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Secret of the Sirens (Companions Quartet Book 1) Hardcover – April 1, 2007


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Frequently Bought Together

Secret of the Sirens (Companions Quartet Book 1) + Mines of the Minotaur (Companions Quartet Book 3) + The Gorgon's Gaze (Companions Quartet Book 2)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4th - 8th
  • Lexile Measure: 890L (What's this?)
  • Series: Companions Quartet Book 1 (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Two Lions (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761453717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761453710
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,437,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Golding offers the softer side of adventure fantasy. In the lovely opening scene, Connie plays and talks with seagulls. Living with eccentric Aunt Evelyn, she learns of a secret Society charged with protecting "mythical" beings (actually real) from humanity's violence. Each Society member is companion to a particular species: water sprites, selkies, unicorns, dragons or one of many others. Might Connie be a companion to the sirens who live on nearby rocks tempting sailors to their deaths? Her destiny is far greater: She's a universal, a rare human companion to all mythical creatures. Foils include an international oil company poised to pollute the ocean, and Kullervo, a malevolent spirit in the process of taking over the world. Perspective is mostly Connie's but occasionally shifts to Col, a companion to "pegasi." Structurally epic but gentle in aura; an easily accessible tale for readers who enjoy mythical creatures. --Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2007

The first book in the "Companions Quartet," Secret of the Sirens picks up where JK Rowling left off concerning the Society for the Preservation of Mythical Creatures fantasy enthusiasts. It's a classic hero's journey with Connie, a twelve-year-old newcomer to Hescombe, Great Britain, as the heroine. Unbeknownst to her, she is a descendant of a long line of companions to mythical creatures, but she thinks her ability to get along and communicate with animals is just another reason why she doesn't fit in to the regular school scene. She has transferred from several different schools and finally ends up living with her eccentric Aunt Evelyn, a threshold guardian, unsure of letting Connie know of the existence of the secret society. When it appears that Connie not only should be a member, but the highest ranking member as a universal companion to all mythical creatures and the only one who can save them from the exploits of modern-day business expansion, she fully supports Connie's gift, and becomes her ardent protector, as well as a loving aunt. Battling the Shapeshifter, an evil force that threatens the human world, Connie and the other companions, along with the help of the mythical creatures, save an oil tanker from crashing upon the sharp rocks and spilling black oil throughout the sea. The evil force appears to be destroyed, but Connie senses it will re-gather and confront her, the universal companion, in the future to again tempt her to help him destroy humankind. This is a great fantasy that is well written and riveting to the reader. An underlying message about saving our environment is intertwined throughout the story, and it also integrates characters of diverse ethnicities. It is a wonderful start to a series that will quickly develop a following. --Children's Literature, April 2007

About the Author

This is Julia Golding's first novel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

My journey to becoming an author has been a roundabout one, taking in many other careers. I grew up on the edge of Epping Forest (Essex, UK) and was that dreamy kind of child who was always writing stories. After reading English at Cambridge, I decided to find out as much as I could about the wider world so joined the Foreign Office and served in Poland. My work as a diplomat took me from the high point of town twinning in the Tatra Mountains to the low of inspecting the bottom of a Silesian coal mine.

On leaving Poland, I exchanged diplomacy for academia and took a doctorate in the literature of the English Romantic Period at Oxford. I then joined Oxfam as a lobbyist on conflict issues, campaigning at the UN and with governments to lessen the impact of conflict on civilians living in war zones - a cause about which I still feel very passionate.

Married with three children, I now live in Oxford between two rivers, surrounded by gargoyles, beautiful sandstone buildings and ancient trees. I plan my books while walking our dog, Caspar, on Port Meadow by the Thames or Isis.

My first novel, 'The Diamond of Drury Lane', won the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2006 and the Nestle Children's Book Prize 2006 (formerly known as the Smarties Prize). I was also chosen by Waterstone's in 2007 as one of their 'Twenty-five authors for the future'. 'Empty Quarter' was longlisted for the Carnegie Award 2009; 'Wolf Cry' in 2010. In the US, 'Secret of the Sirens' won the honor book medal of the Green Earth Book Award.

Customer Reviews

I enjoyed the mythical creatures in the story and loved the exiting events.
Taylor Killian
So, when she asked me if the book sounded good, I said, "It sounds pretty good to me."
Carol Dulac
I was able to sit down and read the book in one setting and throughly enjoyed it!
Kmundt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Carol Dulac on June 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
One day my library teacher was recommending a book to me, but I wasn't listening. Instead I was looking at the upper shelf at a very fat book with a cool symbol on it. By then my teacher had finished talking about the book she recommended which I didn't even know the title of. So, when she asked me if the book sounded good, I said, "It sounds pretty good to me." But when she left I looked straight at the other book. It was called "Secret of the Sirens" by Julia Golding. I decided to read it and it is one of the best books I've read in my life.

It is about a ten year old girl called Connie. She lives with her aunt because of specific problems in her past schools. She has a very special bond with animals and soon discovers that her aunt is in a secret society (for the protection of mythical creatures).

Connie is very strange girl with two mismatched eyes, one green and one blue. She also can talk to animals and claims them to be her best friends.

If you like fantasy of myths this is a good book to read, but you have to be a pretty advanced reader with a big vocabulary. I think this book will become a classic. --By Michael (a student in msdu's class)
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kmundt on September 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
For one of my college classes I had to choose a book in the 5th or 6th grade reading level that I had never read before. At first I was scrambling around because it's been awhile since I've been in the 5th or 6th grade. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find a book to read that didn't make me want to bang my head against a wall. Then I was in my local library and I found this book. I have always been interested in mythology so I thought I'd take a chance. I'm glad I did! This book introduces not only creatures from Greek mythology but creatures from other cultures; some of which I had never even heard of before! The story is excellently woven with real life problems, such as enviromental pollution, and problems of a mythic nature, such as flying lessons on a pegasus! The main character, Connie, is easily relatable to the target audience. She has to deal with the pressures of starting a new school and making friends while at the same time feeling odd and out of place. While I felt like the climax of the story started a little early, I can see why the early hook would be neccesary for a younger audience. I was able to sit down and read the book in one setting and throughly enjoyed it! This book would be great to introduce in a classroom to have students look at myths and to create their own stories or to have them draw out scence from the book. This also can be used in talking about the effects of pollution on the enviroment and ecosystmes.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jesse D. Walker on April 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
I kept thinking "Wow, this is so similar to the Harry Potter stuff"... not necessarily in a bad, plagiaristic way, but I kept seeing parallels: the main character, distant parents, raised by a relative, the mentors in the Society, the bad guy, the companions, the general mythology, etc. Maybe it comes with the female British author thing. I dunno.

It wasn't quite as well-written as the Harry Potter books (depth of character development, believable character actions and plot outcomes), but those books are kind of exceptional. For a young adult book, this was a good one. There was a non-subtle overtone of environmental concern weaved throughout the story, so don't get upset if your kid wants to save the whales (and everything else) after reading this. Oh, and ride a pegasus. I want one now. Or maybe a dragon.

It is, after all, labeled an "eco-fantasy" for a reason (I didn't even know that was a genre!)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Spears on April 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't know why this series hasn't blown up yet. My fifth grade boys were starving for a new series after finishing Percy Jackson. We tried a few different books, but they didn't have that mythological theme the boys loved. I happened to find this book and tried it out with them. We all love it! They have just finished The Gorgon's Gaze and are begging for the third book! I will admit that Secret of the Sirens starts off a little slow, because Ms. Golding does a thorough job of setting up the story. But it does pick up and then hooks you, making you want more. The Gorgon's Gaze takes a faster pace than Secret of the Sirens (yay!). I'm very eager to read The Chimera's Curse. If you like mythology, you'll love how this book fits different mythological creatures together in one story. If your girl's enjoy mythology, I suggest the Pandora series.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cybele A. Baker VINE VOICE on July 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This series of books is a good premise but falls short of other children's books like Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. I read the entire series before reviewing the books but sadly I really have not enough enthusiasm the do new reviews for each book as I found each book to be the same. I will give book two more stars, about 3-3.5 as opposed to a 2.5-3 for all the others.

For one thing the narrative drags at times and I found myself getting bored by book three and skipping chapters as the author kept rehashing some of the same issues and themes from previous books most of the characters were fairly flat and predictable making it easy to see what was going to happen as the books progressed.

It is not a bad series but I think these books are too simple for kids the age of the protagonist to really find engrossing. Add to that the easy predictability of each book and I find these books lacking by comparison to other current children's series.
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