For years I've been intending to read some Kerrelyn Sparks. She was part of the big surge of vamp novels that followed The Vampire Chronicles and she was incredibly popular at the time. At some point down the line, I picked up one or two books from her 'Love at Stake' series, but they just ended up on the shelves and I never got around to reading them.
So, when the opportunity to read a new title from her that also happened to deal with the whole siren theme I love so much, I signed right up.
'The Siren and the Deep Blue Sea' centers around a girl named Maeve who was raised on the Isle of Moon. Having grown up an orphan, raised in a convent with four sisters sharing her circumstances, all but she have gone on to marry men who become kings of the four great lands. As the only one who hasn't ascended to the role of queen somewhere and the only one still single, she feels like an outcast amongst them.
Though she's discovered an ability to shape-shift at will, there's only one person she wants to share it with right away. Enter Brody.. the elusive, mysterious, often infuriating shifter who spies throughout the kingdoms for the four royal families.
Cursed as a child by the Sea Witch and barely escaping the same fate that killed his father and brother, Brody can spend only two hours a day in his own form, which leaves him feeling destined to live out his future alone.
Essentially, as he begins to investigate rumors of impending threats to the kingdoms, what he finds is shocking and turns the situation into a very personal endeavor for him.
At best, this book is incredibly average. It's filled.. front to back.. with the gamut of cliched tropes. Nearly every major character we come across is paired up with someone so they all have perfect little arrangements.
Each major magical ability the enemies bear, someone on Maeve and Brody's side also has. If they can't match it, they either have the perfect counter to it, or someone develops one of the two. The flaws and disruptions in their plans are so perfectly placed, that with amazing luck and all those special abilities, everything pretty much goes off without a hitch anyway.
The dialogue is incredibly boring and uninspired. In fact, there are patterns to certain types of scenes the author seems to love and utilizes with more than one group of people. For example, she loves to toss two people together with mild conflicts who like each other, make their circumstances kind of tense, have them flirt in the midst of whatever is happening, and then have someone nearby them comment about the fact they're flirting while these things are happening around them. If you read this book, you'll see what I mean.
The world-building is actually minimal with most of it written like a text based map, mountainous region, misty island, you get the picture. Probably the only place Sparks really put any descriptive detail was the Sea Witch's home.
And just in case that isn't enough to make us groan, the smut is really awkward. Fine, Maeve's a virgin. Sure, everyone loves that cliche. Add to that, she's nearly astonished by the existence of her own body parts and how they work, as if she's never had a clue they were there or what they might do. The bedroom conversation? Nearly as awkward. If it weren't for the fact Brody can be amusing in those moments, I don't know if I could have even gotten through them.
I really wouldn't suggest wasting your time on this novel. I mean, if you're trapped in an elevator for a few hours and it's the only thing in your hand, I don't know.. maybe use it to bang on the door and scream for help.