Our first impressions of Siren's Call

Find out The Space Girls’ first impressions of SPSFC3 contestant, Siren’s Call by T. J. J. Klamvik.

As part of the Self-Published Sci-Fi Competition, my team (The Space Girls) has been given 25 books to read. Of this initial allocation (or ‘slush pile’), we are reading the first 30% and then voting Yes or No on whether we’d like to continue reading further. You can see our full allocation in my previous blog.

Here are the team’s first impressions of Siren’s Call by T. J. J. Klamvik. (You can find all of our first impressions posts here.)

The cover of Siren's CallBook blurb

The year is 2456 and war once more looms on the horizon. Without informing the rest of humanity of its ambitions, Earth’s most prominent colony launches an offensive against the enigmatic alien race known as the Auon.

While the elites turn their eyes toward the horizon to prepare for this hopefully lucrative future, trouble is brewing at home. Young women are turning up dead, murdered by a threat that can circumvent the planet-wide surveillance systems. Each murder is accompanied by a singular, harrowing message written in blood:

It comes

Amidst the mystery, intrigue, and battle, something looms just out of reach and it cares little for humanity’s petty squabbles. The apocalypse is here, but will anyone hear its call?

Amazon / Goodreads

Our first impressions

Nancy: At a whopping 266,000 words, it is a chonker. The prose however is very clean in my opinion.

I like the POV chapters featuring a soldier named Jones. In fact, this is the sole reason I wish to vote Yes for the book. I liked his personality and felt intrigued by his secret mission visiting a dangerous part of the galaxy in an old hunk of junk with a shared toilet seat.

The diplomat POV chapters bored me a lot. At first I was vested, but the character seems like a pretentious know-it-all that is constantly getting her hand served by other politicians. She seems to be reactionary the whole story and doesn’t have reliable interns assisting her with daily tasks. Whenever her chapters appeared, I tended to skim through them to just get the cream of the crop information and move on. The detective POV chapters have been pretty good so far. (Y)

Katherine: An interesting prologue the relevance of which wasn’t clear until right at the end of the book. This book switched between three PoVs, which was initially quite a lot of characters to keep track of, but got easier over time, and these storylines eventually began to reference each other. Generally, though, the setting was interesting and I liked the murder mystery aspect, though it didn’t get as much screentime as I would have liked at the beginning, especially when spooky/alien stuff looked like it was getting involved. Because of the scope, the background spookiness and the bits of story focussing on politics, it reminded me of the Expanse a bit. Having read to the end, I feel it definitely could have been shorter, but I did think the ending was cool.

Character-wise, I didn’t always connect to them or get a great feel of their emotions (this may have only been with one character). Two characters had an argument at one point and I honestly couldn’t tell it was meant to be heated until one of them walked out. This is possibly due to distance coming from language quirks giving passivity.

Technically: Writing tends to be passive and have a reliance on adverbs. It lacks contractions in dialogue that would feel more natural and makes some mistakes like ‘here here’ instead of ‘hear hear’. Its most noticeable habit was using ‘as [they were doing something]’ too often, sometimes twice in a sentence. (Y)

Kerry: Well-written prose and pacing worked well for me (I’d read the first 30% and easily finished the remaking 70% in one sitting.)

Interesting prologue which becomes clearer near the end of the book and helps with tying up the three major POV/storylines.

I really enjoyed two of these, those being the Marine Jones with his team being sent to an seemingly uninhabited planet and the policewoman Adelia Duarte investigating a serial killer who leaves behind a mysterious message at the crime scene. The political plot (which I often enjoy) felt a bit too tropey with the power hungry Justynia.

I felt the chapters with Justynia overwhelmed the other two POVs and I feel this made the book longer than it had to be. I would have given this a higher rating if it was a tad shorter – there were a number of scenes I felt weren’t really necessary and dragged the story out. (Y)

Claire: I was really interested in all three POVs — there’s a great mix of characters here. All three are very different and I am really interested in seeing how they come together. I’m looking forward to reading on. (Y)

Status: Quarter-finalist