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{November 3, 2019}   {ARC Review} Songs from the Deep Kelly Powell

From Goodreads: A girl searches for a killer on an island where deadly sirens lurk just beneath the waves in this gripping, atmospheric debut novel.

The sea holds many secrets.

Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the deadly sirens who lurk along the shores of her island town. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he’s one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure.

Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike.

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Powell’s debut novel, Songs from the Deep, is a fascinating “whodunit” that intertwines magical realism with every day island life, creating an almost gothic atmosphere that I thoroughly enjoyed! Moira Alexander, the strong willed protagonist of the story, and her beau Jude Osric, are an amazing pair to watch as they deal with not only the death of a young 12-year-old boy, but also the secrets that lie between them, the police that attempt to deter them, their own personal losses, and an island where everyone knows everything about one another. I loved Moira; she’s a strong-willed girl who knows what she wants and doesn’t sugarcoat it, refusing to back down and give in to anyone, regardless of who they are. While she can easily come across as rude, especially to her own mother and the other adults that populate this novel, since she’s technically only a 16-year-old girl, one must remember that this story takes place on a fictional island where life differs vastly from the world that the reader inhabits, and as the population of the island is relatively small and tightly knit, members of the island interact much differently with one another.

The people on the island have seen and dealt with more death and sorrow than most, as their waters are inhabited by sirens, creatures who not only inhabit water, but can also walk and survive on land. The sirens in this novel are seen relatively often, but the story itself is not about them per se; there is actually little interaction between the sirens and the characters, and Powell does not attempt to humanize the creatures in any way. I liked this, because sirens are a sea dwelling entity that entice their human prey through their melodious songs, and drags them to their deaths, and giving them a voice in this murder mystery would have defeintely changed the entire vibe Powell worked so hard to create.

This novel employs much foreshadowing, some of which will easily lead savvy readers to the truth of the mysteries much quicker than I would have liked, however, the way the novel comes together, and the ultimate end, made it all worth it to me. I really enjoyed this novel, and I think Powell is an author to watch as she continues to create compelling stories in the future. Four stars.

I recevied an ARC of this novel from Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Songs from the Deep releases in two day, Novemebr 5, 2019.

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