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The ocean is uncontrollable and dangerous. But to the sirens who swim the warm island waters, it’s a home more than worth protecting from the humans and their steam-propelled ships. Between their hypnotic voices and the strength of their powerful tails, sirens have little to fear.

That is, until the ruthless pirate captain, Kian, creates a device to cancel out their songs.

Perle was the first siren captured, and while all since have either been sold or killed, Kian still keeps them prisoner. Though their song is muted and their tail paralyzed, Perle’s hope for escape rekindles as another pirating vessel seizes Kian’s ship. This new captain seems different, with his brilliant smile and his promises that Kian will never again be Perle’s master. But he’s still a human, and a captor in his own way. The compassion he and his rag-tag human family show can’t be sincere… or can it?

Soon it becomes clear that Kian will hunt Perle relentlessly, taking down any siren in her path. As the tides turn, Perle must decide whether to run from Kian forever, or ride the forming wave into battle, hoping their newfound human companions will fight with them.

This adult fantasy novel featuring an nonbinary disabled protagonist is a voyage of laughter and danger where friendships and love abound and sirens are sure to steal—or eat—your heart. It is the first book to take place in the These Treacherous Tides world and functions as a standalone prequal. (For more information on reading order, please visit D.N. Bryn's website.)

Content warnings include mild gore due to carnivorous sirens and sensations of drowning.

206 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 26, 2018

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About the author

D.N. Bryn

12 books324 followers
D.N. Bryn is a queer, disabled author of speculative fiction and fantasy romance.

When not writing, they conduct infectious disease surveillance in their hometown of San Diego, where they enjoy basking in the Santa Ana winds, hiking the brush-heavy slopes, and eating too many tacos.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 365 reviews
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,968 followers
June 5, 2020

Well, to be more precise, a bloody, action-filled romance including the mermaid legend as Sirens, and lots of conflict between humans and factions of the sirens.

More than anything, it's a character study and a gradual shifting of priorities and emotions and it's quite LGBT friendly.

What's great about it is the body horror and the sign language, the slow building of trust, and eventually the heroism on both sides. Perle really comes into their own and this is NOT exactly a light rendition of the Little Mermaid... more like it's the gritty dystopian version.

Well worth the read. And it goes nicely with the growing trend of the mermaid genre! :)
October 1, 2019
This book was amazing, it had me hook and sinker from the first page. I completely fell for the world of Siren filled waters and all the good characters found in this novel. Lucky me, I was able to read this while visiting the beach, and it was a superb experience.

Pearl (they/them) is the main Siren character in this story and the reader follows their journey through their point of view, which was just the neatest experience. When we first meet Pearl, they are held captive and chained by pirate Kian (she/her) but no less bloodthirsty or void of feist.

How did they end up there?

Kian has a device that finds Sirens by their songs. Pearl was her first capture, all the others have been sold or killed. Held prisoner under the worst conditions, Pearl does not think they'd be free again until Kian's pirate ship is captured by another pirate, who may want to wager his gains with them too.

Dejean (he/him) is different. He is the most humane and wonderful pirate I've ever encountered in a novel. Nothing short of bold and brave when needed, he extends kindness to Pearl which is met at first with growls and sneering teeth. It takes time to gain their trust, and eventually, they begin to communicate. From hand signs to the flourishing banter between them, it is one of the greatest parts of this book. Pearl's thoughts are witty and sarcastic.

Why is Dejean trying to be so nice to her?

A plan is devised to relocate Pearl from the ship, but Kian's torture has left her with damaged nerves in her tail. Still frightened mostly and mistrusting humans, Perl seeks the open ocean, a risky escape that leaves them even more vulnerable.

Will they ever be able to escape capture and live free again?

Needed rest and second chances are given when new characters enter the novel and become a dear part of it. Perle is thriving but still overcoming challenges from the disability. Their newly found pod of humans around becomes a trusted part of life and comfort, and a confrontation with their Siren kind raises questions of where their loyalties lie.

They are not out of the danger zone. Kian has made it her mission to hunt down her first catch across the far oceans and the shores. Darkness seeps in quietly while Pearle is vulnerable and surprised, but they have already made up their mind. Kill Kian!

A battle for life and death ensues!


*Disclaimer: this is my first book review using gender-neutral pronouns. I apologize for the mistakes I made in advance.

This book, I believe, entered the SPFBO 5 challenge 2019 by author Mark Lawrence and is currently still in the running. I hope this novel will go far!
I am not one of the judges for the challenge to sort out finalists and a winner, nor am I directly comparing this novel against other entries or hold it to the binds put forth of that competition. So, independently for me and for my perspective enjoyment of this creative novel, I am rating it 5-stars regardless of the SPFBO 5 outcome.

I stinking loved the idea of the Siren's pov and the communication that transpired between Pearl and the humans, especially Dejean. Their relationship became a close-knit and intimate part of this story that upheld a bonded friendship beyond bias, crossing boundaries. A tribute to seeing with your heart and not with your eyes. This became especially clear at the end of the novel.

Our Bloody Pearl adds another variable into the mix. Pearl's mistreatment has left them paralyzed. So, not only is one of the characters disabled, but it is a mythological creature that has to overcome obstacles or challenges. The idea of humans going out of their way to help Pearl achieve adequate independence for a normal living was so different from what I have read before and I loved this. While there were anger, fear, and hate, there was also a message of hope and forgiveness to be found.

D.N. Bryn did really well with timing the growth and development of characters and keeping the reader tethered with uncertainty while producing a feeling of hope simultaneously. The scenes of either intimate moments and or the harrowing action fights were intuitively written and read fluidly engrossing.

I didn't experience any tropes per se but felt the connection between Pearl and Dejean could be love and would develop simply romantically. That it didn't. It became more! As much as I was thinking about the progression of the plot along the way, I did not foresee the outcome or the event arcs which added to my love for this book. I'm not saying others may not foreshadow things, but for me, I simply enjoyed it bit by bit as it played out.

Such a well-written adventure. I loved the strongly developed characters, the banter, the friendship, and the tension. There were LGBTQ+ characters represented and a brief conversation about gender and sexuality from the Siren's perspective and respective species.

Coming into this story knowing just the general basics of Sirens but nothing really detailed about them, I feel like I've actually learned a bit more about these mythological creatures. If it hasn't been written anywhere before this detailed in a fiction novel, I believe the Sirens to be very well imagined and described by the author.

If you have the chance to read this novel, DO IT. I loved it and can't do it justice with my miser review ;)

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much, D.N. Bryn. I love it when a book hits all the notes and I feel honored to have been picked with the opportunity to read and review it.

More of my reviews here:
Profile Image for Kira Martin.
4 reviews8 followers
July 21, 2018
If you’re looking to join a queer pirate gang, you’ve found it. 🌈💀⛵🌈

Our Bloody Pearl is like no other book I’ve read–in under 250 pages, there were discussions of gender and sexuality, as well as more LGBTQ+ represenation than I’ve ever seen. There were parts where this discussion became just barely clumsy, but in a sweet, innocent way you can only expect from a bloodthirsty siren and a dorky pirate captain. I’ve never seen a story where the main character didn’t identity as male or female, and honestly I’m so about it.

I love how settled into Perle’s head the reader is–all the metaphors and analogies hold the magic of the ocean and the creatures in it. But even though the story is from Perle’s perspective, that’s not to say you don’t get into the heads of other awesome characters–like Dejean, the dorky pirate captian, who seems entirely too sweet for the ruthless work he’s cut out for. I especially loved the interactions between him and Perle and found myself attempting to mimicking their special brand of sign language.

Exploring the world is fascinating–with steam punk ships that fly in the air and siren pods that roam the ocean with their hauntingly beautiful songs and vicious society, how could it not be? But at the root of it all rises an interesting question of what makes someone human.

Overall, this book was a great read and I definitely need to take a trip to the beach ASAP. From the first chapter, Our Bloody Pearl settled into an easy rythym that sucked me in and held me in its grasp from start to finish, much like the siren songs this book describes.

I recommend you check this book out and support a Writeblr author by leaving a review of how much you enjoyed it! Not just to be nice but because I’m selfish and need someone to talk about this book.

Please. Please read this so I can gush to someone.
Profile Image for Sleepless Dreamer.
852 reviews222 followers
June 15, 2020
This book is very fan-fiction, in the best way possible. From the emphasis on diversity and all the way to the fantasy elements, it feels like it was born out of tumblr. I could easily draw fanart for this (I once animated a short thingie with diverse merpeople (because queer mermaids!!) so this is absolutely where my creative talents lie). 

This is the tale of a nonbinary siren who falls in love with a pirate. It's every bit as soft and sweet as you're picturing it. There's a solid enemies-to-lovers arc, plenty of wholesome energy and this feeling that everything is going to be okay, that we're going to get a happy ending. Which, sometimes in life, you just need, especially when I have a quiz next week and do not feel nearly as prepared as I should. 

Next to all of this, there's a bit of a conversation about disability. People who have experienced such a thing will have to speak up about the accuracy of this representation but for me, it was such a fascinating process, seeing Perle accept the loss of their tail and find new ways to live. Recovery is such a main theme here and I'm definitely here for that. 

There's so much about this book that's appealing. Dejean and Perle communicate with sign language. The romance is not nearly as prominent as this journey of trust between them. The asexual representation of this book was great as well, I haven't read any fantasy novels with an ace main character. I loved that Perle was nonbinary, even if it plays into the whole "nonbinary people aren't humans, they're robots/ aliens/ etc" troupe. 

However, I didn't quite like the way it never really gets discussed that Perle eats humans. I mean, yeah, they don't want to eat Dejean but how is this relationship going to work long term? Will Dejean keep killing people for them? What happens when Dejean runs out of bodies? This doesn't feel like a very good beginning for a romance. 

The middle of this book also lost some steam and it felt like there were a few chapters in the middle where the author didn't quite know where to take this story. That said, at 250 pages, it doesn't matter much and it picks up and delivers an ending. 

All in all, this is just nice. I feel like I've been reading so many heavy and sad things recently so disappearing into a soft fantasy was nice. I think this book is absolutely going to find its niche of readers and if you're interested in diverse fantasy-romance, you can't really go wrong with this. 

What I'm Taking With Me
- Perle's narrative was so well crafted, I'm not very much of a sea person but it gave me this urge to go to the beach.
- There's this scene where Perle points out the humans keep entering the siren's territory and Dejean says that they have no idea what the borders of the siren territory are. It's interesting because it feels true, like they can't communicate so why would they know?
- As a vegetarian, I have to admit Perle's eating habits made me squeamish. I just read a very long paper about kidney donations and here they are, eating one, how rude. 
Profile Image for Dash fan .
1,464 reviews706 followers
March 20, 2022
4☆ A Captivating and Enthralling YA Fantasy, with a sprinkle of Romance.

Wow I really don't know where to start with this book as I've never read anything quiet like it before. But I was thoroughly enthralled.

There's Violence, Adventure, Action, A Budding friendship, romance, plenty of drama, pirates and blood thirsty sirens which for me was fascinating.

The characters were superbly written especially Perle the siren and Dejean her captor although they had a bond he tried to save her with rehabilitation and care, both characters enthralled me.

As I said before this isn't my usual genre or like anything I have ever read before, but the Author kept me captivated and hooked the whole way through. If you enjoy YA Fantasy with a dash of slow burn Romance, Pirates and Sirens then this is definitely the book for you! But if not give it a try anyway as you might just be pleasantly surprised like I was!

I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.

You can Find this Review and all my Other Reviews on My Blog :-

Profile Image for Jennifer (bunnyreads).
460 reviews68 followers
December 2, 2019

Captain Kian has an edge, she has made a blocking device that keeps her crew safe from the Sirens’ songs, making it possible to hunt their waters successfully without fear. Too bad she’s such a tyrant.

Captain Dejean and his crew of pirates, board Kian’s ship intending to get their hands on that edge. But what Dejean finds instead is the captive siren, Perle.


I wasn’t sure about this one at first, some of the eating scenes at the beginning, hit my squick-o-meter hard, and I’ve never been much on interspecies relationships. Especially when the teeth are that sharp. But I have to admit I fell hard for this story.

There’s a beauty to this tale and to the writing. The story is quiet and lovely in its own way, with touches of humor and an underlying theme of healing and acceptance. The almost slice of life feeling gives it more of a Magical Realism slant than the Steampunk that the mechanical contraptions imply.

At times the atmosphere is thick with emotions and the absolute love and desiderium for the sea by Perle, made me want to follow the Sirens’ Song. I enjoyed this a lot. Especially when I didn’t think too hard on the mechanics of the things to do with POV, or how easily it was to overcome years of hatred of a species.

There were a few devices that I didn’t understand quite how they worked – Perle has lost the use of their tail and Murielle (I loved Murielle) has made them a brace of sorts, to help them swim – so this totally went beyond comprehension for me, but I also can’t swim, and that could be all you need to understand the mechanics behind it. I don’t know. But, I really didn’t care how it worked either – I just wanted Perle to have the Sea again.

There were times too, when I wondered why the author didn’t have a second POV for some of the events that were outside, or should have been outside of Perle’s view point. But I decided that the whole dynamic would have been a lot different and this worked for me because of the tone, and because of Perle being who they were. While I loved everyone else (except Kian, even though I felt sympathy for her at the end) it was Perle who sold the story and who grabbed my heart.

So, for me this is the kind of story that you let fill you with emotions and enjoy it for the beauty of what it is and don’t think too hard on the rest.

Other notes

*There is a love story here but not in the sense you’d expect, there is no sex or unbridled passion. I don’t think there was even a kiss. It’s two people (well, one man and one fish; Perle would be so mad at me for calling them a fish) finding a place and family together, learning to see past the prejudices, the past hurts and their differences and to love those very things about one another.

* This is LGBQT friendly.

* Works well as a standalone, in fact, I was a little surprised to see it was a first book.

link to announcement for my team choice


spfbo score 7/1o
Profile Image for Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.).
401 reviews429 followers
November 25, 2018

I want to thank the author for sending me, so kindly, a copy for review. As always, my thoughts on the book are 100% my own and honest

Wow this book, I really liked it, and I can't wait for the next one. I think it's one of the most unique books I've read this year, it's full of well-made representations and lovable characters, very well created.


4/5 Stars

You can find more of my review on my blog A Book. A Thought.

In this story we follow Perle, a mermaid who has been captured by the fearsome pirate captain Kian, who in her quest to capture mermaids and sell them, has created a device which blocks their voices, by preventing them from singing, and in this way has stripped them of one of their most lethal weapons. Perle's hope of escape is revived when the ship is taken by other pirates, and this new captain, with his bright smiles seems different than the rest and promises Perle that she'll never return to Kian's hands. But he's still a human and a captor in some way, so Perle is not sure if she can really trust him. As the tides change, Perle must decide whether to escape once and for all from Kian, or ride the wave and defeat her, so that she no longer hurts more mermaids, waiting for these new humans to join her.

The book is entirely told from Perle's point of view, and that's so incredible, I usually enjoy multiple POVs, but this time I feel it was perfect that the story was only told from Perle's point of view, since she's a mermaid, she has a very particular and different way of seeing the world out of the water and the humans that live in it. There are times when she describes how the sirens live and how they relate, and I feel that it's so interesting, in fact the sirens don't identify themselves with any gender, they can change their sexual organs to female or male depending on what their needs are, what which I found so interesting, unique and incredible. This gave to the plot something very special, since Perle refers to everyone as THEM or THEY, until she goes more bonding with humans and understanding how they live and how they feel represented. I think all this is the most unique and different that this book has, and it was indeed a pleasant surprise for me, it gives to the story a lot of diversity and makes you see the world differently, loved that.

The way in which sexual diversity is touched in this book is beautiful, so natural and relaxed. The conversations are so amazing.


The writing style is very different from what I'm used to, but that was a good thing, I enjoyed it a lot, I feel it's one of those writings that should be read slowly in order to enjoy them, it has very beautiful and poetic quotes.
Even so, I think that the book in general is slow pace, but if this is not a problem for you, you'll surely enjoy it

The world building is really good, but I would have liked to see a little more of the sirens world as such, maybe this is something that will be seen more in the next book, so I'll be waiting for it. The whole structure of the sirens like these beings that hunt, and are a little cold but also very loyal, it was fantastic. I think it's a world full of possibilities and I need to know more about. It's very atmospheric and I think it is due to the beautiful writing style.

Confession Time #1: It's the first time I read a story entirely about mermaids. And it has been a new and rewarding experience for me, now I'm determined to read more about it

Confession Time #2: I don't usually like pirate stories, I know, SHOCK lol. I don't know why, but I usually find pirates as difficult characters, which fail to capture my interest, but this time there was so much diversity around the subject that I managed to get involved a bit more.

The characters were great!, you know I'm all about some good characters and this book has them. We have, of course, Perle, and I loved her, I think it adds a lot to the story and gives the plot both fun and raw moments, plus, I enjoyed her learning, growth and above all her incredible strength. Dejean, is a great character and although he enters the story as a pirate, is not the typical image of one, in fact, it's the opposite and has been a very loyal and adorable character, and also his chats with Perle are very diverse and interesting to read. Murielle and Simone are both great, they have made me laugh a lot with their lines, and I also adore this incredible relationship that exists between them.


There are many Sci-fi aspects that are very well integrated in the world, I didn't expect it at all, but I liked it a lot

So, I really loved the book, the ending was very nice and inclusive, I recommend it a lot if you like pirates and mermaids stories, but especially if you're looking for books that represent the LGBT+ community or have gender representations, overall. The author has done an excellent job with that, and I can't wait to read the next one!, I feel that this book is just the beginning of a great adventure
Profile Image for Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight).
885 reviews123 followers
January 1, 2020
4 Stars

I really enjoyed this little steampunk fantasy about a disabled siren and the pirate captain who rescued them from captivity!

The relationship progressed in such a natural-feeling way. By the time Perle was willing to risk their own safety for the safety of Dejean, I didn't even think twice about it because it just felt right. I also loved the interplay of Dejean's good-naturedness and Perle's grumpiness. (To be fair, Perle was grumpy for good reason, even though Dejean was helping them.) It was fun reading about Perle complaining or making a snarky remark and Dejean just smiling and laughing in return, able to sense the tone even if he couldn't actually understand what Perle said. And it was really cute seeing Perle do things like tuck their face against Dejean's shoulder as they grumbled, slowly getting closer to him even if they didn't want to admit it. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure if it was a romance, but it was something emotionally intimate and sweet, and I liked it.

I loved all the diversity. The sirens didn't have gender as a concept (they could change biologically when necessary, as some sea creatures do, but to them the only difference among their kind was whether a siren was currently pregnant or not) so Perle was nonbinary by our human standards. Dejean was asexual and had dark skin. There were some other LGBT+ and POC characters as well. Perle was also disabled with a paralyzed tail, and another character made them a steampunk-esque prosthetic. The characters even used a made-up form of sign language to communicate since the sirens don't speak the same way humans do. It seemed like Perle and Dejean might have both also had PTSD, but that was never explicitly stated.

The book also had themes of forgiveness and growth and second chances.

I liked the siren perspective. How Perle perceived human things they had never seen before or had no experience with, or things that differed from the way things worked for sirens. Everything was a sponge to them. Mattress? Large sponge. Bandages and pillows? Fluffy sponge.

There were couple things near the end that didn't really make sense. There also wasn't really any pirating, so you might be disappointed if pirates are what you're looking for. But other than that, I didn't have any issues.

Overall, this book had a nice balance of sweet, quiet moments and fast paced, action-filled moments, a diverse and likeable set of characters, a fun siren perspective, and I really enjoyed it!

Recommended For:
Anyone who likes sirens, sweet relationships, and lots of diversity/inclusivity.

Original Review @ Mtaphors and Moonlight


Initial Thoughts:
A siren, lots of diversity/inclusivity, and a sweet relationship!
Profile Image for Abi (The Knights Who Say Book).
628 reviews94 followers
October 5, 2018
(4.5 stars) *I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

I just love so much about this book. First of all, I’m always looking for more nonbinary characters. And second of all, Perle is a delight. They’re a scrappy, snarky, carnivorous siren and I love them to death.

The author pays attention to worldbuilding details like how Perle would see new people — specifically because they’re a siren from a nonbinary culture, and that’s not ignored. I love when other sirens show up in the story because their culture and interactions are so interesting. The worldbuilding is a little confusing to me in other ways, because it’s definitely some kind of steampunk fantasy but every once in a while I’d realize there was even more modern technology involved than I’d thought. You don’t see much of the wider world, because the setting consists of either ships at sea or one island. I’m glad there’s going to be more books in this series because I would love to explore beyond this.

The romance is so sweet and good and it’s ALL THAT mutual healing and found family, but also lots of teasing and snark and the dialogue is so good and funny and clever. I just die for Perle making fun of Dejean’s toes and Dejean pulling Perle’s fin/hair. They’re wonderful. Read the book, guys.
Profile Image for Lyss Perkins.
13 reviews1 follower
August 31, 2018
There was some good: An amazing premise, especially the descriptions of the sirens and the technology (except for the medical tech). My favorite idea was that the siren song was such a feeling celebration of the ocean that humans would feel the same need to become part of it. That brought up my own feelings about the ocean, having grown up on a barrier island, and how much more whole I feel when I know the ocean is a moment away.

Unfortunately there was a lot of bad: None of the characters had a personality. They came with exactly two quirks each, usually in the form of hobbies, and if they’d had the same speech patterns as each other you wouldn’t have been able to tell who was talking unless it was Perle. Trying to worry for them when things got hard was like trying to worry about a cardboard cut out.

Speaking of when things got hard... they never actually seemed to get hard. A scary person came through the door in a cloak midway through a conversation! The suspense lasts only half a sentence before it’s Muriel. Dejean gets hurt!
Except the medical technology is almost a cure-all and you never wonder once if he’ll die. The few conflicts there actually were were rarely internal, except for Perle vs Storm which I did enjoy, and they were almost all solved about a page later if not less. There was no suspense or build whatsoever.

There were also a lot of factual inconsistencies such as Perle being close enough to Dejean’s ship to see the blood on men’s faces except she’s below deck near a porthole so if she was really that close she’d be looking at the side of the other ship.

The factual issue that that REALLY drove me crazy though was that her tail was under a weight for many months and somehow sustained permanent nerve damage but no circulatory damage or tissue death. If her main plot point is going to be the paralysis of her tail shouldn’t that be at least the one thing you research? I personally think so.

On a less important note I couldn’t tell from the language and simplicity vs the plot if the book was meant to be middle grade or YA. It may have been meant for middle grade in which case I would tone down my concerns above and be very glad a middle grade book was showing so much needed diversity.

But all together, in the end, dragging my feet through this book was only possible because it was the only reading I’d brought to the beach that day.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Natasha.
209 reviews24 followers
July 25, 2022
This was my first book with sirens and did I love it? Very well written, the character and world building is brilliant. There is friendship and romance, and not to forget the found family. Yes to the disability and LGBTQIA+ representation, including the protagonist, making this book an own voice read. There're also pirates and I loved the way in which the ocean is described. Never seen one in real life but it was nice reading about its all encompassing beauty. The plot was gripping and I especially loved all the characters. It was filled with action and adventure, and the question of how two species who are basically trying to kill each other, try to live peacefully. Definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

It is the prequel book (book 1) of These Treacherous Tides series.
26 reviews2 followers
June 30, 2018
It's been a long, long time since I've been this excited for a book.

I was lucky enough to read an earlier draft of this, and let me tell you, it kept me absolutely GLUED to the page the whole way through. The world of sirens and steam-powered ships is completely immersive, and I stayed up late on multiple occasions, promising myself that I'd just read "one more page." (It was never just one page.) The plot keeps you on the edge of your seat, and I mean that literally — I don't want to give too much away, but there were several sections of this book where I physically tensed all of my muscles, waiting to see how the plot would resolve itself.

But the heart of this book, in my opinion, are its characters. I am not the type to root for blood-thirsty sirens and murderous pirates, but dammit, Bryn somehow managed to get me on board (pun not intended) within the first chapter. Pearl manages to be sympathetic and a fun narrator to root for without betraying or downplaying their tendency to, er, eat people, and Dejean is adorkable and lovable despite being a pirate captain, complete with the ruthlessness that entails. And the side-characters are just as good — I could ramble on about all of them like they're old friends, but my favorite has to be Murielle, Dejean's spunky mechanic of a sister. Again, I don't want to give away too much, but I sincerely hope other people love that giant nerd as much as I do. Because I love her a lot.

I could go on for pages, honestly, but here's what it comes down to: I love this book, I'm recommending it to all of my friends, and now I'm recommending it to you. BUY OUR BLOODY PEARL. You won't regret it!!
Profile Image for Joe.
126 reviews28 followers
February 8, 2021
Our Bloody Pearl by D. N. Bryn
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

“I love the sea,” I say after a while, “But I love you almost as much as I love the sea.”

The rep. THE DYNAMIC. THE CHARACTERS. THE FOUND FAMILY. This book is a small hidden gem and I absolutely loved it. It was small and easy to read and I wish there was more honestly. I am not sure whether this will be a series (seeing as, in Goodreads, it’s mentioned to be part of a series) but I really, reallly wish we will get more of this.

Admittedly, the plot is rather simple, but that’s not a bad thing. We have our protagonist, Perle, who is a siren trapped by a pirate Captain. That’s until another pirate – Dejean, our main love interest, finds them and frees them and shows them that it’s not all black and white in the world. There is a found family trope – and you know how much I love found family – and amazing side characters and they all have such great chemistry. There are some anachronisms and the way the characters become friends is a bit rushed, but it did not really bother me. There was catharsis in the end and without spoiling anything, I found it really fitting and it made me happy 

My favourite thing, of course, was the characters. And okay, the dynamics between them. I’ll start with the amazing rep. Not only our main character is non binary, we have a POC love interest, and both of them are asexual – though it’s not discussed much since romance is not overall the focus. Then we have our two lesbians – though they could be bi? In either case, they are together and happy and I love them so much. The rep doesn’t feel ‘forced’ like when some authors dump in their books different identities as a token. Also, who doesn’t love a good story about pirates and sirens who rip hearts out and sing beautiful songs to lure in their victims? There was also trauma that was properly represented and faced with – although it could be further explored - and the characters were as fleshed out as they could be in a 230 pages book. Our villain was a bit weak though, and was not really present for most of the book but it did not bother me since there was plenty of action overall.

The writing was also beautiful and descriptive without being tiring. I could have gone with a bit more of world building but the lore surrounding the sirens was explored wonderfully.

Please give this book a try yourself. It definitely deserves it. It’s quick and light and I absolutely adored it. I definitely recommend it. As a person using both he/him and they/them pronouns, it made me so happy to be represented in a fantasy world as well.
Profile Image for bri (hobbitslibrary).
245 reviews587 followers
July 15, 2022
3.5 stars

Through the perspective of a nonbinary siren, this book takes us through the mental and physical journey of gaining a disability and learning to live with it.

Our main character, Perle, travels the path of mourning a life once loved in order to adjust to a completely new way of living. They find themself relying on those they would once consider enemies and having to redefine their understanding of freedom, independence, and strength. Over the course of this book, they learn to not only accept, but thrive, in their new reality, and through this are able to pave the way to a future that is better than one they could’ve ever imagined before their disability.

The characters were enjoyable, I thought the pacing was fairly well done, and I think the length was just perfect for the story that needed to be told. I will say, the high intensity moments were quite a bit repetitive, and after the third time the LI got knocked unconscious, the "is he alive??" moment we were meant to have as an audience lost its power. It just needed a bit of variety. I also felt that the romance element could've been a bit more cathartic towards the end, as I felt there was quite a bit of build and then just a brief little discussion about it in the final moments. But I did love the clarification of the quality of their relationship.

It's a really sweet story of healing, second chances, and creating support systems one can call family.

CW/TW: gore, blood, violence, injury detail, death, murder, imprisonment, gun violence, drowning, medical content, PTSD, paraplegia, emesis, physical abuse, sexual abuse (mention, past)
Profile Image for Laura.
1,040 reviews13 followers
January 24, 2023
3.75 stars

Disclaimer: I read this book as a judge for the Indie Ink Awards 2022 and this is my personal rating. It does not reflect the scoring for the contest.

I have to admit I've been pretty excited about reading Our Bloody Pearl after checking out the blurb. Because it sounds amazing.

A disabled siren rescued by a gentle pirate captain may find not only a rag-tag human family but also love? Who doesn't like the sound of that?!

Was it everything I was hoping for?
Yes and no.

I loved Perle and the way they struggled to adjust to life with a paralysed tail. I loved the sweet and gentle captain who rescued them. And I loved the slow and natural development of the feelings between them. The gentleness and compassion, the care and respect, but most of all the love. The simple and clean kind of love of one soul for another. These were the highlight of the tale for me.

The wordbuilding was good, taking into account the fact that most of the tale enfolds in and around a tub. The plot was quite engrossing, despite a few inconsistencies and the pace held, with just a slight slower part towards the middle.
The found family was excellent, just as everything else related to the mermaids' song. And the romance was wonderful.

Disability is front and centre in this book and we get to see in full the physical effects it has on a person's life. The way Perle's struggle with impaired movement was described is perfectly realistic, with no corners cut.
There were a few aspects however that didn't work quite right.

The medical aspect of paralysis and atrophied muscles was clearly not well enough researched.
From both a doctor's and a physiotherapist opinion, Perle's arm muscles would have been seriously atrophied after being chained in the same position for months and bending those arms would have been a very hard thing to do. If at all they would have been able to recover their full use. Simply bending them after they were untied should have been absolutely impossible, even after a few tries. And don't even get me started on the condition of that tail after being crushed under a huge weight. The damage would have been a lot more extensive.

The communication aspect between Perle and their captain didn't quite work for me either. They instantly started to get along just fine through signs. Too simple and too easy, with barely a few hitches. As if they read each other's minds. If only understanding someone would be so easily accomplished through signs! Alas, reality is very different and that is why this part of Perle's story didn't sit quite well with me.

Apart from the above however, Our Bloody Pearl is an endearing sweet tale of love and acceptance, found family and courage. A queer-pirate adventure tale with a good measure of endearing romance.
Profile Image for Violet Stone.
327 reviews32 followers
October 12, 2019
So, this book is actually really good. It is very diverse and uses elements not often seen in books (genderfluid, asexual, and lesbian characters), communication through sign language, and rehabilitation of a siren. There's so many reasons to like this book.

Our story starts off with our siren who has been captured and tortured. They can no longer sing or use their tail to swim. So now they have to depend on a human to feed and take care of them. Once they learn that this new human (who not necessarily rescued them but is not mean to them either) won't harm them they start to relax and even trust this new captain.

The trust is a slow build, which was refreshing, honestly. There's also the tough topics of sexual assault, torture, and body horror. There's a lot thrown in here.

So, if all this good why only three stars? The first half was good. Solid, with so much emotion and raw feelings. It's when there's prolonged time in Dejean's home (who is the human that rescues them) that the story really starts to drag.

Perle, our siren, can't use their tail. So while they recover and a device is made for them to swim again, a lot of time is spent inside this giant tub. They do go out a few times but a lot of it is just a waiting game until the villain, Kian, makes her move.

All in all, solid story. There's so many elements to appreciate and it was well written. Despite the drawn out middle, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes siren stories. It's unique and well thought out.

Profile Image for James Harwood-Jones.
275 reviews8 followers
May 6, 2022
In the uncontrollable ocean rages a dangerous & deadly battle between humans and the sirens. In the midst of all this contempt a show of kindness & compassion may yet change the trajectory of the battle of the seas. Absolutely LOVED this! Grim, vicious and soul crushing. All the while so heartwarming & hopeful.
Five stars for me.
Profile Image for Holly (The GrimDragon).
1,000 reviews235 followers
September 12, 2020
"She is the power behind a storm, suffocating and lashing, her fist against my jaw and her fingers around my gills. I thrash and scream, but my actions do nothing, and my voice catches like a hapless fish within her grasp. She is the darkness of the abyss, the sense that there's no up or down, no way to escape. No matter how far I flee or which direction I move, I hit the seafloor, and a swarm of white-eyed sea crabs rises up, agonizingly tearing away my flesh."

Our Bloody Pearl is the debut self-published novel by D.N. Bryn (Danny).

Not only was this part of the SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off) last year, but it made it all the way to the semi-finals, beating out hundreds (HUNDREDS) of books to get there! That's pretty fucking radical!

While Our Bloody Pearl does start strong out of the gate, the overall execution didn't quite work for me, unfortunately.

We follow Perle, a bloodthirsty siren who has been captured by the cruel pirate Kian, who has developed a device to block the effects of the sirens singing. Held aboard the ship, chained in a tub, Perle's tail has become paralyzed. Limiting their mobility significantly, Perle must learn to adapt to moving in different ways.

The ship is attacked by a rival crew that is captained by a man named Dejean. He finds Perle and takes them onto his ship, where he wants to protect them. Unlike Kian, he is incredibly kind to Perle. Perle, having suffered severe trauma while in captivity, is of course suspicious of Dejean. Much of the story focuses on the mistrust that Perle rightfully has towards humans and their developing relationship with Dejean.

I just didn't vibe with the whole savior complex situation. While I was more interested in Perle and their disability, learning to overcome the obstacles that they must now face because of it and the resulting PTSD from the violent trauma at the hands of Kian, Bryn doesn't necessarily go into much detail. Rather, the focus is on the bond between Perle and Dejean.

When much of the story is based on relationship and personal dynamics, I need to feel compelled by the characters. But I just wasn't. I didn't feel that connection between Perle and Dejean that so much of Our Bloody Pearl is centered around. Originally I thought perhaps it was because their interactions are a bit clumsy at first, understandably so. Sirens don't communicate in the same way that humans do, after all. But no. It wasn't that. I just don't think the characters were fleshed out enough for me to gravitate towards. This was especially evident with the secondary characters and how paper-thin their differences were from one another. Murielle, Simone, Storm. They are there, in the story. But they felt one-dimensional and far too similar to each other.

Another thing that held me back from the story was the lack of worldbuilding. Considering that a good chunk of the relatively short book took place in, well.. a tub. For a book with pirates, there wasn't much pirating going on, sadly! There was a missed opportunity to get into a more detailed look of that way of life on the sea, with Kian and Dejean.

There was some janky pacing issues, a bit too many "playfully" and "teasing" and "press my lips" which is just one example where the writing had a younger feel to it.. NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT! It definitely has YA, and even middle grade, crossover appeal. I'm sure this will work better for fans of that style, for sure. Unfortunately, I'm not really that intended audience.

There is much potential here and I don't want to shit all over it, because this is delightfully queer with SO MUCH rep that squeezes my heart in the best way. Nonbinary, asexual, disability, black and poc.

Our Bloody Pearl is an easily digestible story with some excellent action, a fascinating main character and wonderful diversity.


(Thanks to the author, D.N. Bryn, for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!)
Profile Image for Theresa.
132 reviews8 followers
May 28, 2019
(warnings for physical abuse and references to past sexual abuse)


Ok first I'm getting the things I didn't like off my chest: the book was too short. Not only because [Sharpay voice] I. WANT. MORE. but also because the middle part of the book needed more time to really develop? I felt like 200 pages werent enough for that. The beginning and end were perfect but since the middle was too short the general development of the story and characters felt too fast. (Also one more thing: how the hell was Perle able to see the pirates' faces in the beginning when they were under deck?)

But other than that - what a book!!

Always jumping at books with found families and queer MCs and wow did this book deliver!!
I don't usually like books in first person point of view but in this case it opens up so many possibilites and makes it even more interesting (and gives it the advantage of not having to explain so many technical details ;) ).
Perle is a disabled aspec nonbinary siren who is also an abuse survivor - and with all the fantasy elements the book is actually exactly about that. About inclusion, forgiveness, understanding, growth and trust. And above else: the power of finding likewise spirits and forming your own family (or pod).
Profile Image for Chris.
71 reviews1 follower
July 1, 2018
I had the absolute privilege of reading Our Bloody Pearl early, and I loved every minute of it. If you're looking for a book that will leave you with a warm, happy feeling, this is an excellent choice. It focuses on themes of love and family across a soft steampunk background. The setting gives you just enough fantasy to take you away, but not so much that you're overwhelmed with worldbuilding. I loved all the ocean imagery, and while reading, I almost felt like I was on the beach.

But the best part is the characters.

I loved Perle as a narrator. Absolutely loved. They're relatable and funny, and rooted for them from chapter one. And the pirate captain, Dejean, is like the human embodiment of a hug. Every side character is just as vibrant, and the straightforward plot gave me more time to enjoy interactions between the characters.

This book was a joy to read. I promise, you're in for a treat.
Profile Image for Muzmuz.
376 reviews9 followers
March 16, 2022
When I first started reading this book, I thought I was in a wild pirate ride, full of adventure and fighting and maybe romance.... what I got is far from that... what i got was a wild ride indeed but it was more of a philosophical one in the form of can different species live with one another?, can they cross over those boundaries that keep us closed into ourselves and in fear and hatred for everything that is different and doesn't fall in with us and our ideas and societies ?
The writer did such an amazing job with writing and expressing the different views and idea, not only the physical differences but all the mental issues of what damage can hatred cause.
This book is a wonderful journey in discovering who we are, of overcoming our shortcomings and accepting our faults, moving past the hatred and starting to build a new future.
Profile Image for Solly.
447 reviews31 followers
June 18, 2021
I enjoyed this a lot!

It was a very good fantasy romance between a siren (who are all non-binary because human's concept of gender is really.... well human) and an ace pirate. They both have to deal with being newly disabled over the course of the novel, which I thought was really cool.

I enjoyed the worldbuilding immensely, the world has this steampunk-y vibe, and the development of the sirens as a predator species, the different perspectives on things from humans was so good! I love love love reading from the perspective of the "monster", especially when it's well done, and I thought it was excellent in Our Bloody Pearl.

Anyway, this was really my jam, pretty character-driven, from a siren's POV, some action but a decent focus on relationship development between Perle and all their new human family members/pod-mates. I immediately pre-ordered Once Stolen after finishing this haha.
Profile Image for Mari.
389 reviews26 followers
September 14, 2019
Hm, I’m sad to give this book this rating.

Let’s start with saying I was beyond excited to read this. I have always loved the concept of sirens, and I’ve always wanted to read a book with a plot and a setting like this one. So when I found out this wasn’t only about a siren and pirates and adventures in the sea and islands and all those fun things, but also had queer people as main characters, I was beyond excited.

Unfortunately, though it did accomplished to capture the setting (a tropical island with beautiful cliffs, colorful reefs and steampunk), I felt like everything was underdeveloped. It felt like the start of a story, which suddenly skips all the fun adventures and exploration of the world to the ending. And also, I felt like nothing really happened, I was not invested in what was happening because it has the problem of “telling not showing”, at least not showing enough for me. And I don’t understand the world at all, which is sad, because it sounded so cool. Steampunk always sounds cool, in my opinion. But i couldn’t envision anything.

The characters were fine, likeable, but that’s it. And the main relationship was mostly told, not so much showed (again). And I HATE that. I like to see little mundane conversations as well as important ones, I feel like reading both gives us a sense of why they like each other, you know? Normal conversations, average moments, those also build relationships, in my opinion, sometimes they’re more important than the big emotional ones. Let’s quote one of my favorite authors, Shaun David Hutchinson, to explain myself;

“Love isn’t obvious until you’re in it. It’s not a punch in the face that leaves you reeling. Love is gradual and steady. It grows like weeds between the cracks of a hundred average moments.”

So when I’m told something like; “they talked about this and this and this, and now they love each other” I can’t fully invest in it. I can’t really wrap my head around the way Perle went from not trusting humans at all and despising them with their whole soul to be willing to give their life for them and loving them almost as much as they love the ocean (which is their freaking home and can’t explain their feeling and longing with human words AND they pretty much die without it. Okay? It’s kind of a big deal loving someone almost as much as that).

And sure, Dejean is a cool guy. He’s kind and I guess he’s hot or something, but for my understanding (which is vague, quite honestly) this book took place in a month, I think? It really wasn’t clear. Nothing was clear, in the matter of fact, I was kind of confused with how everything worked and looked.

I don’t know, this is a mess, because my thoughts are a mess. I’m just setting in 3 stars, because I did enjoy the book, I just wanted MORE. Out of everything.
Profile Image for Nea.
204 reviews50 followers
May 17, 2020
This book was so good! I loved the bonds and relationships they created along the story! And the representation along the explanation of the characters past and how it shaped them! Definitely check it out!
Profile Image for ren.
178 reviews39 followers
August 21, 2018
*clutches chest* i love this book so much
Profile Image for Jamedi.
227 reviews40 followers
November 11, 2022
Score: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars)
Full text review: https://vueltaspodcast.wordpress.com/...

Our Bloody Pearl is the first book in the These Treacherous Tides series, by D.N. Bryn, but can be read as a standalone. It's such a unique book, featuring a non-binary, disabled protagonist, a mermaid who were captured by a pirate captain, so different from the classical image we have for that concrete myth, and which serves as a way of thought of many difficult themes, one of the virtues the fantasy genre has.

Perle are the first siren who were captured by Kian, a pirate captain who has developed a dispositive that allows humans to ignore mermaids' chant, and who are held captive, until captain Dejean assaults Kian's ship, searching for that Kian's secret dispositive, but finds instead Perle, and rescues them. Despite he would like to free them, Perle are having problems swimming after so much time in captivity, as their spinal cord suffers some kind of damage.

Instead of letting them to their own luck, captain Dejean takes Perle with him to his house, starting a nice relationship, as friends, taking care of them, with the help of Murielle. Together, they also start a recovery process for Perle, helping them with a mechanical dispositive, and starting to forge bonds between a siren and humans, something that was unimaginable until then.

This is a really character-driven story, mostly focused on how Perle deal with their problem, and how the perspective of not being able to do something that you can take as granted impacts you; Perle are disabled and we are seeing how they are able to deal with grief. It is also worth noticing that as mermaids consider themselves non-binary, it also raises a spotlight on that theme. The use of first-person helps transmit the sentiment and the feelings our characters are experiencing.

There are some things that kinda didn't work for me, as I think some of the underwater scenes can feel a little bit confusing, not helping with the pace. In general, the pace is excellent, but it is true that the rehabilitation scenes sometimes slow it down a little bit too much. Outside of that, I would have liked to see more about how Murielle relations with other people, as I found her a really lovable character and it's sad she doesn't have enough time on the screen.

In general, I loved Our Bloody Pearl, despite it's not the kind of story I usually read. The take on the mermaid myth, closer to the Greek mythology than the image we currently have it's certainly original, and also great used as a way to discuss difficult themes such as non-binary gender identification, and how to deal with disability. I certainly enjoyed reading it, and I would recommend it to everybody who wants to think while reading.
Profile Image for Emma.
97 reviews12 followers
October 13, 2019
Our Bloody Pearl by D.N. Bryn
5 / 5 avocado
Read more at my blog
Thank you to the author, who sent me a copy of ‘Our Bloody Pearl’ in exchange for an honest review.
I received no compensation for this review.

OKAY GUYS, IF YOU HAVE EVER ONCE THOUGHT ABOUT READING A BOOK ABOUT SIRENS, THIS IS IT! Our Bloody Pearl has opened up so many emotions for me, and I cannot express just how much I am in love with this book. Also, can I take a moment to just talk about how much I love the cover of this book? The island like a skull, and the fin like a cove… Ugh I am in love! (also, for those of you who don't know, I went through a massive mermaid phase and am not entirely convinced that my phase ended, rather it got subtler).

The characters in this story are so beautiful with their dynamics, relationships and personal backstories. Perle is a bloodthirsty siren who was held captive by the pirate Kian, who has somehow found a way to block Siren songs. Dejean and his first mate, Simone, rescue Perle and take over Kian’s ship. The dynamics between these characters are so beautiful; Perle is struggling to explain to Dejean that she is constantly hungry, and Dejean finds that funny. And Murielle, Simone’s partner, is honestly such a relatable, goofy and loveable bean.

The characters are able to interact with such ease and beauty, well, maybe not ease. Perle and Dejean do not speak the same language, but the way that they create their own sign language is a lovely nod to subtle representation. There are also representations of healthy discussions regarding sexuality (as Siren’s are neither boy nor girl until they need to reproduce), Simone and Murielle are together as a same sex couple, the culture of the sirens, the PTSD of both Perle and Dejean and lastly Perle’s disability. These were all so beautifully woven into the story, with no feeling of forcing any of it.

The only thing I would change is that for the drama I might have ended the story slightly earlier. It would have been a perfect cliffhanger for the next installment; but in saying that, I do not know what the author has in stall for the next book.

Can I also just say that I loved it when Perle wore Simone’s feather hat. It was so wholesome.
Profile Image for Whitney.
549 reviews73 followers
April 27, 2020
This was actually an ebook given to me by the author who found my blog last year right after I first got started. Obviously I’m a little late with reading it, but I did finally get to it! Thanks D.N. Bryn for the opportunity! Our Bloody Pearl follows a siren by the name of Perle who has been trapped on a pirate’s boat and kept prisoner. Another pirate, Dejean, attack’s the boat and finds Perle. Perle doesn’t know it, but Dejean has no intentions on hurting them (Perle’s pronouns are they/them). Instead, he frees them and they form a bond that is atypical of sirens and humans. Sirens kill humans and eat them, humans hunt sirens for killing them. It’s a vicious cycle, but it’s all they know. As Perle and Dejean begin to get to know each other it becomes clear that they have a lot to learn about one another. All the while, Kian, the vicious pirate who captured Perle, is hell bent on getting them back. Overall this was a very intriguing read. I loved the fact that the sirens didn’t subscribe to the gender binary. They all identify with they/them pronouns because they are who they need to be. Perle even goes on to say that they don't understand why humans have to label everything. There’s also a f/f couple featured and some great siren/pirate lore here. If this sounds like it’s up your alley, you should definitely check it out.
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