***Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for a review.***
Coral & Bone gets points for being a nice change of pace from the PNR staples of vampire, werewolves, witches, etc. But it’s also the same old same old when it comes down to the plot.
Synopsis: Halen knows the sparks igniting under her fingertips are dangerous. She has spent her entire life trying to quell the tingly feelings that make her destroy things, but now that she is back in Rockaway Beach, where she watched her father drown, the flames have become impossible to tame. Halen is trying to hold on, but when she is thrust into a mysterious new world, the underwater realm of Elosia, she unravels the secrets of her past and can’t help but ignite. As she explores Elosia, she realizes her life has been a lie. And when those who have deceived her come to her for help, Halen must choose—walk away or unleash the magick that could destroy them all.
Halen knows something’s not right with her- what with her extremely acute hearing, not to mention the occasional voices and always feeling some kind of prickling, tingling fiery sensations beneath her skin. Yet oddly enough it never occurs to her why she never takes any meds, or goes to see any doctors- just does what her mother says and stuffs earplugs into her ears to drown out the noises. Her emotions are alway in turmoil since the death of her father in what everyone calls a drowning accident. Moving around from place to place made things even more difficult, capped off by the sudden return to Rockaway Beach- the town her father died in. Which is when things start to fall apart- or come together, depending upon your perspective.
Oh, and lest we forget- our girl Halen is not only a siren (aka half-breed between human and Elosian, which isn’t allowed but, hey…), she’s the rarest kind of siren- a Blue Moon Siren! (get it? Once in a blue moon…?) And the tattoo patterns all Elosians have will show you your path in life. But what if you don’t want to follow it? What happens to those who… oh, right- Chosen One, Love Interest and Big Bad Villain. My fault. And there’s the infodumping of entire character histories- like Tage’s- who has a whole lot going on with her but it all got unloaded in one scene when she’s taking a shower. Dead parents, meeting Daspar, immortal hunters who feast on sirens- all while shampooing her hair. Ok.
Dax, the love interest, ain’t all that interesting. Halen has been seeing his face in her mind all her life- even sketching him in her unguarded moments. He’s conflicted, contradictory, sullen, moody- a lot like a normal teenager. Except he’s also… boring. He’s just there because, well… someone has to in a YA PNR novel, right?
Speaking of the Big Bad, there’s another Blue Moon Siren, Asair, who let the darkness of his soul guide him instead of his funky tattoos. He’s dangerous, so he got trapped in a specially made prison dimension just for him called Azkaban… oh, sorry. And only another BMS can release him… and destroy him.
Bet you never saw that one coming, huh?
There’s lots of imagery leaping off the pages: the realms away from Earth are cold, rocky, luminescent, crystalline and yes, wet. The story failed to grab me though, largely because for all the new spin on things it was still all the same by the numbers cliches. Plus there was way, way, way too much withholding of information for what seemed to be no good reason other than to drag things out and pad pages, even in the midst of everything going on Halen is largely kept in the dark. Again, because seaweed. That’s not engaging- it’s annoying and patently obvious. And it makes you lose interest fast.
Coral & Bone gets the nod for originality but drops the ball for taking the easy way out. 2 1/2-3 stars.