This review was originally posted at Goodreads and imported here later on with next to no spell/grammar checking.
Oh my goodness, this was such an awesome surprise. I’ve heard of it on Cory Doctorow’s book tour last year, put it on the list, not knowing what to expect. A year later I finally picked up and couldn’t be happier.
A Song Below Water has two protagonists: sisters Effie and Tavia. Tavia is a siren (the controlling-people-with-voice kind), her family forcing her to hide her identity. Effie is not — she’s lost her parents and was adopted by Tavia’s family.
Set in the modern-day Portland, the world is occupied by sprites, gargoyles, Elocos and yes, sirens: always feared and also always targets of violence that somehow never gets accounted for.
Part high school drama, part mystery and part the horror of being a Black woman in America the book is beautiful, super engaging and making you want to scream. Sometimes with joy, other times… not. I was hooked immediately and stayed all the way through to the wonderful ending.
The chapters alternate Tavia and Effie’s points of view showing the care and support they have for each other as well the struggles they’re both going through. They’re both amazing and so human.
I’m going to stop writing because discovering the world and its events is a huge part of this book that I don’t want to just lay bare. If you’re up for a modern, well-plotted and equally well-written fantasy — or just want to change things up and read something with Black protagonists that shows the rest of the world how to leave the Bechdel test in the dust — this is the book to pick up.