Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller – Book Review

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller is the second novel in the young adult high fantasy duology called, Daughter of the Pirate King. I read and reviewed book one towards the end of March, and you can check out that full review here.

When I read Daughter of the Pirate King, I had low expectations that were pleasantly blown out of the water. It is such an enjoyable book, with one or two minor flaws. Rarely do I turn to the next book in a series shortly after completing its precursor. I tend to get burned out on the characters and story, which then turns me off the whole series. It is a weird quirk that I have that I am not too particularly fond of. Yet, in this case I found myself eager for what was to come. I finished reading it last week and I must say that it is going to be one of my favourites reads for 2018.

To avoid giving spoilers for Daughter of the Pirate King, I will keep the synopsis vague and succinct. In the second instalment, Alosa returns to her father’s, the Pirate King’s, keep where they both plan on taking the next step towards their ultimate goal of finding a secret island that is rumoured to have the largest treasure horde in existence. But one shocking revelation after another leads Alosa on a brutal and dangerous adventure that she never thought possible.

dotsq_cvr-1

This sequel was spectacularly better than the first volume, which was rather excellent to begin with. It took everything that I loved about that book—action, slow-burn romance, female pirate crew, fantasy elements—and turned it up to ten.

The action is non-stop from page one until page three-hundred-thirty-eight. The tension and suspense are written far more fluidly and flows so naturally that I felt as if I were watching a film in my mind. The level of brutality and bloodshed stemming from the violence made me forget for a moment or two that I was reading a young adult book. Engaging action that carries itself continuously is one of my most-loved traits of high fantasy, and it was damn-near perfect here.

The slow-burn romance continues teasing the readers while weaving that tension into the character’s realisation of their feelings, but it never makes it feel tedious or overplayed. There is just enough pressure between the two love interests, with a splendid balance of genuine chemistry and respect, to hold you at the edge of your seat until the climax, leaving you immensely satisfied. There is an explanation for why there is distance between them that can be chalked up to real-world trauma and insecurities stemming from parental abuse. This creates a connection that any reader who may have similar experiences can relate to, bringing the book and reader together more intimately. Since I have similar things in my personal history, the connection worked to make me better invested in their relationship.

Another thing about the romance that I appreciated so dearly was the fact that it never overshadowed the main storyline. The intensely terrifying challenges that Alosa and her crew must face were never placed on the back burner for the sake of love or lust. It complemented the events happening around it, even worked to enhance quite a bit of that suspense in certain situations, but not once did it take the spotlight and detract from the actual plot. This is something that happens a lot in young adult fantasy (An Ember in the Ashes trilogy is one series that immediately comes to mind as being guilty of this) and whenever it does, it tends to lose focus on the purpose of the story altogether.

The narrative of Daughter of the Siren Queen is filled with plot twists and classic fantasy tropes akin to high fantasy, specifically pirate stories. But these tropes are approached and executed with unique alterations to them that made them feel fresh to me. It kept it from feeling like a common trope, which then amplified their effect wonderfully. The plot twists also work to augment the effect of the tropes, and none of the twists felt like they were there simply for shock value. They felt instinctive and essential in moving the plot forward. I loved being surprised by them, so much so that my jaw fell open at least two or three times during my read through. This also makes the book incredibly fast-paced and extremely difficult to put down. I kept saying to myself, “Just one more chapter, one more chapter.”

The fantasy in Daughter of the Pirate King was subtle and soft. I found it enjoyable, yet in the back of my mind I had hoped for more. Well, Daughter of the Siren Queen more than made up for it as the fantasy is far less subtle and much more physically present in the sequel. The scenery, the encounters that Alosa and her crew had, a specific race of beings that she comes across and their involvement in the plot—it was perfectly composed with everything else to create an all-encompassing high fantasy experience that I could not help but devour hungrily. Not once did I ever feel like I was reading a novel made for younger readers. That steadiness, I believe, is something that avid readers of adult fantasy can appreciate, respect, and relish.

tumblr_oqgbeqLWC71rcrmtto4_540

I mentioned earlier that Alosa’s crew is mostly female. She has approximately four men on her crew with the rest being women that she hand-picked. All of them are very independent, fierce, and brilliantly strong in many ways. The men play supporting roles without ever degrading or outshining the accomplishments of the women. In fact, they respect the women and have high regards for them. I felt the book was very much pro-feminist as it illustrates the ladies as equals to men, and all the women have respect for the men on their crew; no sense of superiority or emasculation ever arises.

One of the women was described as asexual, as well. It was a nice small touch. The only thing I would have wanted to see more of here would have been diversity in sexual orientation/identity. The lady’s asexuality was briefly mentioned and never really touched on again. All the other women were interested in males, which I feel is a bit unrealistic, especially given some of their backgrounds. Having a romance between two females would have just rounded everything else out beautifully. I also think it would have been neat to see a non-binary character. But this is entirely a personal preference rather than a technical critique on the quality of the story as a whole.

The only other critique that I have is the very same one I had for book one: the dialogue should have been more piratey and less contemporary. It is the only thing that significantly takes away form the authenticity of this being a buccaneer series.

All in all, I HIGHLY recommend the Daughter of the Pirate King duology. It is excellently written and superbly balanced between the two novels, has strong female characters, a marvellously genuine romance, and great high fantasy traits/tropes, no matter what level of fantasy you prefer (adult versus young adult), and it is one of the few serials out there where the second book is so impressively better than the first book.

4.75 cannonballs outta 5!

 

Thank you so much for stopping by today! Until next time, happy reading and happy otakuing, friends! 💙

 

One thought on “Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller – Book Review

  1. Pingback: March & April Reading Wrap-Ups!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s