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(Review) Synthetic: Rise of the Siren

WARNING: This review contains spoilers.

I got this book because it touches on both mythological creatures and science fiction. Sirens, those wonderful creatures of the deep deep ocean who lure sailors to their death. Created synthetically… hmm.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and would recommend it to others.

It struck me as being a bit steam-punk, and a bit post-apocalyptic, and a bit mythical. I wouldn’t recommend it to fans of staunch science fiction. The science in the story was never explained, and in most cases there wasn’t really any effort to explain it. I don’t fault the book for this. I think fantasy stories are sometimes better for leaving some of the details shrouded.

I liked the characters. The main villain was truly vile. The sub-villains were more subtle, more complex, and far less black and white. Till the end of the book, there was even a lot of doubt on my part as to which category some of the characters fit into. I enjoyed them, and the twists and turns the story took them through. My favorite character had to be the cephalopod surgeon. (And that’s enough for most steam punk fans I know to want to read the book.)

I did find the ending of the book to be the weak point though. Once the main heroine got together with the main hero, there was a bit too much of ‘oh, but we’re much more interested in having sex than in displaying any caution for the future’. It seemed a bit over the top, especially in view of the fact that there were obvious hints in the story that they may have won the battle, but the war was yet to be waged.

I was also a bit confused by the paradox loop that the book throws you near the end. We already know that the main character is different, and has a talent for creating synthetic life forms. We already know that all the synthetics created by her ‘mother’ were apparently completely brilliant mentally in one area or another, but that their bodies were deficient or malformed in various ways. That last throw-away paradox though, seemed a bit out of place with the rest of the story.

It seemed like it was possibly there to explain the love story, but even if we grant the main heroine psychic powers, it doesn’t seem to make any sense. She somehow transported her mind back in time, so effectively that… she actually heard what was said to her in the present… in the past?

Despite that, I still really enjoyed the book. I’d be interested to read more in the future.

Book Source: Synthetic: Rise of the Siren

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