Monday, August 19, 2013

Early Review: Silent Echo: A Siren's Tale by Elisa Freilich

Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Diversion Books
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Facebook

Haunted by silence, a mute teenage girl is mysteriously given back her voice ... and it is divine.
Rendered mute at birth, Portia Griffin has been silent for 16 years. Music is her constant companion, along with Felix, her deaf best friend who couldn’t care less whether or not she can speak. If only he were as nonchalant about her newfound interest in the musically gifted Max Hunter.
But Portia’s silence is about to be broken with the abrupt discovery of her voice, unparalleled in its purity and the power it affords to control those around her. Able to persuade, seduce and destroy using only her voice, Portia embarks on a search for answers about who she really is, and what she is destined to become.
Inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, SILENT ECHO: A Siren's Tale is an epic story filled with fantasy, romance and original music.

Silent Echo has some really good things going for it. One of them is the interesting take on the story of the sirens from Homer's story. Only two of the original sirens are evil, one of them just goes along with the whole luring sailors to their death thing, because of a promise she made to her mother. 

See, her mother loved her best because...well, the other two girls were kind of psychotic. And she'd heard from a seer that if her beloved daughter didn't go along with her sisters' nefarious plans, that they would kill her. So the mother made her promise (while she was dying) to go along with whatever her sisters wanted her to do. And that's how we ended up hearing the tale of three sirens who liked to eat sailors. 

Then along comes Portia. She's been mute her entire life, and has given up on ever being able to speak. It's ok, though. She has wonderful parents, goes to a great school, and has good friends. Especially her best friend, Felix. He's deaf, and the the two of them have come up with their own special form of communication over the years. Life is pretty good, considering.

Well, it is until strange and scary things start happening to her body, including coughing and feeling that her throat is closing up. Lots of odd things happen, but long story short, she turns into a siren.
But I'm guessing you already knew that, right?

Enter the new boy, Max. He's hot, he's sweet, he's charming, and he's got musical talent oozing out of his pores. He's also head-over-heels for Portia.

But what about poor Felix, you ask?
Ah, yes. Felix has changed over the summer, and turned into a pretty good-looking boy himself. And he's also in love with Portia.
Warning! Warning! Triangle Ahead!
There's no avoiding this one, folks. She loves Max, she loves Felix.  Whatshegonnado?!
I personally don't care who she ends up with, but I'm sure some of the fans out there will have t-shirts printed up by the time they finish the book.

Even with a love triangle, I still thought the plot was fresh and interesting.
In fact, I only have one real complaint. Unfortunately, it's a big one, and the reason that I just couldn't bring myself to rate the book any higher.
The Singing.

Huh? The book is about sirens. They sing. It's their superpower, right? 
Yes. But this book is filled to the brim with these kids singing to each other. Max sings to Portia, he writes songs for her, he sings her to sleep (via webcam), he even pulls an impromptu song out of his ass in the freaking lunchroom about how badly she is treating him. Portia sings to Max, she has some sort of an Epic Rap Battle in the mirror with an evil siren, and she even sings to boys in the hallway. Speaking of the hallway songs... She actually asks one of the boys to beat-box to 'Bust A Move' so that she can impress them with her vocal styling. Yes, I'm serious.The list goes on and on. 

By the end of the book, I felt like I had just had to sit through High School Musical or some other tween Disney movie with my girls...again. And ya know what? It's fun to watch those campy movies with my eight year old, because she and my five year old don't know any better. They actually think teenagers run through the hallways battling it out vocally.  
*laughs hysterically*
*wipes tears from eyes*
Ahhh. That was fun.

But in reality, that doesn't happen. Well, unless high school has dramatically changed over the years. Somehow, I don't think so. However, if you are currently in high school and you and your chums run around having West Side Story song battles in the cafeteria? Feel free to correct me and leave your comments at the bottom. I've got a son heading into ninth grade soon, and if that's the case, I should probably get him in with a voice coach now...

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