Thursday, March 31, 2011

REVIEW: The Siren Song (The Cronus Chronicles Book 2)

Ursu, A.  (2008).  The Siren Song.  New York:  Atheneum Books for Young Reader.

430 pages.

Appetizer:  It's been several months since Charlotte and her cousin Zee traveled to the underworld to prevent a revolt against Hades and Charlotte is still grounded for having been out all night.  Her cousin Zee's parents are being overprotective as well.  And Charlotte feels certain that she can get through anything as long as her cousin is by her side, but when Zee starts behaving strangely, Charlotte isn't so sure anymore.  So, when her parents plan for the family to go on a cruise (fun!) to see famed historical sites along the East Coast (less fun), Charlotte thinks it may be her only chance at a break.  She doesn't even suspect that she is venturing into a trap set by Philonecron, who blames her for his failure to take over the Underworld.

The Siren Song lives up to the fun narrative voice set up by the first book in this trilogy, The Shadow Thieves.  As I was reading, I felt Charlotte's frustration with how overbearing her parents were being and I loved Zee's continued struggle to find a place that he belongs (although, Philonecron's fascination with him did become a little too creepy this time around.  As the reader, I wasn't really picking up the supposed would-be-father-wants-you-as-a-son vibe that the story was trying to establish.  For me, it was more of a creepy-demon-guy-is-way-too-in-love-with-a-teenage-boy-ICK vibe.)  I also felt like the story could have been trimmed a little.  (Charlotte spent too much time running around her cruise ship for my liking and I was left with the too-strong desire to want to go on a cruise (if only I had the time/money...I suppose I would be willing to settle for a tanned man servant bringing me drinks and making whooshing sounds to represent the sound of the sea waves.)

As with the first novel, most of the story is told from Charlotte's perspective, with an introduction to give Zee's account.  With this novel, I didn't really feel as though including Zee's perspective added much (except for maybe trying to attract those elusive male readers).

I did like that Poseidon was a featured Greek god in The Siren Song.  It was particularly interesting, since Ursu's approach to creating him was so different from Rick Riordan's in his Percy Jackson series.

I really love the world Ursu has created and the fact that Charlotte, an ordinary girl, must repeatedly best the Greek gods.  With most of the gods disinterest in helping mortals and Charlotte and Zee's acknowledgement that the system has to change, I am very curious to see what happens in the final novel of this trilogy, The Immortal Fire.

Dinner Conversation:

"Once, not so long ago, inside an ordinary middle school in an ordinary city in an ordinary state in the middle of an ordinary country, a small redheaded eighth grader was doing something very ordinary indeed.  Charlotte Mielswetzski (Say it with me:  Meals.  Wet.  Ski.  Got it?  If not, say it again:  Meals.  Wet.  Ski.) was in the school office calling her mother.  And lest you think she was calling her mother for some interesting reason, let me assure you she most certainly was not.  For Charlotte could be found in that same office calling her mother every day after school."  (p. 3).

"An American History cruise!" said Mrs. Mielswetzski.  "Up the East Coast!  Normally, a girl who is grounded doesn't get to go on cruises, but given the educational nature of this one, we thought we'd make an exception."
"Anyway," said Mr. Mielswetzski, "it will give us a lot of time together.  As a family."
Her parents exchanged a happy look.
"Oh," Charlotte said.  "Um, look I've got to go to my room now."  (pp. 16-17)

"It was silly, of course.  Ridiculous.  Normal boys aren't afraid of shopping malls.  Normal boys go out with their friends and have fun and talk about sports and gils and music and video games and don't worry about whether a half-demon/half-god freak is stalking them.  But normal boys just don't have Zee's fabulous luck." (p. 96)

"She was stranded in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a cruise ship full of people in singer-induced comas.  For the last month of her life, she had been feeling increasingly more alone in the world.  Well, now she was truly all alone.

Tasty Rating:  !!!!

1 comment:

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