Emily Kiebel’s debut felt it was going in two directions. The first half of the book is about a college student who defies her mother by studying music on the east coast. Lorelei had her father’s support, but he dies in the first few pages. It initially seemed Serenade would focus on Lorelei’s struggle after the loss of her father and how to reconcile with her mother; instead, Kiebel introduced a new set of characters (Lorelei’s long-lost maternal relatives) who inform her she’s a siren. From there, Serenade is about Lorelei learning about being a siren and then rebelling when she decides to rescue an attractive sailor she was supposed to sing to his death. Because none of this develops until there are only a few chapters left, the pacing feels very off and the ending is rushed. A large number of loose ends are also left in what is clearly meant to set up a sequel (a big pet peeve of mine). Even so, there’s enough here to keep the story interesting, especially with someone as vivacious as Lorelei learning her heritage.
Review copy provided by BookSparks PR.