First off, I flip-flopped between this being a four or five star review. I took a little bit of time to fully digest the story before sitting down to write my review. In the end, I decided I REALLY LIKED this story.
WHAT I LIKED
The Sisters and Their Family
It was really refreshing to read a story from the perspective of not just the lead character (which often happens in YA), but also that of her sister. In fact, I would argue that both Harper and Gemma are the lead characters of the story. Their relationship was realistically played out from arguments to sisterly bonding moments. I liked Harper a bit more than Gemma, but mostly because I'm the oldest sister in my family so I understood her point of view. Harper is a bit rough on Gemma, which may upset some readers, but it's easy to understand how Harper had to step into the role of mother when their own mom was severely injured in an auto accident years earlier.
The sisters' relationship with their mentally disabled mother was really touching, yet sad and added an interesting element to the story. Their father is not an absentee dad, which was also refreshing. He's a part of their lives and I enjoyed his sense of humor especially when one the love interests of his daughters were about.
Though the family is a bit fractured, it was nice to see an actual family unit surrounding Gemma.
The Sisters and Their Love Interests
I was worried at first about Alex, the next door neighbor who is also Harper's best friend. Once he and Gemma started connecting I was inwardly flinching at the idea of there being a love triangle with the two sisters and Alex. Happily, this did not occur. In fact, there was no love triangle at all. Which I loved! Both sisters end up with potential love interests that create unique challenges for both of them. Though Gemma has an easier time in some regards connecting with Alex, I did enjoy Harper's struggles to not be drawn to Daniel. One of her strengths and flaws is her fierce determination to succeed and not let things get in her way.
The Sirens and Their Mythology
Greek mythology and mermaids are huge right now in YA. I was hoping for a unique take on both in this novel and was pleasantly surprised. The Sirens in the book are quite scary and intriguing. I thoroughly enjoyed their back story as well. Also, their stalking of Gemma was quite creepy and Penn really gave me the willies.
I really liked the way the author melded the siren mythos into the tale.
WHAT I LIKED...SORTA
About a third of the way through the book, I sat back and thought, "I'm reading The Lost Boys with girls." Once that thought hit, it was hard for me not to see the comparison. There was a lot of similarities with the 80's vampire film. Instead of the two brothers, we have the two sisters; instead of the vampires, we have the sirens. Also, the story has missing people, a fair scene, a transformation scene in a cave, a mysterious bottle that the lead character must drink from, and even a variation of the bridge scene where David urges Michael to "Let go!" except Gemme gets hurtled off a cliff into a cove.
Don't get me wrong. I liked the book A LOT. And I do realize that most stories have been told to some degree. Having a wholly original work is EXTREMELY difficult. Consider the millions of books that have been published. Similarities will happen. There were just too many in this book for me to declare it AMAZING and love it completely.
I have really enjoyed all the books I've read from Amanda Hocking. Hollowland and Hollowmen were really good, but this one is my favorite so far. I am definitely looking forward to the next Watersong novel, which is titled LULLABY. I'm also bumping up her Trylle trilogy since I enjoyed this one so much.
If you don't like mermaids, skip this one. I'm predisposed to love anything to do with mermaids and Greek mythology, but I realize not everyone is on board. Of course, I hate anything with angels...so there you go.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA, mermaids, Greek mythology, and stories about sisters.