The sirens…they scare me…but for some reason I want to be apart of their clique…
Last year, I read I Chose to Die (Siren Suicides Book 1) by Ksenia Anske and I even wrote an Amazon review on it. I’ve always meant to post a similar review on my site, and well life happens, but without further ado, here it is! :D
The story is told through the first person POV of sixteen-year-old Ailen Bright, who is struggling with thoughts of suicide because of her shattered family life. She is thrust into the deep waters of the siren and siren-hunter realm she never before knew existed where she goes through her journey of self-discovery.
The first sentence, “I chose to die in the bathroom because it’s the only room in the house I can lock,” is such a strong one to start with (Anske). The reader is instantly pulled into the story with the powerful wording and the serious subject matter. It was definitely a good choice on the author’s part to start here.
Then, one of my most favorite things about this novel is the “beloved antique, carved-marble tub” (Anske 1). I love the way this tub is described in such great detail it’s practically a character (or 5) of its own. It really sprung to life for me, which I really appreciated. I love it when an author can personify an inanimate object well, and here we get a good example of that.
I know at some point Ksenia was considering re-doing the covers for Siren Suicides, and she may have already, but I strongly fangirl over the fact that the bathtub should be on the front cover. I would just die! It’s so pivotal to the story—it’s just meant to be! *fangirls* Pleeeaaase?
The transition into a flashback of her friend, Hunter, was done smoothly and was a scene I really enjoyed. It gave insight into Ailen’s character (and even Hunters) and how she deals with other people. It is also a scene that I think speaks true the insights of sixteen-year-olds haha.
I think something to give kudos to is the fact that the beginning chapters are very well written and very intriguing to the audience. It’s such a difficult thing to get those beginning chapters perfectly right to both pull the reader in and have the reader keep reading and that is something that Ksenia does well. I think it was the combination of Ksenia’s intriguing characters and the set up of plot playing within all the details. (Do you see them? They’re everywhere!)
Other pros of the story include:
-that it’s an easy and quick read which is great for the YA audience.
-it was a unique and original idea derived from Greek Literature.
-there was a repetition of numbers and counting (particularly the number three), which I always find significant.
-Strong character development and voices, particularly through Ailen.
-Thankfully, Ksenia kept repeating which siren was which otherwise the readers would’ve likely gotten lost.
I will say that there wasn’t much of this story I didn’t like, and, in fact, the two minor things I’m going to mention are more of a nit-pick.
The first being: I really hate exclamation points. I think it was Stephen King who said they should only be used once every 100k words. In other words, exclamation points should be used sparingly. That said, as someone who is incredibly nit-picky toward the poor ‘!’ I have to bring up the fact that they were used in the exposition too often for my liking…but because I was so enthralled with the captivating tale it wasn’t too distracting (but enough so to mention).
The second being, simply, I just wanted to see more of effects of Ailen not having a ‘soul’, more of a before/after character difference. However, it wasn’t crucial enough that I was taken out of the story because of it.
Concluding Thoughts & Post-Scriptum
All in all, I Chose to Die (Siren Suicides Book 1) was a very enjoyable read and I highly recommend it :) You can download it for free or be super cool and support Ksenia by ordering a signed copy from her site, which you could buy individually or as the trilogy set (who doesn’t love signed copies?).
As a P.S. to the review of the story, I just wanted to add that one of the most beautiful things about this book is the dedication that Ksenia wrote in the beginning. She stresses, “If you are thinking about killing yourself, please, don’t. Life is beautiful, and it’s even more beautiful with you in it” (Ksenia). The dedication speaks volumes to who Ksenia is as a person and if there is any moral or takeaway from Siren Suicides it is that living is a beautiful thing and while tackling such a strong topic such as suicide is difficult, one has to commend the rather successful attempt that Ksenia does in order to spread suicide-awareness. Thank you x