Our Bloody Pearl
The ocean is uncontrollable and dangerous. But to the sirens who swim the warm island waters, it’s a home more than worth protecting from the humans and their steam-propelled ships. Between their hypnotic voices and the strength of their powerful tails, sirens have little to fear.
That is, until the ruthless pirate captain, Kian, creates a device to cancel out their songs.
Perle was the first siren captured, and while all since have either been sold or killed, Kian still keeps them prisoner. Though their song is muted and their tail paralyzed, Perle’s hope for escape rekindles as another pirating vessel seizes Kian’s ship. This new captain seems different, with his brilliant smile and his promises that Kian will never again be Perle’s master. But he’s still a human, and a captor in his own way. The compassion he and his rag-tag human family show can’t be sincere… or can it?
Soon it becomes clear that Kian will hunt Perle relentlessly, taking down any siren in her path. As the tides turn, Perle must decide whether to run from Kian forever, or ride the forming wave into battle, hoping their newfound human companions will fight with them.
Title: Our Bloody Pearl
Author: D.N. Bryn
Genres: Mythical / Fantasy / LGBTQ+
Paperback, 240 pages
Publishing Date: July 26, 2018
Publishing House: Avos Publishing
ISBN: ISBN-10: 1721833412 (ISBN13: 9781721833412)
Edition Language: English
This book was amazing, it had me hook and sinker from the first page. I completely fell for the world of Siren filled waters and all the good characters found in this novel. Lucky me, I was able to read this while visiting the beach, and it was a superb experience.
Pearl (they/them) is the main Siren character in this story and the reader follows their journey through their point of view, which was just the neatest experience. When we first meet Pearl, they are held captive and chained by pirate Kian (she/her) but no less bloodthirsty or void of feist.
How did they end up there?
Kian has a device that finds Sirens by their songs. Pearl was her first capture, all the others have been sold or killed. Held prisoner under the worst conditions, Pearl does not think they'd be free again until Kian's pirate ship is captured by another pirate, who may want to wager his gains with them too.
Dejean (he/him) is different. He is the most humane and wonderful pirate I've ever encountered in a novel. Nothing short of bold and brave when needed, he extends kindness to Pearl which is met at first with growls and sneering teeth. It takes time to gain their trust, and eventually, they begin to communicate. From hand signs to the flourishing banter between them, it is one of the greatest parts of this book. Pearl's thoughts are witty and sarcastic.
Why is Dejean trying to be so nice to her?
A plan is devised to relocate Pearl from the ship, but Kian's torture has left her with damaged nerves in her tail. Still frightened mostly and mistrusting humans, Perl seeks the open ocean, a risky escape that leaves them even more vulnerable.
Will they ever be able to escape capture and live free again?
Needed rest and second chances are given when new characters enter the novel and become a dear part of it. Perle is thriving but still overcoming challenges from the disability. Their newly found pod of humans around becomes a trusted part of life and comfort, and a confrontation with their Siren kind raises questions of where their loyalties lie.
They are not out of the danger zone. Kian has made it her mission to hunt down her first catch across the far oceans and the shores. Darkness seeps in quietly while Pearle is vulnerable and surprised, but they have already made up their mind. Kill Kian!
A battle for life and death ensues!
*Disclaimer: this is my first book review using gender-neutral pronouns. I apologize for the mistakes I made in advance.
This book, I believe, entered the SPFBO 5 challenge 2019 by author Mark Lawrence and is currently still in the running. I hope this novel will go far!
I am not one of the judges for the challenge to sort out finalists and a winner, nor am I directly comparing this novel against other entries or hold it to the binds put forth of that competition. So, independently for me and for my perspective enjoyment of this creative novel, I am rating it 5-stars regardless of the SPFBO 5 outcome.
I stinking loved the idea of the Siren's pov and the communication that transpired between Pearl and the humans, especially Dejean. Their relationship became a close-knit and intimate part of this story that upheld a bonded friendship beyond bias, crossing boundaries. A tribute to seeing with your heart and not with your eyes. This became especially clear at the end of the novel.
Our Bloody Pearl adds another variable into the mix. Pearl's mistreatment has left them paralyzed. So, not only is one of the characters disabled, but it is a mythological creature that has to overcome obstacles or challenges. The idea of humans going out of their way to help Pearl achieve adequate independence for a normal living was so different from what I have read before and I loved this. While there were anger, fear, and hate, there was also a message of hope and forgiveness to be found.
D.N. Bryn did really well with timing the growth and development of characters and keeping the reader tethered with uncertainty while producing a feeling of hope simultaneously. The scenes of either intimate moments and or the harrowing action fights were intuitively written and read fluidly engrossing.
I didn't experience any tropes per se but felt the connection between Pearl and Dejean could be love and would develop simply romantically. That it didn't. It became more! As much as I was thinking about the progression of the plot along the way, I did not foresee the outcome or the event arcs which added to my love for this book. I'm not saying others may not foreshadow things, but for me, I simply enjoyed it bit by bit as it played out.
Such a well-written adventure. I loved the strongly developed characters, the banter, the friendship, and the tension. There were LGBTQ+ characters represented and a brief conversation about gender and sexuality from the Siren's perspective and respective species.
Coming into this story knowing just the general basics of Sirens but nothing really detailed about them, I feel like I've actually learned a bit more about these mythological creatures. If it hasn't been written anywhere before this detailed in a fiction novel, I believe the Sirens to be very well imagined and described by the author.
If you have the chance to read this novel, DO IT. I loved it and can't do it justice with my miser review ;)
I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you so much, D.N. Bryn. I love it when a book hits all the notes and I feel honored to have been picked with the opportunity to read and review it.