Title: Our Bloody Pearl
Author: D. N. Bryn
Release Date: July 26 2018
Publisher: Avos Publishing
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Steampunk
Goodreads Rating: 4.28 (of 448 ratings)
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The ocean is uncontrollable and dangerous. But to the sirens who swim the warm island waters, it’s a home more than worth protecting from the humans and their steam-propelled ships. Between their hypnotic voices and the strength of their powerful tails, sirens have little to fear.
That is, until the ruthless pirate captain, Kian, creates a device to cancel out their songs.
Perle was the first siren captured, and while all since have either been sold or killed, Kian still keeps them prisoner. Though their song is muted and their tail paralyzed, Perle’s hope for escape rekindles as another pirating vessel seizes Kian’s ship. This new captain seems different, with his brilliant smile and his promises that Kian will never again be Perle’s master. But he’s still a human, and a captor in his own way. The compassion he and his rag-tag human family show can’t be sincere… or can it?
Soon it becomes clear that Kian will hunt Perle relentlessly, taking down any siren in her path. As the tides turn, Perle must decide whether to run from Kian forever, or ride the forming wave into battle, hoping their newfound human companions will fight with them.
Disclaimer: I received this review copy courtesy of the author. I am grateful for the opportunity to review it for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book.
This is easily the best siren book I’ve read. While sirens always seem intriguing, ruthless, and something to be excited about since their connections with mermaids, I have yet to truly read one that I have been quite pleased with – until now. This was exactly what I was hoping this book would be – and more – and gave me an epic diverse pirate gang that was so easy to root for.
The concept was quite intriguing. Perle, our main character and resident ruthless, bloodthirsty siren, is captured by an even more ruthless and bloodthirsty captain, Kian. Kian has figured out how to quiet siren songs, and she is using it to destroy siren populations. When Captain Dejean boards Kian’s boat, he doesn’t find the weapon against sirens – but instead finds Perle. After some hesitant first beginnings, Dejean and Perle form an unlikely bond, and the true adventure begins.
I loved this concept. It was so intriguing, and the story was full of both emotional and physical journeys. To me, this story felt more like a character driven novel, and I love a good one of those. This one really focused on the changing in Perle, Dejean, and even the politics of sirens vs. humans. But trust me, there were still adventures to be had.
Perle was an amazing narrator. Their story was one full of heartbreak and hope. They faced so much torture and abuse from Kian, but when Dejean came along, it provided a chance to begin again although much had changed physically and mentally for them. Dejean was a quirky little character, and I really enjoyed him. He was definitely entertaining, and he honestly felt like a breath of fresh sea air with the amount of hope and light he would bring to the page. Bryn took time to craft detailed and complex main leads.
I also loved Perle and Dejean’s interactions together. It wasn’t just insta friendship/love for them. Perle was distrustful of Dejean at first, as they rightfully should be, but Bryn made it authentic how their friendship should grow over time. It was the care that Bryn took to developing their relationship that really sold me on this book, because it was just so well executed. I lived for the moments that they were back together, and I loved the language that they created to speak to one another. Ugh, the feels.
That being said, I felt like some of the characterization on the other characters struggled for me a bit. I could not get a read on Simone, and I wasn’t a fan of Murielle? I just felt like there was a bit of the “quirky inventor” cliche happening, and I wanted a bit more. I mean, I still enjoyed them, and I just…I wanted a bit more after reading the amazing characterization of Perle and Dejean.
I also love me a good gang book, and this had a pretty good gang. They all worked together wonderfully, and Perle certainly made them their pod. By the end, this diverse group was going to take on anything that stood in their way and I had full faith in them.
Bryn certainly had a good writing style, and they certainly didn’t feel like a debut author. Everything was easy to read, and I enjoyed it. The setting was quite detailed and lush as well. I will say that there was sort of a disconnect at times for me? I think maybe it was to due with the pacing? I’m not quite sure. I would be invested to always come back to the story, but maybe it would just go a little too slow to fully get me in super deep. But it was still quite good, and it really doesn’t detract from the story.
Overall, this was a very good story, and definitely the best siren book that I’ve read.
rating: Ariel because how can I not for a book about sirens?
representation: nonbinary MC (pronouns: they/them), side characters in f/f relationship, physical abuse survivor, sexual abuse survivor (male), sign language users, POC characters (ethnicity not specified exactly and I don’t want to assume), physically disabled MC
content warnings: physical abuse, sexual abuse (in the past – mentioned and not explicitly shown), violence, death, slight gore
read this if you: the best book out of the siren genre I’ve ever read and if you’re looking for a diverse pirate gang
What do you think? Let’s discuss in the comments below!