Tavia and Effie are not-blood-sister-sisters. Tavia is a siren, who must keep the fact she is a siren under wraps. Effie is not a siren, but is plagued by events which happened when she was nine, the loss of her mother, and currently lives with Tavia as they go to high school together. While Tavia is trying to figure out how to permanently silence her voice so as to stop fearing what will happen if people find out about her, Effie is struggling with not knowing who she is and her fear that the events of her past will happen again. Together they fight for themselves and each other.
I really loved this story. Certainly a lot of the magical influences were straight up one-to-ones for racism and sexism, but as all of this is still ever present, it’s certainly a subject that needs pushing in our literature.
The world of this book is interesting, because it is just our world but people like sirens and gargoyles and eloko exist and are widely known about. But just because they are known about doesn’t mean anyone actually understands what it is like to live as one. Sirens can Compel or Appeal with their call and because of that they are feared, while elokos can charm just about anyone with their own voices and no one seems to care.
Tavia and Effie are very real. They mean the world to each other, but that doesn’t mean they tell each other everything. Which was frustrating to read at times, but I couldn’t fault them for. Wanting to fix everything in another’s life often means not wanting to subject them to the problems in yours. Effie’s life was a very interesting read, as her life was intertwined with the Ren faire and her role as a mermaid. The magical creatures who were real as opposed to those who were not and the tales of all of them… it’s given me a craving for a book that would talk about all of those, based on this world’s premise.
The biggest problem I have with the story comes near the end. An explanation for one of the mysteries of the plot feels like it was glossed over, and the conclusion of that particular section feels like it could have used several more chapters to cover reactions and decisions. One of the antagonizing characters has something happen to them, but it isn’t really a conclusion between them and the main characters. Afterwards that character is basically gone, their part in the story done.
The book was such a good read that I could forgive the fumbles near the end, but it did feel as though a lot was glossed over so the ending could be clean. Which is unfair to the story itself, which covered how unclean all of these different problems are.
Prepare yourself for the realness of the struggles of black women, wrapped up in the fantastical elements that can lend themselves to the truth of our troubled reality.