When the Siren Calls Kindle Edition
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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From the get-go, we have a strong feeling that Isobel is not happy in her marriage. Or perhaps she is simply bored? Her husband, Peter, is all about his work, and what she wants is romance. To quote: "...a night of dining under the stars with music, dancing, and horse riding across desert dunes..." Fifteen year of marriage to a workaholic just might do that to a woman, that's understandable. Jay is a businessman, just like Peter, but he is more adventurous, a different type of person who can, perhaps, give her what she wants.
This is the beginning of the story of Isobel's journey that would lead her into a romance and deception, punctuated with a lot of steamy encounters, and ending with her seeing that the life of lies she's created is closing in around her.
However, the way I read it, the book is not just about Isobel's ill-conceived idea of eroticism. There are plenty of characters in this novel who play pivotal roles as well - Peter and Jay and also Andy represent the male side; Isoble, Maria, Gina, Lucy, and Rusty stand for the women's team. The storyline becomes a complex game between the characters playing for the stakes of pleasure and dominance (not that kind, get your minds out of the gutter, people.)
The only problem I see here is that there's really no problem - nothing to solve, nothing of importance to achieve, nothing to overcome. There is Isobel, of course, who needs some excitement but it hardly qualifies in my opinion; twists, and turns, and the problems that arise throughout the story do, however, keep the narrative going. So, one way to think of it, this is about a bunch of rich folk who are so bored with their lives that they would do anything childish and absurd just to feel something. On the other hand, that pretty much is the premise of any soap opera out there and they work beautifully.
The writing style is very polished and sophisticated, the main storyline and the subplots are well put together. If you like complex stories, do give this one a try.
First thing's first: Forget the cover and the title, because they have absolutely nothing to do with this book. At all. That being said, I received a copy of this book off NetGalley in exchange for a review.
The book was bordering on awful. I pushed - I pushed hard to keep myself reading this book, but in the end it took me more than a week to finish. The first chapter started really promising. There was action and intrigue and a colorful scene full of description. I felt I was there in that market square with Isobel as she was being dogged by a crowd of greedy street urchins. I loved it, honestly. I remember thinking "Yes! This book is going to be awesome!" and I eagerly pushed onwards to read more.
Unfortunately, after the first chapter the engaging quality of the text started to die a slow death. By 27% into the book I wanted to close it and never open it again. The characters were unlikeable and boring. The scenes kept switching back and forth between Jay and Isobel, and what they were showing me wasn't pleasant. By that 27% mark I had come to the conclusion that there was very little redeemable about the two characters. Isobel was naive and snobbish, and Jay was womanizing and well.. a man-whore. That's all there is to it. But, I pushed on.
Around the time I hit 40% in the book, things started picking up again. I think for the most part it was because they'd started in on the deception plots, explaining more about how everything was going to fall apart, and by then (finally) Isobel and Jay had met back up. As much as I hated the two characters individually, together they were entertaining... maybe in part because I felt they deserved each other.
On the one hand, I was glad to see things starting to progress about mid-way into the book, but on the other hand I have to say that if I hadn't felt the need to write a review, I probably would have given up on this book long before I'd reached mid-way. The book failed to keep my interest that far in - and as an author, it's a failure when you can't keep your audience past the first chapter.
As the story wore on, I found myself spending more time reading and less time turning my kindle on and off in an attempt to avoid looking at the book. (I'll admit one night I forced a family member into watching old episodes of tv shows so I'd have an excuse NOT to read the book). I wish I were kidding. The story got really entertaining in the last 1/4 of the book as everyone's deceptions started to fall apart and more time was spent on the relationship between Isobel and Jay.
I'll admit that in that last part of the book, I was desperately hoping Isobel would leave Peter and marry Jay. I hated them both vehemently, don't get me wrong.. In fact I think the only character that was at all decent was probably Isobel's friend. She was at least honest with herself and everyone else. She told it like she saw it. I have to admire that. I'll also admit that I secretly liked Lucy for a few small moments near the end of the book... but overall, I just hated all the characters. Still, I was cheering for Isobel and Jay - hoping they'd end up together and maybe he'd quit being such an ass.. not because I liked either of them, but because they so obviously deserved each other, and I think in a way, Isobel really loved Jay. I'd like to think Jay loved her back, but he's such a jerk that I wouldn't hold my breath for it.
Overall, I didn't really appreciate the book as much as I'd hoped. I didn't find it engaging, the characters weren't likeable for the most part, and the pace just seemed to crawl in large sections of the story. However, once I got over the hump of the first half the book, the second half was much more entertaining. I like Jay and Isobel as a couple (thought not as individuals). I can appreciate the sort of tragedy that was their relationship, and I enjoyed watching their lives fall apart in some sadistic sort of way. Would I read it again? No. Would I have read past the first 27% if I hadn't felt obligated? No. Would I recommend it to anyone? Possibly.
I think someone with a greater love of business-talk and complicated deceptions would have liked the book more than I did. There was certainly a quality of intelligence to the twist and turns of the plot. I generally prefer the romance of a book - something this lacked to a degree. The writing itself was clear and well-written, it's just the story itself that had me wanting to put this down. I think what I was looking for when I went into this was a romance, or at least a hot erotica, and what I found was in part, more of a tragedy and sad depiction of how two people unhappy with their lives could tear down not only their own lives, but those around them in a desperate attempt to dig themselves out of misery.
Most recent customer reviews
The prose is quite lovely, but at times it got a little too dry/dense/verbose even for me.Read more