There’s some really excellent world building here. It’s kind of an info dump, just a little one, but at the same time, it doesn’t really bother me, and all things considered, I don’t really mind info dumps.
“The Sea Queen is not there to be adored. She’s there to be feared.” Well hot damn, if that isn’t a line what is?
So the right eye is the color of the sea the siren was born in and the left eye becomes more red as a siren kills more?
Wait, so do Sirens actually live underwater? What’s with the ship thing? How are we suddenly on a ship?
Wait a second, is this a different character? Ooooooh that makes a lot more sense now, especially since the POV I’m reading just watched a siren die. Okay, let’s have a talk real quick:
If you’re going to do dual POV and not have a different tense or write in a different person please please please put chapter headings so we know who’s head we’re reading in.
I love Elian already, he’s such a genuinely good person who wants to go around and do good things.
“The thrill of it never stops, even when the seas become deadly. Even as I hear the familiar song that strikes my soul and makes me believe in love like it’s the first time. The danger only makes me thirstier.” So reverse Twilight? Lol
I’m really loving this world. It’s very magical and the author has done a good job subtly giving us details.
The king’s advisor is from the fortune kingdom and he’s never wrong? So there’s some truth to all the tall tales the kingdom’s tell about themselves? That’s interesting.
The whole father-son relationship can get a little bland, but Elian’s perception that his father is mainly protective of him because he’s an heir is a bit more interesting. Also like, how sexist of his father to not consider his sister, Amara.
Damn, The Sea Queen really goes for the throat (no pun intended). Her Aunt Crestell said to be the queen the sea needs, which she was obviously talking about a benevolent queen instead of one pulled by fear.
I really wish there were chapter headings, I mean it’s not even a consistent back and forth/every other. You just have to kind of orient yourself.
Wait, so how do sirens reproduce if there are only female ones?
Elian wants to learn languages? I bet Lira is going to teach him Psáriin.
What’s the point of jumping straight from the ball to the Golden Goose pub?
Oh so there’s just no transition I guess…
Oh what a handy little gadget Elian has got there for telling when people lie.
Okay, but what Elian points his little compass at someone and the person who he’s talking to believes they are telling the truth? Does that mean the compass goes off of what the person thinks is true, or what is actually true?
Ah, when characters don’t listen and literally just repeat what another said haha
So Lira left her mother’s kingdom, how does the Sea Queen know? Can she feel it? Or does part of her magic know when her orders are being disobeyed, or are all the fishes just required to watch and report to her?
Wow, this is like the Little Mermaid but WAY darker. The Sea Queen took her voice, but does that mean she just can’t sing the siren song or she can’t talk at all?
Well that’s rather convenient that the Saad just rescues Lira, but also aren’t they suspicious of a body with no shipwreck, and nowhere near land, and no ship in sight? Do they even remember sirens exist in their world? lol.
I KNEW IT, ever since Elian was like “languages *swoon*” I knew she was going to teach him.
“My reputation has finally proceeded me” HAMILTON REFERENCES
It’s a nice irony isn’t it? That she demands loyalty but has none and he demands none and has it all.
It’s a little late to know that the Sea Queen knows everything that happens in the water…
I think it’s really hard to pull off a character that doesn’t know what they want for themselves, and this is acceptable so far, but not great.
That knife of Elian’s is going to be internal to the plot later, I can feel it.
I swear EVERYTHING in this book smells like aniseed.
“The Queen of Eidyllio sits on a throne shaped like a bleeding heart.” Is it bleeding human heart? Or the flower bleeding hearts? Or the shape of a heart that is dripping with blood? You know, it’s a little unclear.
Okay, but what deal exactly did Elian make with Galina, Queen of Eidyllio?
I like that this story revolves around Lira being clever and evasive. It’s a nice way to show that sirens are still faeries without being overt and in-your-face about it.
Not to be dramatic, but Lira is a damn gift to the universe.
Haha “what do they sing where you’re from Lira?” “oh just the song of death no big deal…”
Well isn’t she great at directing the conversation. Now that I know it’s a dual POV. I actually like it a lot because it allows us to see how clever Lira is. We get a sense of it in her POV, but even more with another.
Ahhh, here we go. So sirens literally just mate with fish???
I LOVE LIRA AND ELIAN’S DYNAMIC I MEAN I KNOW THEY’RE SWORN ENEMIES BUT SERIOUSLY
“It’s like she wants us to forget that she’s an outsider” People have really not being giving Kye enough credit for being suspicious of Lira lol
I mean Elian is noticing how Lira seems like she isn’t used to walking and he’s RIGHT THERE but just refuses to see it. Poor “give people the benefit of the doubt” Elian.
‘“You can’t win a war,” I tell her. “Someone else just loses.”’ That’s fair.
This book is so poetic. I’m in love.
TW: sexual assault
“The mercy he practices and the loyalty he has earned are both ideals that my mother would sooner burn out of me—because mercy is never an option, and loyalty is always taken—but those very emotions my mother said made me weak seem to make him strong.” WHAT A BITCHING CHARACTER ARC. THIS IS HOW YOU DO REDEMPTION ARCS PEOPLE.
Lira didn’t even intentionally create a rift between Elian and Kye; they just did it themselves lol
Okay I know it’s a retelling of The Little Mermaid, but I’m also seriously loving just like the sibling/platonic banter that Elian and Lira have. I don’t really like them as a romantic couple. I would rather continue to sail this ship in the friendship waters.
I think the lack of her caring he kills Sirens is a little swept under the rug, maybe we’re just supposed to accept it because sirens are so solitary? But to me, it just feels like indifference. It’s not really fully fleshed out and developed. Like she talks about the conflict between humans and sirens like a war, but never really treated him like the enemy in her mind
Other people’s reactions to their loved ones being injured is my kryptonite.
I WOULD DIE FOR ELIAN POOR BABY
Okay but the whole “he’s not realizing she’s a siren” thing is done extremely well. He’s reminded of all the things that make Lira a Siren but only when there’s chaos (an attack, someone’s injured) so that’s why he’s missing it. This is a work of art.
I love this platonic love, please bless that it won’t turn into a romance.
I’ve been so focused on putting an end to my mother’s reign that I haven’t thought about how I can put an end to her war. Even if I get my hands on the eye, I still planned to take Elian’s heart, just as my mother ordered, thinking it would prove something to my kingdom. But what? That I’m the same as her, valuing death and savagery over mercy? That I’ll betray anyone, even those who are loyal to me?”
So basically Lira realizes that she’s been manipulated the entire time and now is starting to learn from Elian, but not with him shoving it down her throat which is beautiful and lovely. It’s done so well.
Lira’s Aunt Cretell saw a greater plan I weep because of her death.
Holy Shit Lira’s dream…
Their banter is 100+
THIS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE FLIRTY BANTER IT CAN JUST BE SIBLING/FRIEND BANTER, the romance just feels so forced…
See, now it makes sense for Elian to smell like licorice because he’s always eating it. But just having every rando thing in the world does not.
Wait, so now they know that the key to the second eye is Siren blood. Is this when Lira’s going to tell everyone that she’s a siren???
Also I keep wanting to write Elias, like from An Ember in the Ashes but I know they’re not the same person.
Okay, yes I wanted them to stay platonic, but WHAT A KISS
CHIVALRY IS DEAD IN LITERALLY EVERY MOMENT (which is fine btw) IN THE BOOK EXCEPT THE ONE WHERE IT WOULD BE REALLY HELPFUL FOR LIRA IF ELIAN USED HIS COMMON SENSE AND GOT OUT OF THE WAY *le sigh*
I love that the solution in this war is peace. I’m SO about this solution and I think that’s why this big sweeping fantasy/rebellion book is so successful. I’m a huge fan because so often it’s violence and I love that this book glorifies peace and diplomatic means (when possible). I love it.
8/10—I’m STUNNED. I completely fell in love with this book and the world. I loved the character development and the character arcs; there were so many little additions that helped make the story so much more meaningful. I love the ending overall. It’s definitely a favorite and I absolutely want to buy it. It totally reminded me why I love fantasy, because lately, I feel like I’ve been drifting away from fantasy which made me a little sad. Also, I love the Little Mermaid vibes, but also it’s like a grown-up Little Mermaid. Like the plot of Disney LM but the feeling of the original Hans Christian Anderson lore so it’s dark and twisted. I AM A HUGE FAN.
The final battle did feel a little rushed and chaotic and a little out of place because we’d seen so little battles scenes so far. It’s kind of natural with a battle scene that it’ll be a bit confusing, but all things considered, time was a little warped. Like things would be happening and I was like… why are they allowed this extra moment because the Sea Queen will not hesitate to annihilate you, so why do you get to kiss? Anyway, I still loved the hell out of this book.
The number one thing that could have improved this book was chapter headings. I will die on this hill.