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Take your usual urban fantasy fare, throw in a dash of Nordic mythology (having first soaked it in Thor-Be-Gone), add a pinch of cinnamon-flavoured cute... Then cover it in sea salt and shake it up, because wow. That was a ride.
For the uninitiated into the Sea King's Daughters series, I really recommend at least reading Siren's Tide as it'll give you a basic primer into the supernatural community in which our merfolk heroines exist on the fringes of. Otherwise I felt brought up to speed with what I'd not read from the series - if I want to know the other sisters' stories I can read them, but I've got the basics from this book.
Marna may not be the most obviously likeable character you'll ever come across, but she's one compellingly haunted lead. She's a sullen but dutiful daughter, making it clear that all she cares for is the mission: scout out the movers and shakers of the paranormal hidden world and report back to daddy. One day her kind can return home having secured allies and paid off potential enemies. One day she will join her kin, take up her trident again and crush the Deep Dwellers who have caused her so much pain. That was the plan, and she's sticking to it even when things start to seem a bit off...
As always, I love the characters Lauren Harris writes. Marna's got the grim tone that's peppered with hints of a more humourous person she used to be. Bir works as a perfect companion and foil for her dark moods, being intelligent, funny and hopelessly naive at the same time. Their interactions, whether playful or serious, are spot-on.
There's action. There's adventure. There's some more action for good measure. Did I mention strong character arcs, some extra mythology to go with your mythology (you won't necessarily know all the names, but you'll get the important details), and a ton of heartfelt feels? For such a short novella, there's a lot going on and with perfect pacing it's not going to drag or give you a heart attack. There's a tiny hint of rush at the adrenaline-fueled end, but wow. It wraps up perfectly as a stand alone episode of the series. I'm feeling really reinvigorated to try reading a few more tales of the merfolk and finding out just how everyone will react to the revelations here.
Honest review TL;DR: mermaids, action, emotion, wit, mythology. 5 cinnamon rolls out of 5 - it's that good.
-I received an ARC copy of this ebook from the author which in no way obligated me to enjoy it as much as I did or review it as I just have.-
Lauren Harris is one of the few authors who can make me cry, and Siren’s Surge has been no different. There’s a surprising amount of punch packed into a relatively short novel.
The story is more than just an enjoyable read; it’s compelling and deeply engaging. The characters are relatable and lovable. Even the antagonists are likable, which was unexpected. But watch out for Bìr, because his affinity for buttery pastries will leave you hungry!
I learned of Siren’s Surge through Harris’s newsletter, so I have not read the other books in the Sirens series. Therefore, I think it’s safe to say this is a good standalone and you don’t need to read further if you don’t want to. However, I have bought the other books in the series and look forward to learning the full story rather than just Marna’s portion.
I'm a (very, very) late arrival to the series, and mer-fiction really isn't my thing, but the five stars aren't a giveaway. The author earned them by writing a tight plot and excellent characters (which have been her strong suit ever since the first release of the Spellhound series). The story itself also has a wonderful sense of place, between its use of food, geography, and local supernatural folk.
This book surprised me at every turn. I thought it would go down some traditional routes and I was very pleased to be surprised. Great writing, fantastic pacing, cool characters and universe. I want to read more!