Songs of the Deep by Kelly Powell was slower than I expected. I rated it a 4.3/5 due to the beautiful atmospheric prose. Powell writes such gorgeous descriptions of the sea, lighthouse, and details of the environmental setting.
The narration style of first person present tense doesn’t feel to match the dialogue voices. The characters speak in proper language as if this is historical fiction which doesn’t match the vibe of a first person narrative. I like the continuity that it is all from Moira’s POV.
I’m confused on what year it is. At first I assumed contemporary but as I read it is more clear that the story is from a century ago because having a landline telephone is “new.” But it also doesn’t feel full fantasy since sirens are the only fantastical element.
Their conversations feels abrupt and a bit shallow, as if the author isn’t digging deep enough. It seems like we’re only brushing the surface of the characters and aren’t allowed to fall into the story completely. I wish the dialogue wasn’t so formal and flat. Lots of it is also small talk and doesn’t move the story forward enough.
Here are notes while reading:
We start not knowing the main characters name or gender and quickly learn she loves watching the sirens on a dangerous island and plays her violin for them. She seems a bit lost spiritually and the gorgeous prose that describe the cliff side and waves bring me into her mood immediately. I’m already eager to learn why her heart longs for the ocean, how she’s dealt with her fathers passing, her age, and perhaps how she might find herself on this island someday.
In chapter two Moira and her friend find a young boy’s mauled body on the beach and assume it was the sirens’ doing. Moira feels as if something is wrong with the entire situation. Why does Moira have this strong connection to the sirens?
After chapter 3 I’m wondering who are the murmured whispers coming from below? Is Moira going to somehow blame Jude for Connor’s death? Will they cops blame Jude somehow? Is this a second chance romance since she was crushing on Jude in the past? Why did she cut him off as a friend years ago? I love the vibe of this lighthouse.
At page 51 I feel like her train of thought is coming out of nowhere with no evidence in her thinking to back up her claims. And after chapter eight I’m just a bit confused as if the story is abstract in itself.
At the end of chapter 19 it says “I am so, so ready.” But she’s ready for what? I’m enjoying the story but the plot feels a bit unfinished. The prose are great. But the characters and plot feel surface level. We don’t get a good grasp of “why” for a lot of choices. The reader is left to assume a lot. Which is okay if we’re giving more pieces along the way. I don’t know WHY Moira wants to defend the sirens or WHY someone would want to kill Connor or WHY she likes Jude. I just need a little more depth.
After chapter 21 I’m realizing I don’t care about the results of their unsuccessful investigation. Especially because every conversation or questioning is very short lived and a little pointless. What is keeping me reading is learning what a Jude’s secret is.
At page 186 I’m much more excited about the story and wish this part was shown sooner. It was not what I had expected and I can’t wait to hear more.
After chapter 31 I’m confused. I thought they had just figured out who the killer was. But the cliffhanger line is: “at the meeting … you think the killer will be there?” So now I’m not sure what they discovered in the character’s confession because they would’ve used the name instead. Or responded differently.
At the end, I’m a little disappointed that more didn’t come out of the situation from page 186. It had a lot of potential that wasn’t used.