Title: Siren’s Call
Author: Jessica Cage
Genre: Urban fantasy
** Trigger warning – this review contains references to sexual assault **
“Snatched off the street and drugged, Syrinada wakes strapped to a bed with a predator in the next room. At that moment, a side of her, she never knew existed emerges. While relieved to be free, she finds herself plagued by questions she can’t answer.
When Malachi—a longtime friend—witnesses her tapping into this unknown power, he steps in to help. Soon she realizes he knows far more about her heritage than he lets on. After diving into secrets of the past, mounting truths of fin and scales challenge everything Syrinada thought she knew.
Despite Malachi’s warning to stay hidden, the call of her newfound heritage is a strong one.”
* * *
It was gutting to have to hypothetically close this book (I was reading it on my e-reader). The cover is gorgeous and the author is a USA Today Bestseller, it felt like a real winner. But for the first time in ages, I just couldn’t finish this book.
I got three chapters in before I had to eventually say no. There were major problems in all three chapters and while I managed to carry on after the first two, that was all I could handle.
This book starts with the main character, Syrinada, being cornered by a group of rapists and being abducted by one of them. After being drugged and abducted, Syrinada wakes up tied to a bed and her abductor begins to abuse her. This scene was pretty graphic but the worst part about it was this:
“While my brain was repulsed, my body was rejoicing. He was good at what he did, and my body appreciated it regardless of how terrified I felt.”
Oh my goodness, just no.
I wouldn’t speak for every sexual assault victim but as one myself, I can say with certainty that victims do not just suddenly start enjoying their abuse. Especially if they were abducted and restrained. Worse still, Syrinada refers to her attacker as “lover boy” after she accidentally magically kills him. Reading this made me feel sick and I wanted to put the book down here but I still wanted to give it a chance.
In chapter two, Syrinada decides to go out with her best friend to go dancing in clubs. How long this is after the attack is unknown but apparently just long enough for a sketch artists to make pictures for her to look at. Maybe a few days, a week? Coincidentally, Syrinada and her friend run into her attackers and they try to also abuse her friend.
Chapter three, a cute boy who they always go dancing with called Malachai, stops Syrinada from accidentally magically killing the attackers. He apparently knows what is happening to Syrinada and takes them both to his apartment. What follows is an info dump which explains the magical world of the book to Syrinada. She takes it very well, in fact she doesn’t really question anything.
All in all, I can’t say I was anything less than horrified by some of what I read. The romanticising of sexual assault and the casual nature in which Syrinada starts living life again immediately afterwards were huge red flags that the author has not done any research. It’s hugely damaging to how society views sexual assault to state that victims might actually enjoy it.
I can’t recommend this book, personally. If you have ever experienced sexual assault of any kind, give this one a pass.
Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here?