Hello beautiful people!
Earlier this week, I published a buddy read discussion post on Daughter of the Pirate King with Lauren @ Narrative Paradise. Lucky for me, we both ended up enjoying the first book — so we jumped right into book two, Daughter of the Siren Queen.
It has been a LONG TIME since I’ve enjoyed the second book more than the prequel, and buddy reading with Lauren’s always a hoot! What was supposed to be a “read-in-a-month” turned into us finishing it in two weeks — proof of Lauren’s hilarity taken from emails below:
ME: So … I kind of read to chapter 10 … because I got really excited and needed to know what happened ha-ha! But take your time!
LAUREN: Haha, no worries! I was really tempted to keep reading myself! I can definitely catch up to chapter 10 over the weekend (if not sooner.)
LAUREN: Welp…I read through chapter 13 because ish got real.
ME: I finally got to chapter 13 ha-ha! Well … I finished it and now I’m on chapter 14.
LAUREN: Haha, if we’re confessing, I maaay have read to chapter 17. This book is VERY FAST AND COMPELLING.
LAUREN: What if I told you…I finished the book last night?
ME: I’d tell you … I plan to reply tomorrow because I finished today lmao!!!
Thank you again for making this so much fun, Lauren! For more information on the buddy reading system, please visit the following page — How To: Buddy Reads || Buddy Read Discussion.
Buddy Read Partner
Lauren @ Narrative Paradise: “Welcome! You made it! I started this blog as a ‘portfolio’ for ‘serious writing’ (per some professional advice that would have better suited someone else.)
Over the years, Narrative Paradise morphed into a book blog…of sorts. I don’t write book reviews (very often) or participate in reading challenges. I DO post book tags and gush about my favorite series. I occasionally publish posts about faith, politics, and/or mental health.
Oh, and I MAY have turned this site into an unofficial Maggie Stiefvater fan blog. Ahem… More accurately, Narrative Paradise operates as an unofficial Ronan Lynch blog. I’m not kidding.
Anyway. Read. Comment. Explore. Enjoy.” (An Introduction post).
Please make sure to visit her website — it’s an absolutely phenomenal blog! Her voice REALLY shows in all of her posts, making it feel more genuine and relatable!
Q1. Would you rather live on land, on sea, or under the water?
Lauren: “Part of me thinks I could swing a houseboat like a hipster. Sadly, I belong on land where there are showers and libraries and grocery stores. I would feel so grimy on a boat and my hair would be a salty mess.”
“Living under the water might be fun, though. I’d probably have to start eating fish again. I’m sure I could do it sustainably.”
Jenna: “Land — don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the water! I hope to one day move closer to the cottage country or near the ocean because being near water calms me. But I don’t think I’d want to LIVE on the sea. And underwater seems cool for a bit — but I want that sunshine!”
Q2. What, for you, was the most shocking moment?
Lauren: “So, uh. Without spoiling anything …”
“…one of my favorite characters got shot.”
“I was U P S E T.”
Jenna: “Hmmm … without spoiling too much, I think the one island they all visit. I was HONESTLY shocked with what happened to Alosa and her crew, and what was waiting for them on that island — seriously, I sped through those chapters because I HAD to know what in the WORLD was going on!”
Q3. Which character could you have used more of? Which character could you have used less of?
Lauren: “I missed Enwen’s comic relief moments from the first novel. Enwen is barely mentioned in this book. I also would have loved more of Mandsy, Kearan, and Sorinda, just because I love them.”
“Also…the villains from the first book are sort of replaced by this gross guy named Tylon. I wanted my old villains back.”
“I started the book thinking, ‘Huh, I wish I had more scenes with Riden’. I ended the book wishing the opposite. He frustrated me so much.”
Jenna: “I wanted more Kearan and Sorinda time — I really enjoy their banter and their weird “chemistry”. They have such unique personalities, which I think would’ve added greatly to the story!”
“To be frank? Riden — okay, that’s not really fair. I think the problem is this book could’ve been another 100 to 200 pages longer, which probably would’ve helped with my frustrations regarding Riden halfway through the novel. But yeah … he started to frustrate me later on ha-ha!”
Q4. Levenseller’s duology presents a great deal of feminist ideals. Are there other diverse elements you enjoyed? Are there diverse elements you wished to see more of?
Lauren: “Jenna and I were on the same page – we both really enjoyed the diverse cast! There’s at least one asexual person, as well as characters of differing skin tones and ethnicities. I was into it!”
“There was also a decent amount of sex positivity, which I liked. Alosa’s sex life is pretty much a nonissue among the crew.”
“On that last note, though, Riden butts up against Alosa’s authority and shames her for using sex for solace. I…did not appreciate that and it made me less invested in their relationship. Also, like Jenna, I wish queer women had been included in the story.”
“There was a lot more magic in this book, but I still wanted more. Especially one of the surprise villains – more of them, please!”
Jenna: “I’m incredibly happy with the fact that Levenseller presents characters with different ‘appearances’, demonstrating different ethnicities — thank gosh! The book isn’t completely male white washed, which I was honestly worried about at first. They all also come from VERY different backgrounds: prostitutes, alcoholics, thieves, etc. But at the end of the day, they’re all a family in Alosa’s crew — which is pretty cool!”
“There are some references to different sexualities, such as asexual and homosexuality. And the best part? It’s not this WOW factor — it’s just a fact regarding those characters, normalizing it rather than making a big deal out of it. Lauren and I did talk about the WEIRDNESS regarding Alosa’s statement that her crew would barely be effected by the sirens due to most of them being women … so either Alosa knows none of them are homosexual OR there’s a plot fail regarding women who are attracted to other women. I don’t know MUCH about siren lore, so maybe that’s a reason why I was confused as well?”
Q5. There are 5 elements to a story: characters, setting, plot, conflict and resolution. Which did Levenseller excel at? Which one could’ve used more attention?
Lauren: “The characters were solid; I was devoted to many of them.”
“I also thought the conflicts (woman vs. father, nature vs. nurture, etc.) were compelling and helped build the tension.”
“I got a better sense of the setting in this book, which I loved. Levenseller wrote a VERY fun world.”
“I was a little confused at times, though, what the plot was. At first it was about getting to the island first, then Alosa’s reasons changed, then she and crew went on the run…it was a bit hard to keep track of.”
“Also, for me, the climax and the ending felt a bit rushed. Though the final chapter is great, I felt like it needed a bit more preceding it to feel fully satisfying.”
Jenna: “For me, Levenseller excels greatly at character development and creation — seriously, I want to be a member of Alosa’s crew. You feel as though these characters are people you know in real life, making it sad to see them go when the books finished. Though I wish there was more time to explore them, I do feel Levenseller did a great job overall.”
“The resolution was a little bit of a lackluster for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the ending — but it felt a little rushed at the end? It’s as though she realized there were a few things she didn’t already resolve, so she just tied a semi-messy bow together to wrap it up. I think if she added an additional 100 pages or so, the ending would’ve woven together more.”
Want to participate in a buddy read?
If you’d like to participate in a buddy read, simply message me by clicking the Contact tab on my website. If you have a particular book in mind, make sure to leave that in the request. If you aren’t sure of a book, that’s okay! Either say you’re up for anything or check out my Want To Read shelf on Goodreads to see if there’s something we both have on our TBR!