Title // Songs from the Deep
Author // Kelly Powell
Publisher // Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date // November 5th, 2019
Synopsis // A girl searches for a killer on an island where deadly sirens lurk just beneath the waves in this gripping, atmospheric debut novel.
The sea holds many secrets.
Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the deadly sirens who lurk along the shores of her island town. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he’s one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure.
Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike.
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Many thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending me a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Happy early Halloween to everyone and I say this because Songs from the Deep is the amazing hauntingly spooky book you must pick up for this spooky time of the year.
Immediately from the first page, the book had a sort of mysterious, lyrical, almost poetic quality to it, almost sort of dreamy, and absolutely wonderful to read! Objectively speaking, this book is very well written, yet it never feels pretentious or stuffy, just beautiful. Coupled with the haunting tone and atmosphere, the writing of this book felt like a haunting masterpiece, almost like a… dare I say…. siren song? It left me desperately crying out for more of Kelly Powell’s writing for sure!
Before gushing about everything I loved, I will say that I was a bit surprised by the world this book was set in and the background role the sirens played. From the synopsis, I assumed it would be a high fantasy all about sirens, but that’s not the case. It appears to be set in our world from the past (early 1900s? I’m not good at history I have no idea), in a seaside island town with sailors and detectives and town meetings and dances and a couple of phones in the whole town.
I also thought that the sirens would play a really prominent role, but they didn’t. They were more like the motivation and the instigation for all of the human main characters to interact with each other, and there are very few scenes that actually have sirens in them, and we never get to actually interact up close or hear a siren speak or anything.
Neither of those things are strictly bad, I just thought the synopsis was a bit misleading, although that could just be the way I read it, so I was hoping for maybe something more, more sirens!! There were also a few things that I felt could have played out better, been more interesting there was a more fantasy twist, but nothing terrible.
Although the setting wasn’t what I expected, I still really enjoyed reading about it. Jude, the secondary main character, is the lighthouse keeper, and there’s just something enchanting about reading about a character tending the lighthouse and looking out for the ships and the shore.
I also really enjoyed reading about the almost mystical, dreamy island and its two towns. The book takes place after all the tourists have left, and I enjoyed reading about all the small town people who all knew each other in a quiet off season town.
I don’t read many mysteries, so this was unique and stood out to me, and I really enjoyed being able to search for clues with Moira and try to determine who exactly was the killer. I know many of my blog readers also tend more towards fantasy than mystery, so I definitely recommend this book because it’s an excellent murder mystery disguised as a siren fantasy, and is a great way for to enjoy mystery while still reading the fantasy we’re so comfortable with and love.
I was certainly on my toes through the whole book, trying to figure out who it was! There was a bit of urgency, the fear that another murder would take place or something bad would befall our main characters since they’re out looking for a murderer! The mystery came together really well to the end, with a few twists and turns to keep me on my toes and not make it too predictable, while still leaving enough clues and foreshadowing to help me figure it out and leave me satisfied by the end.
Finally, I really enjoyed the main characters, Moira and Jude. Moira wasn’t the most fluffy lovable protagonist, and she had a bit of a harder, older edge to her that made her interesting, yet at the same time she was so fierce and passionate and determined to protect the things she cared about, and I loved seeing that shine through.
Moira is also a musician, a violinist, and I don’t think I’ve read a book about a violinist before so I really enjoyed this aspect! I love books with musicians, loved seeing how much she loved music and loosing herself in it, especially as this fit with the theme of the siren song and the power of song! I loved scenes describing her playing on the cliffs for the sirens and in the town hall for dancers.
This book had just a hint of romance to keep me happy! It felt like there was less romance than there is in most YA books, and it definitely didn’t detract from the main murder mystery plot, which I appreciated, yet the amount there was just made me so happy!
Overall, although this book wasn’t quite what I was expecting, I still really enjoyed it and definitely recommend. It’s especially perfect for this time of year!
About The Author
Kelly Powell has a bachelor’s degree in history and book and media studies from the University of Toronto. She currently lives in Ontario. Songs from the Deep is her debut novel.