Review: Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Posted August 17, 2014 by Jessica in Fantasy, Jessica, Reviews, Young Adult / 62 Comments

Review: Storm Siren by Mary Weber
Storm Siren by Mary Weber
Series: Storm Siren #1
Published by Thomas Nelson
Published on: August 19 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 341
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
One StarOne Star
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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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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 responses to “Review: Storm Siren by Mary Weber

  1. 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!

  2. 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!!

    • 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 😉

  3. Amber Elise  

    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

    • 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).

    • 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 . . . 😉

  6. 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 😉

    • 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 😉

  7. Mogsy from BiblioSanctum  

    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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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. 🙂

  11. 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?

  12. 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 🙁

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Berls from Fantasy is More  

    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.