Syren, by Angie Sage, is the 5th in the Sep Heap series. Although I love this series, I have some problems with this book. First of all, I do not particularly like “old-sounding” misspelled words.They always strike me as being too pretentious. And yet every single one of these books’ titles is intentionally misspelled. Yep, there’s Magyk,(Arrgh! Replace that y with a i! And just go away, weird k.) Flyte, (okay, this is not really a word in the first place, being some kind of ridiculous hybrid of fly) Physik, (this one really annoys me: replace the y with a i, then kill the darn k and give me a c!) Queste, (STUPID E!) and finally Syren. I’m a natural speller. The second thing I need to rant about is the fact that every magical thing (no, i am not going to say Magykal) they come across is in bold. A typical sentence (from Queste): “If it is true, than I must know all I can about the Queste. And you, Marcellus, would know the most about the Queste.” Annoying, yes?
But despite my annoyances, Syren is a very good book, like the ones before. They’re so consistently good, I’m not going to review them all. It suffices to say that they are great, and you should read them all (if you’re a kid). The “Oh no, we’re in trouble” parts are quite scary, even though you know it’s going to come out fine in the end. How? Like Harry Potter, you know the protagonist isn’t going to die when you’ve got two books left in the series. What fun is that?
There is quite a bit of evil, though. Like the twins who push the cat-man off the lighthouse. Oh, those two are evil, all right. It’s nice to see a few real baddies, because kid’s stories are generally “It’s okay. Somehow, the villains are defeated! Somehow.” The baddies are badder in this book than in the rest. They’ve got more reason to be bad, too. The main baddie in these books, DomDaniel, is a plain “I’m bad because I’m bad” villain. But Tertius Fume has an evil-sounding name, and we know his story. He’s a much better baddie than Dom.
The characters in Syren are quite good, people you’d want to be buddies with. They’re realistic to a certain extent. They do feel like people- just enough for the purpose. But they exaggerate qualities in people. Septimus, understandably, is ultra-heroic. Unfortunately, he’s just a bit too heroic for me to be a 12-year-old boy. I mean, come on. The boys at my middle school (sorry, boys) are nowhere near as Knight-In-Shining-Armor-y as Sep. Jenna, our female protagonist, is very girly. She is definitely a Damsel in Distress. Yes, she can kick a little butt, but she usually needs to be rescued.
Syren is a great book for kids. Adults…well, I don’t think they would like a book about the life and times of a magical preteen boy, but you never know.