Ghost romance? Yeah, I wasn’t so sure either. But in The Siren’s Touch I was pleasantly surprised to find an unexpectedly twisty, intriguing and ultimately satisfying read. I have enjoyed Amber Belldene’s books in the past so I knew the writing would be good, but well, the heroine is a ghost. Now, either that grabs you or it doesn’t. I suppose I had been envisioning a frustrating lack of sexual contact and/or a scenario where both hero and heroine end up ghosts (i.e. a “non-traditional happy ending”, a trend which as far as I’m concerned can take a long walk off a short pier). My worries were not only unfounded as the story wound up being both sexy and happy, there was a whole lot of substance as well.
First of all, unusual for a paranormal romance, heroine Sonya Truss is the magical one. This happens occasionally in shifter romances when both hero and heroine are shifters, but otherwise it seems more common for the hero to be the powerful, other-worldly creature. One reason why I think this works in The Siren’s Touch is that the hero, Dmitri Lisko, is rather an uber-alpha—a hitman for a Ukrainian “business”, what seems to be basically an organized crime syndicate. Despite the heroine being a rusalka, a kind of siren hell-bent on revenge out of Ukrainian folklore, she is really rather helpless. The powers she can actually control only work on the hero. Though she has some other supernatural features, they seem to be more inconvenience than help and so the hero is still preeminent.
Dmitri is an interesting guy. He was orphaned, I believe as a teen (the text is a bit hazy on this point) and taken up by his uncle. His relative is basically caring in his way, though Dmitri becomes a hitman under his tutelage so that assessment is rather context-dependent. Nevertheless, a childhood full of physical abuse, the death of his father and his chosen career have taken a toll. When the book opens, Dmitri is an alcoholic. The reader gets the impression he is on his last job, also one of revenge. Whether he intends to sober up after and go straight or drink himself to death isn’t at first entirely clear. In any case, he’s a hero in need of redemption.
The plot of The Siren’s Touch is intricate, but not confusing. Between the hero’s pursuit of his professional quarry and the search for heroine’s killer, there is plenty of action. The hero and heroine are connected by actions undertaken in the past by the people around them, which accounts for their link in the present-day. As the situation develops and more is revealed, it culminates in a tense confrontation between the major players at the end of the book. I also appreciated that at the end, it’s the heroine doing the saving, though not in traditional kick-ass paranormal fashion. There were a few uncomfortably loose ends I thought, but presumably those will be resolved through the heroine’s sister’s story in the second book, The Siren’s Dance.
The intriguing bits of Ukrainian folklore, a secondary romance involving the hero’s folklorist aunt and the hints at the heroine’s sister’s plight making for excellent sequel-bait, I’d definitely recommend The Siren’s Touch. I can’t recommend that you start it at nine o’clock at night though as I did. I was up much too late finishing it.
I received a complimentary copy of The Siren’s Touch from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. I have also beta read for Amber Belldene in the past, though I did not for this particular book.
A Siren Romance
July 21, 2015