The Friday 56: Daughter of the Siren Queen

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“If you’re looking for sympathy, go find Mandsy.”

He glares at me. “Sympathy is not what I want from you, Alosa.”

Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Siren Queen had some really fun moments, but I did want more in terms of world-building. You can read my mini-review of this one here. You can read my review of this one here. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “Alosa’s mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he’s under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father’s justice.
      When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.”

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Mini Reviews: Daughter of the Siren Queen + Every Heart a Doorway

MiniI’ve had this set of mini-reviews in my drafts for over a month and couldn’t quite find the time to fit it in. I finally have a chance to share a few thoughts on Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Siren Queen and Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway, the latter of which I’m so glad I finally got to. Covers below are linked to Goodreads.

Title: Daughter of the Siren Queen
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Series: Daughter of the Pirate King, #2
Pages: 341
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: February 27th 2018 

      “Alosa’s mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he’s under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father’s justice.
      When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.”

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“Warmth envelopes me. The sea enfolds me into the world’s most gentle caress. I am one of her own, and she missed me during my long absence.”

Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Siren Queen, conclusion to her swashbuckling duology, excels in its entertainment value much like its predecessor Daughter of the Pirate King, but still falls short when it comes to world-building and sometimes characterization. I loved seeing Alosa with her own crew in this sequel. Her father Kalligan has yielded a tremendous amount of power over Alosa, having shaped her into a ruthless and loyal pirate. Captaining the Ava-lee has been the one place where Alosa has had control over her own life. She’s put together a crew made almost entirely of women and one of my favorite parts about this book is when we get to see them working together. Still, I wanted more, especially from the vast array of minor characters. It also would have been nice if most of the conversations Alosa had with her close female crew members didn’t always revolve around men. I’m glad we got to learn more about Alosa and her siren side, but do feel like there was a missed opportunity when it came to her mother. I wanted more interaction between these two, but every meeting was so truncated. Part of the fun of the first book was the banter and growing tension between Alosa and Riden. Levenseller is able to maintain this often entertaining rapport while also pushing her characters outside of their comfort zones. The most rewarding part of their relationship is watching them learn to open up to one another. Daughter of the Siren Queen could still do a little more flushing out with its world-building. I enjoyed finally becoming acquainted with sirens, but I still wanted to know more about this world that Alosa and company occupy. If the first novel didn’t blow you away, you probably won’t be taken by surprise by the second; but if you found the first to be a really enjoyable read, there’s plenty to look forward to in this sequel.

Rating: 3/5

★★★


Title: Every Heart a Doorway
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: Wayward Children, #1
Pages: 357
Publisher: Tor.com
Release Date: April 5th 2016

      “Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
      No Solicitations
      No Visitors
      No Quests
      Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.
      But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
      Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
       But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
      No matter the cost.”

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“Hope hurts. That’s what you need to learn, and fast, if you don’t want it to cut you open from the inside out. Hope is bad. Hope means you keep on holding to things that won’t ever be so again, and so you bleed an inch at a time until there’s nothing left.”

Seanan McGuire’s novella Every Heart a Doorway poses an interesting question: what happens to the children who return from their adventures from places like Wonderland? At Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, students are learning to cope with returning to the “real” world. For some, the transition is difficult. How can you accept your place in the world when you always want to return to another? For others, the transition feels impossible. Why stay in a world that does not see you for who you are when you can go home to the place that let you be yourself instead of a version forced upon you by others? McGuire’s novella is enchanting and haunting. I loved that each child had their own world that they escaped to, that made sense to them even when it didn’t to those with similar experiences. There are dark Underworlds and bright ones, some with logical foundations and others that thrive on nonsense. While Nancy is the protagonist of this short story, I was really drawn to Jack. She’s such an animated character. The fact that she apprenticed for a mad scientist and carried all these eccentricities back into this world made her such an interesting character. The mystery in this one felt short-lived, but that’s understandable for a novella. The ending was not what I expected. I thought Nancy had gotten to a place of acceptance and so I was surprised by the conclusion. All the children’s stories were so intriguing, I wouldn’t have minded a full-length novel and am happy to discover the next novella in this series covers Jack and her sister Jill’s story. I’d recommend Every Heart a Doorway to anyone who enjoys fantasy stories that involve hidden doors and portals to unseen worlds, and who ever wondered what happens to those who come back.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★

The Friday 56: Daughter of the Pirate King

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“Even a man who’s spent his whole life at sea has reason to fear her when she’s angry.

But not I. I sleep soundly. Listening to her music. The sea watches over me.”

Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Pirate King is perfect for those looking for a lighter fantasy with plenty of romantic tension. This one definitely has its flaws, but it was still a treat to read. You can read my review here. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.
      More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Title: Daughter of the Pirate King
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Series: Daughter of the Pirate King, #1
Pages: 320
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 28th 2016

      “Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.
      More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

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“Everything is loud. There’s nothing to hear except the wind and waves. Nothing to feel except the bitter cold.”

Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Pirate King won’t awe you with its world-building, but is still an undeniably entertaining fantasy. Alosa is on a secret mission from her father to steal a map that leads to the mythical island of Isla de Canta. Feigning her own capture is only the first step. Alosa must contest with a ship full of pirates, convincing them she’s nothing more than the daughter of a pirate king instead of a skilled pirate in her own right all the while searching the Night Farer in secret. But it is the ship’s first mate Riden who gives her the most troueble. Just when she thinks she might succeed, Riden seems to catch a glimpse of who she really is beneath her facade, but she can’t risk failing no matter the cost.

Alosa is a strong character that many readers will be drawn to. Her father rules the waters and as his heir a lot is expected of her. She’s had rigorous training and constantly needs to check herself in order to conceal her skills from her captors. She’s incredibly strong-willed and while this doesn’t always work to her advantage, it’s hard not to root for her. The most interesting part about her character was her relationship with her father. While readers do not get a chance to meet the pirate king Kalligan until the end of the story, it’s clear from Alosa’s perspective that he isn’t a man to be trifled with. It becomes clearer as the story progresses that Kalligan has used destructive methods to train his daughter. Alosa herself needs to believe that her father loves her, that his methods come from a place of love, but it is clear that this is not the case. This mission is her way of proving herself to him, but it’s also about her proving to herself that she is more capable than she’s been given credit for.

Alosa isn’t the only character with father issues. Riden’s older brother Draxen has taken over captaining the Night Farer from their father. Though readers aren’t given the full story until later, it’s clear from the start that Riden didn’t agree with his father’s ruthlessness. Riden, much like Alosa with her father, needs to believe that his brother is better than their father, but his unwillingness to confront the truth often renders him ineffectual. Riden’s greatest weakness is his love for his brother, but unlike Draxen, he has a moral compass that he constantly struggles with. Alosa calls him a coward and while this isn’t an inaccurate description, I would have liked to have seen Riden call her out in turn. There was a lot of give and take between the two and while I do think it pushed Riden to confront issues with his brother, I wanted to see Alosa struggle with her own demons as well.

Much of the story is driven by the tension between Alosa and Riden. I loved the banter between the two and it was really easy to enjoy the exchanges. There’s a hate to love element underneath these conversations that made the ride more enjoyable. That being said, the plot does take a backseat as a result and sometimes feels like it disappears altogether. There are some interesting fantasy elements like the Isla de Canta that is said to house a trove of treasures, but is also the home of beautiful and deadly sirens. Sirens were the most interesting part of the worldbuilding of the story and while we learn a few things about their abilities, I was really eager to travel to this isla and learn more.

Daughter of the Pirate King is a fun fantasy if you’re looking for something more on the light side. A lot of fun can be had with Alosa’s adventure, but if you’re looking for a book with really complex characters and worldbuilding, you might want to look elsewhere.

3/5

★★★