First Reads Friday: The Siren by Kiera Cass

Kiera Cass leaves the world of The Selection for the lure of the ocean with The Siren, out January 26, 2016!

From the book flap:

Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she can’t resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again.

Kahlen is resigned to finishing her sentence in solitude . . . until she meets Akinli. Handsome, caring, and kind, Akinli is everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. And though she can’t talk to him, they soon forge a connection neither of them can deny . . . and Kahlen doesn’t want to.

Falling in love with a human breaks all the Ocean’s rules, and if the Ocean discovers Kahlen’s feelings, she’ll be forced to leave Akinli for good. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart.




Kahlen is a Siren, which means it’s her job to sing mortals to their death in order to feed The Ocean. It’s a job she performs faithfully for 80 years. But when she has a chance meeting with the buoyant college student named Akinli, Kahlen has a taste of what a real life could be. The hunger for what she has missed by isolating herself in her role as beautiful bait begins to devour her. Kahlen finds herself taking new risks that threaten the lives of Sirens and humans alike.

The Siren was actually Cass’s first novel and was originally released in 2009. It has been rewritten for this 2016 release. I didn’t realize before I read the 2016 version that it was originally Cass’s first novel, but it makes sense to me. The Siren is an interesting idea, but the story was not as fully fleshed out as Cass’s The Selection series.

Judge a Book by its Cover: The cover image of a woman in a sand colored ball gown facing the sea is reminiscent of the covers of Cass’s other novels. It seems they wanted to create something distinct, but still in the same vein.

Body Count: Kahlen is a Siren so it’s no spoiler to say that people drown in this book. What surprised me were the characters reactions to the loss of lives. For the Sirens the ends justify the means and not enough focus is given to volume of lives loss. There are acts of violence in the book that are barely examined at all.

Just. Why. There were some major holes in the plot for me, most of them logistic in nature. If you ignore the lack of explanation on how Sirens work, where the come from, why The Ocean is a jealous bitch, etc… you’ll probably be fine.

He Said/She Said: There’s not too much He Said/She Said because Kahlen can’t speak to humans. Her voice is deadly so she must pretend she’s mute around Akinli. This actually makes for an interesting plot device as they still find ways to communicate and connect despite Kahlen’s inability to speak.

Bizarre Love Triangle: The Siren may have one of the weirdest love triangle yet. Kahlen and Akinli fall for each other almost immediately, but Kahlen’s first love is The Ocean, who is like a mother to her. When Kahlen’s feelings for a boy begin to surface, The Ocean shows her jealous streak. Let me just say, a force of nature is no match for a cute boy!

Open tab/Last call: The Siren is Romeo and Juliet meets The Little Mermaid, with some distinctively darker elements thrown in. It’s a stand-alone, which means we can finish this round of drinks and head home.

The Siren, by Kiera Cass, January 26, 2016, Harper Teen, 336 pages. To purchase click here.