Her whole body shivered with delight as she embraced the sounds of the sea and the harmony of her own voice. Ancient magic swelled within her, the ocean blessed her song, and a strong wind tousled her dark brown hair until it flowed wild behind her.
Voices of the Sea achieves something extraordinary in a very confident, accomplished manner: it seamlessly blends the two YA sub-genres of fantasy and amateur detective into a very enjoyable, readable story.
The action mostly follows Loralei Reines, nearly eighteen years old and a member of a clan of Sirens. The Sirens have learned to live incognito among humans, and moved from their traditional home in Greece to various seaside locations in America.
The Sirens have good reason for wanting to blend in, because a non-Siren clan called the Sons of Orpheus has sworn to kill them all.
Carefully, using his thick blade, Ortho carved a large, jagged "O" in the woman's chest — after he removed the vocal chords from her delicate neck.
The book begins with the murder of a Siren belonging to Loralei's clan. One of the most effective — and scary — narrative choices was to convey all of the chapters detailing killings from the murderer's point of view, while the main narrative is always told from Loralei's point of view.
The Sirens feel — justifiably — that they can't tell the police how the murders are connected. Much of the story deals with the Sirens trying to protect themselves, while Loralei and her friends try to discover the killer.
The plot is fairly traditional in that sense, but a steadily rising body count and a number of surprise character revelations keep things fast-paced and suspenseful. It doesn't hurt that two major characters fall in love, in both the best and the worst possible way.
The only thing that really jarred for me was one character revelation, late in the story, which felt a bit deus ex machina. I did glance back, and I don't think I missed anything, but it would have been advantageous to at least have a hint that this character had supernatural powers. Still, his presence and his powers make sense, so it doesn't drop the reader out of the story.
Voices of the Sea is recommended to anyone interested in a blend of supernatural and thriller with a generous dash of romance.
Title: Voices of the Sea
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: WiDo Publishing
Publication Date: July 22, 2014
Paperback: 285 pages
About the Author:
Bethany Masone Harar graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English from James Madison University and a Masters in Secondary English Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has enjoyed teaching high school English ever since. As a teacher, Bethany is able to connect with the very audience for whom she writes, and this connection gives her insight into their interests. As a writer, she wants to make her readers gasp out loud, sigh with longing and identify with her characters. Bethany also enjoys posting on her blog, bethsbemusings.blogspot.com, is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and is an avid follower of literary-driven social media. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband, two beautiful children, and her miniature poodle, Annie.