Thursday, November 7, 2019

Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell

Synopsis (via Goodreads): A girl searches for a killer on an island where deadly sirens lurk just beneath the waves in this gripping, atmospheric debut novel.

The sea holds many secrets.

Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the deadly sirens who lurk along the shores of her island town. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he's one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure.

Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike.

"He showed me an island smeared in blood, and I fell in love with it."
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

Songs from the Deep had me mesmerized from the start! One look at the cover, and then๐‘‹BAM!๐‘‹I was hooked. It's both elegant and haunting, and subtly captures the heart of the story. Moira has always felt a connection with the sirens, although she doesn't understand exactly what it is that captivates and draws her to them. Her father's work, maybe. She knows they are predators despite her fascination, and acknowledges that when they kill it isn't malicious. They're just doing what comes naturally to them. Her descriptions of their deadly beauty only increased my curiosity as the story progressed. I particularly enjoyed her stolen moments in the cliff crevices to observe them unseen.

Despite the book being about sirens, they don't play a prominent role in the story. They're mostly in the background, and there's very little interaction between them and our main character. At first I was disappointed because I really wanted to see the story from the siren's perspective, but after awhile I started to appreciate the mystery surrounding their existence. No one knows where they come from, or why they made this particular island their home. Do they exist elsewhere? What do they do beneath the water? How do they communicate? I thought it was a very unique way to tell the story, and thought their silent presence spoke volumes.

The atmospheric setting was incredibly well-written. I could see the moors, the heather bending to the whims of the wind, and an island that was beautifully dangerous. The islanders know the tricks and safety measures to keep the sirens away, but death has still found it's way into the hearts and homes of most of the island's residents.

The mystery was an integral part of the story, since that's what Moira and Jude are focused on throughout the book, but it was the little things that really kept my interest. Moira playing the violin, Jude tending to the lighthouse, the sirens lounging in the sand. The mystery wasn't very mysterious, and didn't take a lot of guesswork to solve. Jude's locked room and hidden noises were somewhat obvious, and the suspects weren't too difficult to suss out. I wish the twists and reveals had been a little more unexpected and unpredictable, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book, but I assumed there would be a lot of input from the sirens themselves. I was pleasantly surprised to learn otherwise, and thought the author did a remarkable job of creating a haunting tale that circumvented what little expectations I had. They mystery itself wasn't surprising, but the story's ability to feel like it's own character -- amazing. I also really liked the dialogue, and how characters would "doff" their hats. Everything was proper and respectable, even with an unsolved murder and siren attacks.

"Perhaps it explains why the sea takes secrets for a wish. They are the truest part of us."

10 comments:

  1. I've been hearing that this one is good and I love the cover for it.

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    1. It was a very unique spin on a siren story! <3

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  2. That cover is amazing. I may read this one next, although I'm a little bummed the sirens don't get more screen time, it still sounds great.

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    1. I was bummed at first too, but it all worked out! I really liked how the author decided to tell the story. :) You'll have to let me know what you think as you read it!

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  3. Glad you still enjoyed this, even if it wasn't exactly what you thought it would be.

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    1. I just thought it would have more of a siren focus, but they're mostly in the background. It actually really worked for the overall story, and I appreciate how well-written it was. :)

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  4. Wonderful review, Lindsi! I can honestly say I’ve never read a book with a siren element. But how fascinating!

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    1. I've always thought of sirens as, like, demonic mermaids. They've fascinated me for years, but I still haven't read a book about them that I absolutely LOVED, you know? I just think the concept of sirens is interesting, since they sing sailors and others to their deaths. I'm curious where the mythology originated... This book has a siren element, but didn't focus on them exclusively. They were just a very important part of the background. :)

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  5. Truth be told, I haven't enjoyed a novel about sirens all my life, so I can't say I can relate. I love that the sirens aren't in the forefront of this story, though. The mystery elements, however piqued my curiosity.

    Lovely review, Lindsi.

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    1. I don't think I've ever LOVED a book about sirens! The mythology is fascinating, but I don't think it's translated well into stories (at least not the ones I've read). There was one... Lost Voices by Sarah Porter that came close, even though that book is advertised as mermaids. I believe they sing sailors to their deaths, so who knows. It's been a few years!

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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless