Lullaby by Amanda Hocking (Macmillan, Dec 2012)
Reviewed by Maria Robinson (age 14)
We’ve had vampires and vampyres. We’ve had faeries and fairies. We’ve had werewolves, angels, demi-gods, mermaids, and zombies.
Now we’ve got sirens.
Amanda Hocking’s new book, Lullaby, is the second instalment in the Watersong series. Penn, Lexi, and Thea are sirens. In the prequel, Wake, the trio captured Gemma to replace Agalope, Thea’s sister-siren, who was killed.
With the help of a gold shawl and a strange liquid — blood of a siren, blood of a mortal, and blood of the ocean — Penn, Lexi, and Thea turned Gemma into a siren too.
Now, in Lullaby, Gemma is unhappy with her new identity as one of them. She is disgusted by the fact that she will need to eat male humans’ hearts to survive. She misses her family and her boyfriend Alex.
Gemma doesn’t know how to escape the sirens. It’s up to Alex, Gemma’s sister Harper, and Harper’s friends Daniel and Marcy to rescue her.
Fantasy is currently a very popular genre, and Amanda Hocking, who has been compared to Stephenie Meyer — creator of Twilight — is a widely read author. Hocking’s Trylle series from 2010 has been a massive success and at just 28 years old she has been dubbed a “literary phenomenon” by the New York Times.
Lullaby will appeal more to girls. I can see it being lapped up by younger teens or those looking for simple language and an easy-to-follow, uncomplicated plot.
However, I found the gushy style of writing quite annoying. Awkward dialogue is used to describe settings. For example, at one stage, Harper comments: “There are tables we can sit at. There’s even an overstuffed couch.” A simple scene description from Hocking would be less forced.
I also got a little tired of the frequent descriptions of everyone’s flawless beauty. Hocking’s characters are either good and beautiful, or bad and beautiful. Humans are good, except for rapists. Sirens are bad, except for Gemma.
Lullaby is one of those books that doesn’t have a proper ending. It just stops – to find out what happens you’ll have to buy the sequel. There’s nothing wrong at all with a series, but I found it unsatisfying to reach the last few pages and still be looking – unsuccessfully – for some sort of conclusion. Almost anything would be better than “The Watersong Series continues with Tidal – Coming soon”.