Tuesday, April 14, 2015

CSFF Tour: Storm Siren Review, Part 1

Title: Storm Siren
Series: Storm Siren Trilogy #1
Author: Mary Weber
Genre: YA Fantasy

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Storm Siren:

“Fourteen circles for fourteen owners.”

I shade my eyes to block the sun’s reflection off the distant mountains currently doused in snow and smoke and flesh-eating birds. The yellow flags above me snap sharp and loud in the breeze as if to emphasize my owner’s words that yes, she’s quite aware such a high count is utterly ridiculous.

Waiting for it . . .

“Fourteen?” the sweaty merchant says.

Ha! There it is. Eleven years of repeatedly being sold, and it’s sad, really, how familiar I’ve become with this conversation. Today, if Brea has her way, I will meet my fifteenth, which I suppose should actually bother me. But it doesn’t.

Brea nods. “Fourteen.”

A teen with the gift of controlling the weather is trained for war.

The Crafting: Storm Siren provides a phenomenal story with a strong driving plot and unpredictable characters.

At least, that’s my opinion. It is possible some will see the story as derivative: characters who wield the forces of nature are not unheard of in the various realms of science fiction and fantasy. Indeed, there’s character from the Marvel Comics universe who is also a female with white hair (Storm).

Does that make Storm Siren a copy cat? Or is the author merely drawing on the collective imagination to move quicker into her story by using what will be familiar to some, if not many of her readers? It is difficult to say.

After all, there is little that annoys science-fiction and fantasy readers, including me, faster than stories which are merely knockoffs of another. Why would I want to read another Narnia series when I can enjoy the original by the master, often for cheaper?

Yet, the science-fiction and fantasy genre expands across a vast universe, and most of the stories are far removed from our familiar, everyday world. This can cause these novels to become weighted down in description. But by relying upon images already embedded in the reader’s imagination—such as the basic feel of Star Trek’s spaceships—fewer details are necessary, and the reader can get to what is more important much sooner: the characters and the action.

So derivative or streamlining—which is Storm Siren? Personally, I lean toward streamlining. However, that could be due to my unfamiliarity with the mythos she plays off of, and other readers may strongly disagree with me.

However, lacking that inhibitor, I found Storm Siren to be strongly written. The world is vividly drawn; the characters are very human in their virtues and flaws, yet remain accessible and empathetic; and the plot’s tension keeps the pages turning, placing the caliber of this book’s craft on par with many secular series. 


JoJo said...

I think it's pretty phenomenal as well and I can't wait to read more in the series!

JoJo said...
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Michelle R. Wood said...

There's a difference in being inspired by and being derivative. There are no truly original characters: everything's a reinvention of the past. However, it's the reinvention, the taking something from elsewhere and making it your own, that's important, and I'd say Nym passes the test on that count. She bares a superficial similarity to certian other characters, but has enough unique qualities and a strong enough voice to carry her own.

Interesting enough, I thought she was more like Rogue than Storm character-wise (and putting aside the obvious power connection).