Book Review: Silent Echo: A Siren’s Tale by Elisa Freilich (4 stars)
Silent Echo: A Siren’s Tale by Elisa Freilich
Genre: YA Fantasy, Mythology
Publisher: Diversion Books
Published: September 10th, 2013
Haunted by silence, a mute teenage girl is mysteriously given back her voice … and it is divine.
Rendered mute at birth, Portia Griffin has been silent for 16 years. Music is her constant companion, along with Felix, her deaf best friend who couldn’t care less whether or not she can speak. If only he were as nonchalant about her newfound interest in the musically gifted Max Hunter.
But Portia’s silence is about to be broken with the abrupt discovery of her voice, unparalleled in its purity and the power it affords to control those around her. Able to persuade, seduce and destroy using only her voice, Portia embarks on a search for answers about who she really is, and what she is destined to become.
Inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, SILENT ECHO: A Siren’s Tale is an epic story filled with fantasy, romance and original music.
SILENT ECHO weaves a tale as hypnotizing as the siren’s voice. Be prepared to be woe by Max’s serenades to Portia, to be crushed by Felix’s dilemma as he struggles to move out of the friend zone, and to feel heartsick as Portia loses her identity when she regains her voice.
Portia has the unfortunate problem of being a very likeable character at the beginning of the book and slowly is poisoned (by the other sirens) to the point where she becomes the type of person she hates. I didn’t like who Portia was by the end of the book, but I did pity her for what she had to go through. I also didn’t approve of who she picked as a boyfriend at the end. Then again, I’m always disappointed by the heroines in that regard.
I especially enjoyed Max’s songs to Portia. I wish that my husband picked up a guitar and sung to me. I loved the lyrics and they felt as true to the heart as those in SLAMMED. I didn’t enjoy Portia’s songs as much. Though her voice might have been pretty, her message was not.
I wish that the book stuck with the POV of the teenagers. I didn’t how much information was revealed by Leucosia and would have much preferred learning about her involvement through Portia’s POV only. I think that leaving Portia’s POV for extended periods of time made her personality change harder to accept as a reader. It would have been more of a seamless transition if the reader experienced it in its entirety.
I’m kind of shocked at all the negative reviews for this book. Though I wasn’t blown away by the book, I really did enjoy the author’s spin on the siren’s tale. I’m a huge fan of Greek mythology, so it’s a little disheartening for other reviewers to be so harsh on the author’s interpretation. Here’s my thoughts on some points other reviewers mentioned:
1) Greek gods are not known to interfere with human affairs. After all, Prometheus gave humans the gift of fire and he was punished severely. He was tied to a rock and had his liver eaten out…for all eternity. Athena offers advice to Odysseus, but never actively interferes with his affairs. There were several gods that mated with humans (notably Zeus) and others that were easily jealous of humans (notably Aphrodite), but otherwise they let humans work out problems on their own. Most of the books I’ve read have this same spin on the gods, such as PERCY JACKSON, so it is no surprise to me that the gods in SILENT ECHO leave Portia to the torturous whims of the other sirens.
2) SILENT ECHO reminds me of the movie CLUELESS with the name brands. It will be something that teenagers over the next five years will connect to easily, but I don’t know how well it will translate a decade from now. I think that it makes the book more appealing to teenagers, but alienates older readers. It will depend on your age if you like or hate this part of the book.
I do think that SILENT ECHO would translate to a movie well, but until then I feel that teenagers who love mythology and fantasy will enjoy this spin on sirens. Adults…maybe not so much.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)