I saw this square and immediately thought "Sirens!"....maybe because I have seen Ice Age 4 about a million times and there is the scene with the sirens borrowed from The Odyssey. Anyway, the Sirens! thought led me to this book, a stand-alone YA about Kahlen, a nineteen year old in the late 1940s/early 1950s who was saved from drowning by The Ocean (aka SHE) in exchange for 100 years of service as a siren. The Ocean needs sirens to kill people, whose souls nourish/fill in a need that The Ocean is desperate to keep a lid on. Fast forward to the early 2010s, and Kahlen is just 19 years away from the end of her service and a chance at a normal life. She is living in Miami with her fellow siren-sisters, and feeling increasingly angsty about what she has done to at least hundreds of people she killed in her duty to The Ocean. And then she meets Akinlin….
I really liked this book and found it refreshing and the world building solid and immersive. Kahlen has never felt truly settled in her life as a siren, but her older sister siren Aisling was a fount of strength for her; when Aisling was finished with her service and it was time to move on to her third (and final) life, she chose Kahlen to help her make the transition. That's Kahlen - service wasn't just for The Ocean but also to her sister sirens, who she tries to be an older sister without lecturing or smothering them. But she had deep periods of depression, especially after a killing. Meeting/falling in love with Akinlin only heightened the depression.
I really enjoyed Kahlen's and Akinlin's relationship, from that first meet cute to the HEA. Thankfully there was a HEA, or else those passages of deepening depression would not have been worth the trouble of reading. A solid, good read that would be better if an editor took their red pen to a lot of the depression passages. This was self-published before The Selection series, so the cover at the top of this review is the original cover. After The Selection took off, the publisher bought the rights to re-publish this book with a cover that is very similar brand-wise with The Selection series, seen here: