I am sort of stumped for a review for this. On one hand-I don't want to alienate a million people by saying it wasn't my cup of tea but on the other, it wasn't book I disliked either. Usually I love something or hate it or it was just okay but The Siren wasn't any of those things for me.
Actually it was all of them. Maybe I'll go with that!
-I loved the writing. Beautiful, thoughtful prose free of any cliches. A huge surprise for this genre I must admit and got me very excited early in.
-Loved the characters Wesley and Grace. Which is strange because I usually wouldn't.
-Loved the realism. The emotions of the characters were tangible and there was something profound slipped in every other paragraph. So yes, flawless writing.
-Hated the actions of some of the protagonists. I didn't see myself as someone who lives in a magical HEA paradise of bubbles and unicorns and cotton candy but in contrast to the mood of this novel-I evidently am. I can take a bit of the whole BDSM scene. handcuffs? Great. Gag? Blindfold? Spanking? Sure!
BEATEN TO THE POINT OF BEING ADMITTED TO A HOSPITAL???? NOOOOOOO!!!
And this is my main issue with this novel. Not the book itself but the lifestyle it represents TERRIFIES me and in hindsight, had I known it was such an honest, depressing peek into such a brutal world I probably wouldn't have read it. And not because I'm straight vanilla, hell no- I'll try lots of ice cream flavours in the right state of mind but the torture thing eludes me. I fainted getting my tattoo and belly-button pierced so to me there's a really big brick wall between pleasure and pain. And yet this still isn't the biggest factor.
Any society or exclusive elite that bow to one person's power is going to piss me off. Bikies, Cults, Organised fanatical religion, One Direction Concerts and Military Regimes are going to send me heading for the hills. Apparently, I can add BDSM clubs to that list. Am I afraid of them? No, simply judgemental of people with delusions of power and the sheep that follow them and this is how I feel about the supposed 'White whale alpha man' of this series, Soren. If I met him, and he clicked for me to kneel, I would pee myself on his shiny orgy floor from the giggles. If he were to drag me out the back for public urination to be 'taken care of' at gunpoint or whatever, the last evidence of me there would be, would be a selfie on Facebook STILL laughing with this older, pale priest who's apparently hot in the background, captioned : 'Dafaq?'
Soren's closer to Ewan Macgregor in Angels and Demons for me, than Christian Grey. Only hop off the 50 Shades joy-train here if you want to know what it's really like with a dom, not if you want something similar to fifty! And I didn't expect 50-however a lot of 50 shades fans recommended it to me so some people, those who don't read blurbs, are going to be sent down a very overgrown garden path.
Anyway so when the uber-man is the one our heroine is lusting after is abhorrent to me, there is going to be a disconnect and I disconnected with Nora because of it. With that link gone-it left me with one other POV-George, and I wasn't about to start foaming at the mouth for a man in his forties from London with a stick up his butt. Now to be fair, I came around to liking George. In the end he finally grew a pair and I was doing a one-person mexican wave. But there was a lot of angst to swim through before the current took over and I almost didn't make it that far.
And as much as I came around to George, by the end I HATED Nora! Oh Nora you silly little fool! If she didn't lose me at Soren, she lost me that night in the club in which she was come on, took a 15 year old boy's virginity, mounted Curious George in a roadstar and then ended the evening by climbing into Wes's bed.
No no no! She waxes lyrical about feminine empowerment and gives it up for everyone! EVERYONE! She claims to love two and be heartbroken by the third and yet attracted to every hot girl or pubescent boy that looks at her sideways. And yet everyone is supposed to accept it and smile because she's a woman and we're hearing her roar and she's so tough and smart and beautiful and talented but as far as female role models go, she's down there with Courtney Love for me. She says she does a lot of what she does because she needed a roof in her head, but personally there's more dignity in being homeless sometimes.
I know this is for me and I know that people who have read the whole series or are more insightful and less judgemental are going to get little me voodoo dolls and poke them in my typing fingers but I have to be honest. The heavy BDSM scene simply confounds me. I have a shady past. I have a shady parent. I was bullied. I was an outcast-but I dealt with it in a healthy fashion. The belief that physical pain is less than inner pain is just fine and dandy and people everywhere suffer from this issue and I can see how a bit of S&M can help deal with it....at first. However, I am not swayed by the old : 'Ahh those people down there are investment bankers and politicians! You must respect what we do because they are society's leaders!'
Umm....no, no I don't. Those people are often the scum of society, like with the guy in the story fantasising about his 12 year old niece. That IS a job for Bikers and 1D fans. If he's agreeing to have it beaten and coming back, it's because he's still getting off on it. A castration would fix it up a lot quicker!
And if this lifestyle was effective for helping emotionally stilted people progress with their lives then WHy is Nora literally incapable of having regular sex? She's not fixed. She's been in the lifestyle her entire life and she is a mental case because of it eager to drag others in! The fact that she backs off Wesley is the only thing that redeems her for me, but the fact that she does it while returning from the hospital is just too little too late.
There were a few sexy scenes in this but it wasn't a 'one-handed' read for me because I was too distressed for the poor characters. Like I said early in I adored Wesley and just wanted to cuddle him myself! Had the story shown more focus on him and Grace, who's just the sweetest little bug ever, I would have loved this a lot more.
Overall this book left me in a pretty gloomy mood with only mild curiosity to read on. I can see why it's so popular of course-it's raw and passionate, beautifully written and I commend the author for the story she's told. While you're reading it you are very much in it, like it's playing out on a screen and matters so much to you-however I'd rather be 'in' somewhere a little bit more positive. I didn't want to finish it a few times, and yet I couldn't not finish it so that says a lot for how compelling it can be because I can be pretty quick to ditch.
It is a 4 star read but methinks it belongs on the 'Classics' shelf. It made me laugh and moved me to the point of tears a lot-I just wish it had done that more often instead of making me wince. But only the very best books can make you wince and read on. Everyone should read it and judge for themselves and every judgement would be valid. But to twist one of my favourite quotes from 500 Days Of Summer-This is a story about erotica, NOT an erotic story.