Sunday, 16 June 2013

Dark Water (Siren Book 3) by Tricia Rayburn

Publication date: 10th July 2012
Published by: EgmontUSA
Genre: Fantasy (YA)

Warning: This one contains some plot spoilers of books 1 - 3.  

Dark Water #3 is the final instalment of the Siren trilogy by Tricia Rayburn.  I read the first 2 siren novels and liked the first one but found the second one disappointing. Even so, I wanted to follow the series through to the end.  

There are several plots intertwined surrounding Vanessa, the protagonist. She has just graduated from senior high and is spending the summer in Winter Harbour, the small seaside town in Maine she and her family have always gone to in the holidays - returning despite the awful thing that happened there last summer.

Plot 1 - The murder mystery: Like last summer following Vanessa's arrival there are more mysterious deaths in Winter Harbour. Last time the victims were young men.  This time it's young woman and it's up to Vanessa and her friends to track down the killer so justice may be served.

Plot 2 - The Siren: Vanessa is increasingly experiencing physical discomfort because of what she is, a Nenuphar siren.  Consuming large quantities of salt and taking regular sea baths don't work any more.  She soon discovers that what does seem to revive her is physical contact with the opposite sex.

Plot 3 - The Siren's mother: Charlotte, Vanessa's real mother - the siren, comes to town, supposedly stopping by on her way to Canada.  It is so obvious that Charlotte is very ill (apparently she looks older than she should, like she is about to drop dead or something, and she tells Vanessa she is going away and won't be contactable for a long time - hint hint hint) and yet Vanessa is oblivious, which made her seem dumb for an "Ivy Leaguer".  She does however ask Charlotte to stay for a while longer and then acts as though she isn't there most of the time.

Plot 4 - The love interest: Vanessa's boyfriend Simon broke up with her at the end of book 2, possibly because he found out what she was or possibly because he caught her making out with someone else because of it. Now Vanessa is back in town and she wants Simon back.

What was my problem?

I didn't like the way Rayburn revisited the same plot of the previous book - see plot 1 above. It's meant to be mysterious - but it isn't. There are two likely suspects - the only two new significant characters introduced in this novel. When the killer is revealed it's an anticlimax and the motive for murder is ridiculous.

I didn't like the irritating way characters struggled to articulate themselves, and would often not finish their sentences in dialogue (trailing off), supposedly to keep the mystery going. There was far too much "But what if ... but... I..." "How come ..." she trailed off,  "I'm in the..." the phone went silent.

I didn't like the constant "it almost-but-not-quite happened" in scenes, pointlessly leaving you hanging, supposedly to keep you guessing or intrigued or interested (???).  Like the build up to Vanessa and Simon's first encounter. They frequently almost-but-not-quite run into each other.  Yet, when they do come together it's another anticlimax. Then again when they almost-but-not-quite get it on during their day out together - not that I care - but what's the point?? Then there was the important conversation that Charlotte almost-but-not-quite has with her on several occasions.  And the part when Vanessa almost-but-not-quite tells her friends about her discovering that there are a group of people who are suspicious of the existence of sirens... and so on.

The romantic conclusion was unrealistic.

It wasn't all bad, the story did get interesting when it focused on what Vanessa was and what her body needed to sustain her.  At times I found her interactions with the guys she used to gain her energy disturbing, but I was intrigued. Colin's fate was unfortunate but sort of worked as a story. The cover is nice. (Okay, I admit I am struggling to find positive things to say.)

Dark Water (Siren 3) is an anticlimactic underwhelming conclusion to a mostly underwhelming series. This is not a novel written by an indie author and I would not exactly describe it as a 'labour of love', i.e., for me it reads like not enough time or effort was put into writing it. When I compare it to many of the great self-published books I have reviewed, I can only shake my head and think - MUST DO BETTER. I have deviated from my review policy and am posting my review of it simply to make this point.

My advice would be to give this series a miss.  I do wish I hadn't bothered.

My appeal to readers

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