Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: The Undercurrent by Tricia Rayburn


 Undercurrent by Tricia Rayburn

Series: Siren (#2)
Pages: 352
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Published: June 21st, 2011
IBSN: 9781606840757

Nothing has been normal since Vanessa Sands learned that her sister was murdered by sirens—femme fatales of the watery depths—and that everything she believed about her family was a lie.

Her boyfriend Simon’s been the only person Vanessa feels she can really trust. But now there are some secrets she can’t tell even him. And when Vanessa finds herself in the sights of Parker, Hawthorne Prep’s resident charmer, she needs someone to confide in more than ever. Doubting her relationship with Simon, unsure of Parker’s intentions—and of her own—and terrified by what she’s learned about herself, Vanessa has never felt so alone.

But personal problems must be put aside, because the Winter Harbor sirens are back for revenge. Now, Vanessa must face her past and accept that she is just like her enemies—every bit as alluring, every bit as dangerous.

The ice over Winter Harbor is melting and the sirens Vanessa thought would stay under and slowly resurfacing. But their return might not be the most frightening thing right now, with secrets Vanessa would rather pretend she doesn't have driving wedges between her and everyone she cares about.

Undercurrent held onto what I loved so dearly about Siren: the eerie, alluring tone. The book itself was akin to its featured paranormal creatures, so captivating I couldn't leave it for a second.

Rayburn has genuine writing skill. The tone is effortlessly created, and the mysteriousness was enticing and justified. Vanessa's voice is clear and suitably melancholic, which helps a lot with feeling for her. She was the kind of narrator I could get behind, far from perfect but constantly seeking out a compromise between what she needed to do and what was right.

The paranormal side to the story was also woven into the contemporary setting remarkably well, with local history tied seamlessly into history of sirens. Characters privy to the sirens' existence had realistic reactions to developments (which is to say there weren't any naive and shocked characters, but rather, pragmatic thinkers).

Tricia Rayburn crafted another intriguing ending in Undercurrent, one where everything is left in a realistic balance between tension and calm, and enough drama remains that I'm anticipating the sequel. In a time where a commonly assumed attitude is that cliffhangers are necessary to hold onto reader interest, good endings like these are few and far between, and I cherish them all.

The Siren series is dark and different and definitely for any fans of upper YA looking for paranormal romance that breaks the mold.

I give Undercurrent a 4 out of 5.