Mary Weber in her new book Storm Siren Book One in the Storm Siren series published by Thomas Nelson introduces us to Nym.
From the back cover: I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You dont want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.
In a world at war, a slave girls lethal curse could become one kingdoms weapon of salvation. If the curse and the girl can be controlled.
As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isnt merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth meaning, she shouldnt even exist.
Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.
Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than shes being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.
But what if she doesnt want to be the weapon theyve all been waiting for?
Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.
The Kingdom is tired. The war has dragged on and everyone desires its end. Then Nym is put up on the auction block and suddenly there is a glimmer of hope. Now Nym is being groomed to use her powers in defense of Faelen. There is political chicanery, battles, adventures and loss. This is definitely a suspense thriller that will keep you flipping pages as fast as you can read. Yes, it is set with a darker tone than most however I am sure this will change as the series progresses. Ms. Weber gives us such great characters that we are always rooting for them to succeed and get together with each other. I am so looking forward to the next book in this series from this talented author.
Disclosure of Material Connection: In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
I have mixed feelings about this novel. There were some aspects I liked but others I found disappointing.
The novel opens with Nymia on the slave market. When her cloak is pulled off and the crowd sees her silver hair, they know what kind of dangerous being she is. But she is purchased by Adora, a mysterious woman who dresses oddly yet is very wealthy and has great political influence. Rather than being relegated to the horror of female slavery yet again, Nymia is to be trained to use her special abilities to fight for the kingdom.
I liked the idea of characters with special abilities. Our heroine can control the weather, that is, bring on a storm or have someone struck with lightning. There is another character who has the ability to manipulate the earth and create large chasms. Another has been given a wall of protection while yet another can control another person's thoughts.
I like the idea of a war as the island kingdom of Faelen is being attacked. There are good guys and bad guys and sometimes they seem to morph from one to the other. Like Nymia, I wanted to believe and trust certain characters yet doubted everyone from time to time. The betrayal of characters was so frequent I often had trouble keeping straight who was on whose side.
The war is somewhat twofold. One aspect of it is for Nymia's soul. Will she ever be healed of the pain and horror of what she did as a child? Will she be transformed into a killing machine? The other aspect is the larger war for the survival of Faelen. It is a war against invading evil, although Faelen is not without evil itself. Will evil have the last word and destroy who they are? The latter war reaches its peek with a really great battle scene near the end.
Creating a fantasy world is a difficult task. There is the creation of both the characters and the world they inhabit. Essential to the task is good description. That is one area I felt was inadequate in this book. I had a difficult time picturing the landscape, the buildings, the animals. At one point a bolcrane appears. It is slime-covered and black, we read. It is bigger than a horse and has a crocodilian mouth with fangs and jaws that could wrap around a torso. It has a leathery, bloated form with poisoned quills. But what we do not know is something as simple as how many legs it has, the color of its eyes, or if it even has eyes. As I tried to picture the beast, I found myself lacking so much detail I could not do it. A paragraph of chilling description would have greatly enhanced the emotional punch of the scene.
I found the same inhibiting lack of description time after time. When we read of the air ships, there is description about their shape and attachments, but never an indication of color, not even of the pale balloon above each one or the dragon painted on the side.
There are some concepts in the novel that would make for interesting discussion. At one point Nymia says, How can you say it's not a person's fault when he harms others, whether intentionally or not, but then say its honorable when he chooses to help? (271) Is a person born to do a life task, good or evil? What about being held responsible for such tasks? Nymia has an aversion to killing people and animals, even the enemy, even when she knows that enemy is out to destroy her. That would be a topic for discussion too. Another important issue in the book is Nymia and her feelings of self-loathing, fear, and self-harm. One of the questions in the Reading Group Guide gives a resource for young people struggling with those same feelings.
I would not recommend this book for young teens. There is a somewhat sexual overtone that runs through several of Nymia's experiences that would only be suitable for older teens.
There is a twist at the very end that leaves us hanging. I do hope the next in the trilogy will help me better visualize the people, places, and things.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour.
Action-Packed Christian Fantasy with Romance and Elements of Steampunk
January 14, 2015
Storm Siren, by Mary Weber, is an action-packed fantasy with a few elements of steampunk and romance. When an advisor to the king discovers Nyms ability to control the weather, the woman buys Nym and forces her to train to use her skills as a weapon to end the age-long war their country is losing. But Nym does not want to kill anyone. She has done it so many times on accident that being forced into killing others sounds atrocious. Unfortunately, the alternative is death. Will Nym ever learn to control her abilities and come to terms with her power?
Immediately upon viewing the cover of Storm Siren, I wanted to read it. The description made me even more curious. I always love a good fantasy, especially when the main character has special abilities. Storm Siren did not disappoint me. Storm Siren was interesting all the way through, with romance, mystery, and earth-shattering power.
I enjoyed the plot. There was always danger and deadlines hanging over the characters. Threats, betrayal, and secrets came from every side as Nym fought to learn control of her abilities. Nym, Eogan, Colin, and Breck went on adventures into town and the forest and heard all kinds of strange rumors. The climax was amazing and tragic, and the end was a cliffhanger.
One of the themes in the book is guilt. Nym was filled with guilt for the people she killed. Eogan, her trainer, however, makes the point that the guilt is good. Otherwise, peoples lives begin to lose their value in the killers mind. Even though war and killing is sometimes necessary, a person must never lose sight of the value of human life.
Most of all, I loved watching Nym grow. At the beginning, she was very depressed and angry because of all the deaths she had caused. She thought she was a monster deserving only death. But Eogan, her other friends, and God taught Nym that she was special, important, and loved. Her power was only complete when she allowed God into her life.
I am happy to say, I fully enjoyed Storm Siren and cannot wait until the next one!
I received a free copy of Storm Siren from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
In a world where her kind is looked on with suspicion and distrust, where they were hunted nearly to extinction, where females of her kind aren't even supposed to exist, Nymia's greatest struggle is within herself. She has been bought and sold by numerous owners, one after the other. But what eats her alive is the things she has been made to do with her power. She is an Elemental, able to bring down the power of the storm clouds and use it against human beings. Some owners have tried to use her and ended up being injured by her power instead. You see, she has no control over it. But now she has been sold to her 15th owner, and things may be about to change. She has been offered the chance to receive training and become a weapon that may turn the tide of the war now rampaging her homeland.
At first, it was the title of Storm Siren that caught my attention. But as I read deeper and deeper into the intricate fantasy world created by Mary Webber, I became more and more impressed. Every detail was masterfully described, and the characters breathed with life and emotion and personality. The story, with its twists and turns and secrets kept me turning pages. And I am already looking forward to Ms. Webber's next release. Part science fiction, part fantasy, all wonderfulness, Storm Siren is a book I would place high on my recommended reading list. So grab a copy, find a cozy spot to curl up, and dive deep into the world of Elementals!