right hand on his “Counsel” (whatever that means<——AGAIN, we are not told), and is his most trusted adviser on the war effort . . .

A position . . . we can only infer, she inherited . . . b/c we, for once, are  told, that her father had held the same position, as had his father before him . . .

Well, sure, why not? If the monarchy is hereditary, I supposed the positions of those who advise in a strategic capacity can be as well. Just train them up the same way you would a prince or princess. B/c that always works so well . . .

There were also numerous little inconsistencies like man-eating horses that didn’t turn on their exhausted riders.

I suspect that were I ten years younger, a lot of these things wouldn’t bother me. Or at least they wouldn’t bother me quite as much. However, I am not  ten years younger, and I am much too cynical to embrace Nym’s kill-them-with-kindness approach to warfare. This wasn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t a good book for me. And despite my numerous issues, there were still parts that I enjoyed. If you’re an optimist who longs for a heroine who doesn’t resort to violence to make a difference, then Storm Siren could very well be the best book you’ll read all year. You know your preferences better than I ever could.

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Jessica Signature

My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.

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62 Comments

  1. Fantasy from a Christian inprint..ok, well at least it was not prechy
    blodeuedd recently posted…Carole Reviews: Devil’s Return – Sandra Schwab

  2. It’s too bad for the worldbuilding because it’s what is the most important un fantasy right? I saw this one around a lot and the reviews are quite different so I don’t know but I’ll trust you and 3 isn’t a lot and I would prefer awesomeness. thanks for the review!

    • I prefer awesomeness too, Melliane. And yeah, in fantasy, world-building is HUGELY important.

  3. Well, at least it wasn’t preachy! That would have totally been a DNF reason for me!
    But, after reading your review and seeing that the worldbuilding is rather shoddy and the general meh feeling you had for it… I’m totally skipping this one!
    Thanks for the very honest review Jessica!
    Pili recently posted…ARC August Update Week #2!!

    • You’re welcome, Pili! And yeah, world-building is important to me too, ESPECIALLY in fantasy.

  4. Isn’t it funny how, the more we read and the older we get, the less tolerant we are of the flaws in books? As a kid/teen, I never even noticed them!
    Stephanie Fariss recently posted…Body Problems You Never Knew You Had

    • I think it’s more about reading critically, rather than just for enjoyment. But regardless, I’ve never in my life liked a character who refuses to kill people who are trying to kill her. *shrugs* #sorryimnotsorry ;)

  5. Given the blurb and the cover…I would have NEVER guessed that this was a Christian novel. Interesting.

    I agree with you about assassins. If your profession is about killing people, I NEED TO SEE YOU KILL SOMEONE. Just once.

    Lovely review Jessica!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

    • Thanks, Amber. But Nym wasn’t an assassin. I just happen to like them ;)

      • AH, I read completely wrong then! Silly me! :)

      • Yeah, I might have thrown the book across the room if she was an assassin AND refused to kill anyone, LOL.

  6. Kill them with kindness has a bit of a Christian influence, don’t you think? Don’t kill. And so on. Thanks for wading through this one so we don’t have to. ;)
    Amanda recently posted…Blind Date with a Book

    • YES. I definitely do. BUT Christians don’t have a monopoly on that worldview—HIPPIES—so I chose to be moderate in my assessment. The tone wasn’t preachy, and that’s the important thing (IMO).

  7. Oh boo. that cover looks awesome, and also, it speaks of some kickassery. It’s unfortunate that it didn’t really deliver, though.
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 118

    • I thought the cover spoke of kickassery too, but upon closer assessment, I realized it’s just a girl in a pretty dress surrounded by pretty white light(ning). That thing that looks like a sword, is not a sword, LOL.

  8. Eh if you are an assassin and meant to kill then that is what you need to be doing. I would probably be a little bloodthirsty with this book as well. Plus I’m not into Christian reading because there always seems to be some religious morals in there that I don’t agree with. I don’t mind religion being in the world but I don’t want to have it forced on me in any form.
    Thanks for the great review!
    Alexa recently posted…The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

    • Part of the reason I didn’t like Nym was b/c she wasn’t an assassin. She was the opposite of an assassin, in fact. Even if she capitulated to the desires of others, she still wouldn’t have been an assassin, she would have been a weapon of mass destruction.

  9. I so wished that you had attended college and taken Speech class with me. I have a feeling that between the both of us we could have taken the “kill them with kindness and reform” group on and won rather than me being all by myself in the opposite view point and having to explain that serial killers are usually going to act like nice guys or gals but that doesn’t mean they should be allowed back in society. Needless to say, I was not popular. Anywho…yeah, I’m going to pass on this one. I need answers and a stronger heroine. As always…great review. P.S. I’m guessing it is a good thing we aren’t judges. :)
    Ginny recently posted…Sunday Post Week in Review and Upcoming Posts #33

    • Ginny, we could have TAKEN OVER THE WORLD. And who cares about being popular? *snickers* I never kept my mouth shut, LOL. It is harder when it’s real life, but sometimes . . . second chances are not the wise option. I don’t have to worry about that in SFF though, so it’s doubly offensive to me to encounter a ridiculously anti-violence character. KILL ‘EM ALL!

      PS: probably . . . ;)

  10. HarperCollins has a Christian Imprint?? :O Huh. So this is the 2nd review I’ve read about this book. And what do you know, you guys have the same rating!! I may read this… when the second book is out. I saw that cliffhanger there! Haha. Thanks for the review, Jessica!! :)
    Paula M. recently posted…BOOKtunes #001: Aspen by Rebekah Crane

  11. Well, I’m still intrigued by this one but my expectations have been lowered – and it’s also fallen pretty far down my tbr list. I prefer my heroines to be a little more gutsy than Nym. Just because she’s a YA protagonist doesn’t mean that she needs to be meek. Look at all the awesome ladies like Katsa and Raisa and Rose Hathaway! Those girls are kickass – and actually kick some ass. ;)
    Danya recently posted…Review: A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey

    • She’s actually not meek at all. She’s pretty stubborn, in fact. It’s just that rather than using that strength and stubbornness to ruthlessly destroy her enemies, she obstinately refuses to be made into a weapon of mass destruction. Even though she could single-handedly save her people. I think I’d prefer meek and searching for confidence in herself to this refusal to protect innocents b/c killing is BAD. Blah. But like I said . . . bloodthirsty ;)

  12. I’ve enjoyed a few fantasy fiction published by christian publishers but i think i’ll give this one a pas

    it does not interested and hearing that the world building is lacking
    . so that’s why

    lovely review, Jessica
    roro recently posted…BOOK TOUR: Playing By The BOOK by S. Chris. Shirley ( REVIEW)

    • Thanks, Ro! And yeah, the world-building is definitely lacking in this one. But I’ve read Christian fantasy too, and loved it—NARNIA—so I’m not opposed to it simply for being published by a Christian imprint. This one wasn’t preachy at all in fact ;)

  13. The lack of world building was my biggest pet peeve in this one a well. I am pretty sure it said Nym was around 17 but I could be wrong, either way, this was definitely YA.
    kindlemom1 recently posted…Mini Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

    • After this posted, I saw that it says TWICE in the blurb that she’s 17, LOL, but I can’t recall actually reading it in the book. Whoops ;)

  14. Hmmmm… I’m with you, Nym should step up when called on. I like assassin stories too, but they need to get the job done! great review!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace
    Naomi recently posted…Nomi’s Weekly Wrap Up #101

  15. LOL! I’m with you, if there’s killing to be done, they better get done! LOL. I Love that cover, and I was excited to hear your thoughts when I saw it, but now I’m not so sure is for me.
    Thank you, great job as always :)
    Lupdilup recently posted…Those Who Wish Me Dead Audiobook Review

    • Thank you! And yeah, that cover grabbed me too. I don’t read blurbs . . . I request books b/c they have pretty covers . . . one day I’ll learn, LOL.

  16. I’m with you on the world building for this one. I wanted more about the magic, the world, and the history. Character development also could have been better. There were like a total of 5 characters she focused on, and they were all pretty shallow. So basically I’m like, wait, who’s this princess again? And this king and this bitchy lady who’s all over Eogan and what the hell is going on with these supporting characters who seem to have a big role to play but I know nothing about? That said, I liked the story and the ending was insane! I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually loved the cliffhanger.
    Mogsy recently posted…Book Review: Generation V by M.L. Brennan + Bonus Iron Night Giveaway!

    • Yes, that was definitely a good twist at the end. World-building aside, I just couldn’t connect with Nym. I thought she was well enough developed character and she was definitely consistent . . . I just didn’t like her. Like I said—too bloodthirsty for this book, LOL.

  17. Not so sure if I’d have enjoyed the Storm Siren either, Jessica. Just the blurb alone made me think of a really hot alien erotica by Eve Langlas, so I probably would have been really, really disappointed *grins*
    Great review! I think that sometimes, the fact that we are older than the target audience for YA is a good thing, but other times, it can be less good.
    I hope your next read is awesome :)
    Lexxie recently posted…Review: The Soldier’s E-Mail Order Bride – Cora Seton

    • Hahahaha!! Thanks, Lexxie! And yeah, if that’s what you had been expecting, I definitely think you’d have been disappointed. And it was, so thanks for that too ;)

  18. Oh, I had no idea that this was published by Christian imprint of HarperCollins as I would probably give up on it right away. I’m glad that it’s not religious though. I really like the sound of this one and I have heard really interesting things about Nym. I’m really glad you enjoyed this one. Great review, Jessica :)
    Tanja recently posted…Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

    • Thanks, Tanja. And YEP. Christian imprint of HarperCollins, indeed.

  19. I passed on this one, I think the lack of world building would be a big gripe but I’m glad to hear it wasn’t preachy.

    A great review, I’m glad you enjoyed it despite the issues.
    Sharon – Obsession with Books recently posted…Review: The Winners Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

  20. Hmm, I’m going to side with you and say I’m “too bloodthirsty” for this one, Jessica. It sounded so promising but I don’t think I could get past the lack of world building, lack of explanation, and a heroine that doesn’t want to kill. I’d rather Katniss! ;)

    Btw, I AM glad it didn’t end up preachy. :)

    • SERIOUSLY. Give me Katniss every day of the week! This refusal to kill people who need killing, just doesn’t make sense to me. AT ALL.

  21. Golly, Jessica :( I’m not too hot on this one anymore. One of the kind of YA hero/heroine that I hate is someone who refuses to do something that is killing/destroying their city/kingdom even if they have the power and the capability to stop it. Especially if she continues to be that way for a long time. ESPECIALLY IF SHE ONLY THINKS ABOUT HERSELF AND GOES ON A SELF-PITY RAMPAGE. I hate that so much! It’s so exhausting to read! Now I’m not excited anymore .__.
    Faye recently posted…Faye Reads 50 Shades of Grey ~ Chapter 2 ~

    • Yeah . . . based on what you just said, I would avoid this one like the plague. The crazy lady who bought Nym at auction is definitely trying to mold Nym for her own purpose, but Nym doesn’t refuse to kill b/c of questionable motives, she refuses to kill b/c “how could I live with myself??” BLAH. How can you not do something, if you can?

  22. Sorry there was so much that weren’t the best in this one, I liked the cover and had potential

  23. I’m sorry this didn’t work for you, Jessica. It sounds like an interesting read; however, the world building and protagonist leave much to be desired. Two very important things to me when reading a novel. I won’t be picking this one up!
    Kris recently posted…Movie Monday: Guardians of the Galaxy

    • Glad to save you the trouble, Kris! If you don’t think you’d like Nym, this is definitely one to skip.

  24. I think I enjoyed this one a bit more than you did, lol, Jessica! I was also hoping for more depth in the worldbuilding, but I did enjoy the Elementals and their magic. I’m curious, what did you think of Colin? I really enjoyed his lively and charismatic character, and would have loved for him to have been a larger part of the story.
    kim { Book Swoon } recently posted…Blog Tour: Storm Siren by Mary Weber

    • I really liked Colin, actually. I thought more could have been done with him to make what happens later on have more of an impact. I would have liked it if Weber had given him a bit more depth. He came across as the stock affable jock-type character, who is immensely likable, but nearly always a red shirt :(

  25. Well, I guess we disagreed on this one, Jessica. I really loved this book! I definitely agree with you that Nym went a bit far with her desire to not kill people, but I actually thought that it worked well for her character considering her background (since she had spent her life horrified at the fact that she had accidentally killed people – including her own parents. I thought it made sense. But, I can see how you might get tired of it if you were just itching for more action. :-)
    Nicole recently posted…Sunday Post & Giveaways Galore – 8/17/2014

    • Oh yeah, Nym was definitely a well-developed and consistent character. I just didn’t like her, LOL. Like I said—too bloodthirsty ;)

  26. Your reviews are so well thought out my friend. Truly. ♥

    I’m not big on Christian anything so I’m glad there was no preaching in this particular book. *wink*

    A heroine that doesn’t want to take anyone out? Really? Oy… And Adora sounds kinda awful. You know what came to mind when you described her? Are you ready? Wait for it…SNOOKI! I think it was the animal prints bit that instantly made me think of her! *giggle-snort*

    I’m thinking I should pass on this one… ;)
    Cristina recently posted…Gemini Moon (A Lella York Mystery #1) by Maria Grazia Swan

    • *blushes* Thanks, Cristina!

      And NO. NOT even the guy WHO STABBED HER WITH A KNIFE after stalking her, and attacking her in her SLEEP. And you know . . . a blonde, aristocratic Snooki, isn’t a bad description . . . *snorts* And yeah, I’d definitely pass on this one. BLAH.

  27. maggie just read this one and really enjoyed it. But really she doesn’t want to kill – what a pansy. I’m a bit blood thirsy myself so I could see that point annoying me.
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Guest Review: The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

    • That about covers it, LOL. I’m sure lots of people will like this book . . . it just wasn’t for me.

  28. You are spot on on Nym not wanting to kill, even the bad guys. It did get tedious. I am also bloodthirsty, that’s why some YA is hard for me because they tend to not be blood thirsty about killing.
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted…Stacking The Shelves #90: Uncivilized

    • Except for CELAENA ;) She is my favorite teen-aged assassin, and she is PLENTY bloodthirsty for me, LOL. But yeah, generally speaking . . . YA can be unsatisfactory in the regard.

  29. Nym doesn’t sound like a heroine I would like to read. I like my heroines strong and willing to do anything to protect those around her… So… I think I won’t be reading this book.
    BookaholicCat recently posted…CATS-ilicious Thursdays

  30. Well Boo Hiss :( Obviously three stars is not a bad rating, but I was really hoping for four stars or more… you know, something epic? Because it sounded like it could be. And yes, I’ve fallen for the cover big time. What I can’t wrap my head around is that it’s never explained/addressed that she is something IMPOSSIBLE! What? And I need an epic world build. Well I’m still totally going to read it, obviously, but maybe I’ll wait until the next book is out, especially considering that ending I keep hearing so much about.
    Berls recently posted…Do you get book depression? | Fun Questions

    • DUDE. That ending. That was maybe the worse cliffhanger I’ve seen since Fever #4. For realz. It wasn’t as bad, b/c I was pretty much over the book by then, but even not caring all that much about the characters, that was a hell of an ending.

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