June 17, 2011

review: sirenz

Sirenz - Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman

Bickering frenemies Meg and Shar are doing some serious damage at a midnight sample sale when the fashionistas find themselves arguing over a pair of shoes-with fatal consequences. One innocent bystander later, the girls are suddenly at the mercy of Hades, Lord of the Underworld himself. To make them atone for what they've done, Hades forces the teens to become special-assignment Sirens, luring to the Underworld an individual whose unholy contract is up.

Finding that delicate balance between their fashion addiction and their new part-time job in the eternal hellfire biz turns out to be harder than Meg and Shar expected, especially when an entire pantheon of Greek deities decides to get involved. Then there's the matter of the fine print in their own contracts...


Sirenz is a fun story about Shar and Meg, two completely different girls brought together as roommates for school. In an attempt to form a friendship, pink-loving Shar offers to take Meg shopping at an after-Christmas sample sale, insisting she find something that’s not black, but she doesn’t expect a pair of Vivienne Westwood red patent leather heels. One thing leads to another, and the fighting girls accidentally push a boy into the path of a speeding subway train. Cue Hades.

This novel brings together two of my favorite things: Greek mythology and fashion. That’s what initially sparked my interest in Sirenz. The plot is relatively simple, deliver a man to Tartarus before they go back to school. Though it isn’t that simple seeing as their target is both deaf and blind. Shar’s skill is to enchant with her eyes, and Meg’s is with her voice, making their agreement with Hades extremely difficult to complete.

The two voices of the novel, Shar and Meg, are fantastic. The story is told in alternating first-person POVs between the two girls, and even though it took me a few chapters to get used to it, the voices were spot on.

Sirenz is a story of girl-power. There’s no doubt about that. The two girls, working for Hades, use their siren gifts to complete their job, without the help of any men. Hades of course offers his help in a let’s-go-have-sex-and-you-don’t-have-to-work-for-me-any-longer sort of way. And this isn’t big chin, big blue forehead Hades. This is smoking hot, tanned body, dark eyes, rich, fashionable Hades. With inhuman willpower, Shar resists him. (If I was in her shoes… well… I wouldn’t have been a siren for very long…)

The biggest problem I had with the novel was a bit dragged out, and I think that’s because the beginning of the novel didn’t leave any room for buildup. By the time I got to the middle of the novel, I felt that it should have been over and done. That wasn’t the case. That’s not to say that the novel is boring. It’s not. I really enjoyed reading Sirenz and the steady decline into birdwomanhood by the main characters.

My other issue was how neatly everything was wrapped up at the end. I think that Sirenz is supposed to be the first in a series, but I don’t see how the same characters could continue into another book by the way the novel ended. Perhaps other characters take up the mantle?

I enjoyed Sirenz from beginning to end. It’s a fun, light read. I look forward to any future books by Charlotte or Natalie.

Reading level: Young Adult
Format: Paperback, 288 pages
Publisher: Flux

Rating: ★★★★☆

[Debut Author Challenge 2011]

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