Today's post is suppose to be my thoughts about Mary Weber's Storm Siren and its sequel Siren's Fury. But because mailing to Hawaii is a hit or miss, I haven't received my copy of the books yet. I don't want to skip posting today so I thought I'd post an excerpt from the first book in the series, Storm Siren.
This excerpt, which I read via the preview on Amazon, sold me on saying yes to the review request pitch from the publicist. If you haven't picked up the series yet, maybe it'll inspire you to also give it a chance.
“I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.”
In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.
As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.
Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.
Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight... not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.
But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?
Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.
"Fourteen circles for fourteen owners."I like the writing, I'm intrigued by Nym's character and I want to know more about her--for being sold 14 times, she doesn't act like the typical slave--and I'm in a YA fantasy kick after reading some really awesome novels. Storm Siren and Siren's Fury couldn't come at a better time... hopefully, I get my copies of the books soon.
I shade my eyes to block the sun's reflection off the distant mountains currently doused in snow and smoke and flesh-eating birds. The yellow flags above me snap sharp and loud in the breeze as if to emphasize my owner's words that yes, she's quite aware such a high count is utterly ridiculous.
Waiting for it...
"Fourteen?" the sweaty merchant says.
Ha! There it is! Eleven years of repeatedly being sold, and it's sad, really, how familiar I've become with this conversation. Today, if Brea has her way, I will meet my fifteenth, which I suppose should actually bother me. But it doesn't.
Brea nods. "Fourteen."
I smirk and turn to watch a gimpy minstrel roaming through the marketplace, which is the closest I've ever been to Faelen's High Court. The poor guy is singing so wretchedly off-key, I want to giggle, except he might be newly returned from the war front, so I don't. Besides, his odd version of the old ballad "The Monster and the Sea of Elisedd's Sadness" reminds me of my home up in the Fendres. Have you been there? I want to ask him.
Instead, I look over as the enormous merchant grunts his nervousness and retreats from me, giving the ground a superstitious spit. He eyes Brea. "Fourteen owners says either yer lyin' or she's got the dark-death disease. Whichever it is, you best get her out of my way. I got a money business to run." He makes to hurry off toward the selling stand, almost tripping in his fur-trimmed shoes.
I grin. Yes, run away in your too-little boots.
"Wait!" Brea grabs his arm. "Nym doesn't have the disease. She's just..."
The merchant scowls at her grip on his sleeve.
She releases it, but her roundish face turns stony with determination. "She's just too uppity for the poorer folk, that's all. There's only so much a master can take of a servant who thinks she's made of better than the rest."
What in hulls? Is she off her chump? My laugh bubbles up and I choke it back, waiting for her to choke on her lie. He creeps closer and slides a look of dislike down my partially hooded face, my chin, my half-cloaked body. "She doesn't look uppity. She don't even look decent enough for the favor houses."
Whoa. I bite back a prickly remark about his mum birthing him in one of those dung havens and look away. Neither of them deserves a reaction. Using my practiced haughty pose, I face the lively crowd gathered like giddy children in front of the selling platform. Five, ten, fifty people. They're all smiling as if the circus with its panther monkeys and manic dwarves were performing instead of a fat guy in little boots exploiting children. Seems even decent women are desperate for extra hands while the men are off fighting a war we've no hope of winning.
The merchant chews his puffy lip and studies me, like he expects me to help coerce him. Is he jesting? I raise an eyebrow and glare at him until, finally, he grunts again and pulls up the cuff on my right arm.
His gloved fingers run over each thread tattooed around my wrist like tiny bracelets. "One. Two. Three..." He numbers the circles slowly, fourteen in a row inked into my skin with the juice of the black mugplant. I almost feel like I should clap for him.
Good job, I mouth. You know how to count.
The merchant's face twists into a snarl. He gives me a vicious pinch below my elbow and pushes my sleeve higher up my arm onto my shoulder. I shiver and, narrowing my eyes, start to pull away, but Brea leans into me.
"You hold yourself together," she sputters close to my ear. "And for fool's sake, keep your hair covered, or so help me, Nymia, I'll break your fingers again."
I bite my tongue but refuse her the satisfaction of dipping my gaze to my slightly misshapen left hand, which I'm now curling into a fist.
Book 2 is Siren's Fury.
"I thrust my hand toward the sky as my voice begs the Elemental inside me to waken and rise. But it's no use. The curse I've spent my entire life abhorring—the thing I trained so hard to control—no longer exists."
Nym has saved Faelen only to discover that Draewulf stole everything she valued. Now he’s destroyed her Elemental storm-summoning ability as well.
When Nym sneaks off with a host of delegates to Bron, Lord Myles offers her the chance for a new kind of power and the whispered hope that it may do more than simply defeat the monster she loathes. But the secrets the Bron people have kept concealed, along with the horrors Draewulf has developed, may require more than simply harnessing a darker ability.
They may require who she is.
Set against the stark metallic backdrop of the Bron kingdom, Nym is faced with the chance to change the future.
Or was that Draewulf’s plan for her all along?