Sirens by Rhonda Parrish (editor)

Sirens by Rhonda Parrish (editor)
Publisher: World Weaver Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (277 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Sirens are beautiful, dangerous, and musical, whether they come from the sea or the sky. Greek sirens were described as part-bird, part-woman, and Roman sirens more like mermaids, but both had a voice that could captivate and destroy the strongest man. The pages of this book contain the stories of the Sirens of old, but also allow for modern re-imaginings, plucking the sirens out of their natural elements and placing them at a high school football game, or in wartime London, or even into outer space.

Featuring stories by Kelly Sandoval, Amanda Kespohl, L.S. Johnson, Pat Flewwelling, Gabriel F. Cuellar, Randall G. Arnold, Michael Leonberger, V. F. LeSann, Tamsin Showbrook, Simon Kewin, Cat McDonald, Sandra Wickham, K.T. Ivanrest, Adam L. Bealby, Eliza Chan, and Tabitha Lord, these siren songs will both exemplify and defy your expectations.

The ocean is full of creatures we haven’t figured out yet.

In “The Fisherman and the Golem,” Ged purchased an unusual-looking golem to do his housekeeping while he was out fishing. He named the golem Lucette and soon grew quite attached to her. What I liked the most about his tale were all of the twists in it. There were a lot of surprises packed into a pretty short amount of space, and that made it impossible for me to stop reading until I’d discovered everything that happened to Ged and Lucette.

Nearly all of the stories in this collection were extremely well done. There were a few, though, that could have used a little more development. “Safe Waters” was one of them. The plot followed a woman named Lina who downloaded her consciousness into a synthetic mermaid body while on vacation. The lagoon she swam around was safe and beautiful, but she soon discovered something about it that none of the advertisements for this get-away had mentioned. I really enjoyed the storyline itself, but there were certain parts of Lina’s character development that never made sense to me because there wasn’t a lot of time spent on her personality. I would have liked to get to know her better as an individual so that I could have more clearly understood certain choices that she made. The choices themselves fit in perfectly with what was going on. What I didn’t understand was why she thought they were the best decisions for her.

My favourite part of “The Fisherman’s Catch” was watching Jim, the main character, react to meeting his old friend Burt’s new girlfriend. Jim and Burt had known each other for so many years that they could tell what their buddy was thinking with a single glance. This brought out a great deal of the humor in those scenes that I might not have otherwise noticed. I also appreciated the fact that Jim was so open with the audience about what he was thinking and feeling. Knowing so much about him made me unbelievably curious to see what he would do next.

Sirens is an imaginative anthology that I’d heartily recommend to anyone who wants to be swept away to another time and place.

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