Monday, December 3, 2012
Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman
Plot Summary: Roommates Meg and Shar couldn’t be any different. Shar is a total fashionista while Meg is a quiet, Emo-ish girl. When Shar tries to male nice and invites Meg to go shopping with her, Meg reluctantly agrees. The girls soon find something they have in common—the same shoe size and the mutual love of a pair of red pumps that each wants to have and a crush on a boy, Jeremy, they both meet while shopping. When an unfortunately timed fight over the shoes causes Jeremy to fall into the line of an oncoming subway train, both girls declare that they’d do anything to make this situation go away. Enter Hades, yes, that Hades. Turns out he heard their plead and he is in need of some resourceful girls to claim the soul of an aging, reclusive fashion mogul, Arkady Romanov. He offers Meg and Shar the chance to become his new Sirens. If they can collect Arkady’s soul in the next two weeks Hades will make the whole incident of the shoes disappear. Meg is blessed with an enchanting voice while Shar gets enchanting eyes to use as influence over Arkady. Reluctantly they agree drawn to the power and the extra perks of the job (an upscale penthouse apartment, unlimited cash, etc.). Unfortunately, you can’t trust Hades who doesn’t like to play fair as the girls discover every time they use their powers they start slowly turning into sirens of myth (bird like creatures with feathers, claws, beaks, etc). With Hades out to stop them from succeeding so they can be his new sirens forever and with Demeter trying to sabotage them since Hades has her daughter, Persephone trapped six months out of the year in the Underworld, the two girls find themselves in over their own heads as they attempt to get the reclusive Arkday to a portal in time.
Critical Evaluation: I’m personally mixed on this book but it is a quick read and girls who like fluff reads will get a kick out of it. It is a classic two author voiced narration. My biggest complaint is the typeface of the book—it is very reminiscent of teen books of the 1990s—very close together black words that are not neat looking and sometimes hard on the eyes. I would have expected different from Flux. Shar is a total sarcastic, selfish bitch, but Meg, herself, isn’t much better. The girls spend a lot of the novel fighting and bickering. The girls also don’t care much about the consequences of their actions. Ironically, it is the secondary characters that really make the novel. They add a lot of the humor and appear a lot more human and appealing than Shar and Meg. Hades is the best character. He is written as a common day “bad” boy who doesn’t play by the rules and tries to make the girls not succeed in their goal. Readers may find themselves rooting for the bad guy to win! Persephone is also a clever character. While she can’t physically interfere to help the girls she creates interesting ways around those rules to try to help them succeed because she likes her living arrangements with Hades and doesn’t want Shar taking her place (since Hades seems to be smitten with Shar). Readers who like mythology and fluffy funny books can look past the startling unlikable characters (who do, by the end, learn to work together) and enjoy this quick read.
Reader's Annotation: Shar and Meg get a whole lot more than they bargained for when a fight on the subway ends in a cute boy’s death and a proposition from Hades himself to make everything go away as long as the girls step into the role of his sirens and collect one man’s soul for him.
Charlotte Bennardo grew up in Mattituck, New York. She eventually received associate’s degrees in journalism and paralegal from State University of New York and Suffolk County Community College. She went on to receive her bachelor’s in English from Rutgers with highest honors (Bennardo, 2012).
Natalie Zaman is the co-author of Sirenz and its sequel, Sirenz Back in Fashion, published by Flux. Her other projects are a concoction of steampunk, romance and Victorian paranormal fantasy, not necessarily in that order. Natalie lives in central New Jersey with her family and several fine looking chickens (Natalie, n.d.).
Genre: Fantasy, Humor
Curriculum Ties: Mythology
Booktalking Ideas: Mythology
Reading Level/Interest Age: 14+
Challenge Issues: N/A
Challenge Defense: N/A
Reason for Inclusion: A fun fluff novel.
Bennardo, C. (2012). Charlotte Bennardo: Books, banter, and boons. Retrieved from http://www.charlottebennardo.com/About-Me.html
Natalie Zaman. (n.d.). Goordreads author profile. Retrieved from http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1132755.Natalie_Zaman