Debut novels always excite me, as I could possibly have found a new favorite author. And I’m so happy to say that that was the case with this book. Kelly Powell’s Songs from the Deep was such a beautifully atmospheric story that immediately captured my attention and transported me to Twillengyle.
Big thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy for review and asking me to be a part of this blog tour!
A girl searches for a killer on an island where deadly sirens lurk just beneath the waves in this gripping, atmospheric debut novel.
The sea holds many secrets.
Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the deadly sirens who lurk along the shores of her island town. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he’s one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure.
Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike.
First off, I just want to gush over Powell’s beautiful writing style. It has a very classic feel that I think worked perfectly with the setting. While the writing was very lyrical, I never felt like it pulled me out of the story, nor did I struggle to understand what was going on. It’s very telling of Powell’s talent that she was able to write so beautifully, while still providing an extremely readable story. I feel like this is something that a lot of writers struggle with, as it is very difficult to write a story that is both lyrical and readable. Magical realism is a genre that is really guilty of this. Luckily, that was not an issue with Songs from the Deep.
Our main character, Moira, is a complicated person. She’s cold and would rather protect herself and the secrets that she carries, rather than form close relationships. These secrets have kept her from her childhood best friend, Jude. Where Moira is cold and withdrawn from the world, Jude is kind and helps out wherever he is needed. He is beloved by everyone on the island and they all look to him for guidance due to his work as the lighthouse keeper. I really enjoyed the relationship between Moira and Jude. You could tell that they had been really close when they were younger and had drifted apart. I like watching them slowly rebuild that relationship and see how it changes from a childhood friendship to an adult one.
I really enjoyed that a murder mystery was part of the plot. The plot is on the slower side as it is very character driven, so it was nice to have that blend of the mystery with the development of Jude and Moira’s relationship. It kept my attention and had me constantly guessing what was going to happen next. I will say that the one issue I had was that the big reveal wasn’t as twisty as I was hoping it would be. I love being completely surprised by endings but unfortunately, I had this one figured out beforehand. Luckily, I was still able to enjoy the buildup and the overall progression of the story. The mystery was really only the backdrop to the character development and setting.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. The blend of the beautiful writing and vivid setting, was such a perfect setup for this fantastical murder mystery. If you’re looking for an action-packed story, then this book isn’t really what you’re looking for. But if you enjoy a slow-burn relationship and to be completely transported into a book, I think this is the one for you. I also really recommend reading it curled up by a fire this winter, as the atmosphere really lends itself to being a perfect fall/winter read.
Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars
Kelly Powell has a bachelor’s degree in history and book and media studies from the University of Toronto. She currently lives in Ontario. Songs from the Deep is her debut novel.
Are you interested in reading Songs from the Deep? Do you like action packed stories or slow burns? Do you find settings to be an important part of a story?