An Action-Packed, Fast-Moving, Bloody Fantasy
by Mary Weber
Series: Storm Siren Trilogy (Book 1)
Publication Date: August 19, 2014
Publisher: 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.
The most well-developed character in this first of a series is the storm siren herself — which is only natural since it is straight from her lips that we hear this exciting tale. It is a story about power, rightly says the publisher, and the bulk of that power lies within Nym, our extremely conflicted heroine. She is a slave who has known and destroyed many masters because of her inability to control her innate (or so she thinks) destructiveness. It is her journey towards self-control that is the focus of the early chapters.
Through Nym, the book wrestles with two age-old questions: Is one born evil? and Is killing ever justified? The former is handled in the way it usually is in novels or on the screen — through the advice of an older, wiser, caring friend — though it takes Nym a while to accept the answer. The second question lingers throughout the entire work as Nym tries to come to grips with the concept of self-defense, particularly as it involves saving those you love at the expense of your enemy’s life. In fact, it lingers maybe a little too long. Nevertheless, the Nym we meet on the first page is not the Nym we know on the last, thanks to a natural and satisfying, though painful for her, progression.
Solid secondary characters include an ace of a love interest, a sister and brother who befriend Nym, a sadistic master who manipulates her, a traitor, a cruel wizard, and a pair of kings. None are especially deep or complex, but all hold their own on the page, and nearly every one has a dark secret. However, thanks to the war and its attendant intrigues, book two will require a few replacement supporting cast members!
World building, always a necessity in fantasy, is not overdone: The reader learns what the reader needs and never experiences a glut of information. The motives behind the war are explained as we go along, most of the details wisely held back until the characters are well-established. In addition to Elementals like Nym, the Hidden Lands have spawned others with special powers, as well as a host of unusual animal species — flesh-eating horses, monstrous bolcranes that stalk the woods, and so on. Danger is a constant in the five kingdoms, on both sides of the castle walls.
As is not usually the norm for fantasy novels, Weber is generally restrained in her use of flowery language, never allowing her prose to interfere with or slow down the quick pace of her story.
If you’re looking for a strong female character, a fast-moving fantasy plot, and enough thrills and surprises to fill two books, then Storm Siren is an excellent place to start. And for extra kicks, there’s a cliffhanger of an ending where — well, no spoilers, but I’ll say this: It will compel you to read book two.
— Jennifer Michelle
4 of 5 Hearts. An Action-Packed, Fast-Moving, Bloody Fantasy.
Storm Siren offers up a heroine as powerful and conflicted as they come. Watching Nym learn self-control is half the pleasure in this book; the other half is watching her lose it!
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for allowing me access to the title. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”