Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: Like my mom said, we all got talent.
Siren’s Call is the fourth installment in Ms. Castle’s Rainshadow series. A spin-off of her popular Harmony series, Rainshadow is an island that has become a refuge of sorts to those who don’t fit in with Harmony’s upper class society. People with unusual or dangerous psi talents gravitate to the island, knowing the island tends to protect its inhabitants from outsiders. The island, a hot bed of unexplored alien energy areas, keeps the local talent on their toes. Dry witty humor and a suspenseful mystery go hand in hand to create a well developed storyline that tends to revolve around two “misfits” who band together to investigate the island’s unusual alien infrastructure. Personable characters, intriguing plot lines, and vivid world building makes each installment a fun engaging read. Though each book can be read as a stand alone, this series does interact with her Harmony and Arcane series as the three series follow specific families through time.
Rafe Coppersmith met Ella Morgan in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Ella followed a wayward dust bunny into the catacombs only to find herself caught in the middle of an alien artifact smuggling ring. Rafe appears and saves her life, but in order for his cover not to be blown, she has to leave before the cops show up. He promises to call her on her afterwards but was unable to do so when he is badly psi burned on another job. His family places him on lock down, only letting him leave when they feel he isn’t a danger to himself or others.
The first place he goes is to Ella and wants to hire her for a job. His family is excavating a preserve on the Rainshadow island called Wonderland. Problem is some nasty creatures are trying to eat them. Rafe knows Ella has just the talent they need to defeat these creatures and is willing to do anything to get her help.
Ella Morgan has an unusual and dangerous gift that she keeps hidden in order to not be placed on the FBPI (Federal Bureau of Paranormal Investigations) list. She is a Siren; her gift being she can sing people to sleep and even death if she so chooses. People who get on the FBPI’s list are often made to disappear or placed under lock and key for the protection of society. She chooses to use her gift as a dream counselor where she helps guide people to understanding and utilizing their dreams. Because of her gift, she has convinced herself that she will never have a real relationship much less marry and has made peace with this. Sort of.
When Rafe never called she wasn’t surprised. The Morgan family motto has always been either men will become obsessed with you or run straight into hell to escape a siren. When he suddenly reappears offering her a job, she is hurt and angry but realistic enough to see that having the Coppersmith name as a client will do wonders for her budding business so she accepts his proposal and agrees to go to Rainshadow Island.
Ella and Rafe are fun, intriguing leads. Intelligent, strong, and loyal. The class struggle theme is subtle-Ella have been forced to hide her gifts, twisting and shifting them into a plausible career objective. Growing up knowing she had to be very careful not to give herself away. Ella clings to her independence, has strong emotional walls, and very little trust outside her family. Fired from her last job for a situation not of her doing only reinforces these walls.
There are no fairy tale endings for women like her. When it came to identifying monsters the old saying held true. It takes one to know one.
Rafe Copperfield is at an impasse. A member of a rich and well respected family, his recent burn out leaves him feeling a failure. He’s never had to struggle to be accepted; every door in society has always been held wide open for him. But now the gift he used for the family business is gone and he isn’t sure what it’s being replaced with. Though he screwed up with Ella through no fault of his own, now he needs her more than ever. Not just for his family business but for his own sanity.
“She had greeted him with the same beautiful voice he heard in his dreams, the voice that pulled him out of his worst nightmares.”
The romance is very slow to start though the chemistry is apparent from their first meeting. The sparks and snark fly with abandonment. Ella doesn’t trust easily and she resists all of Rafe’s attempts to make this attraction more than a simple fling. Rafe wasn’t prepared for the strength of his attraction to her and has his own problems that are playing heavily with his life though he knows deep down she is the woman for him. And he’s not afraid to push her into admitting it.
“How dare you accuse me of inventing an excuse not to get married. If I didn’t want to get married, I would just come straight out and say I didn’t want to get married. Have I ever said that? Have I?”
“Well, now that I think about it, maybe not in so many words. However-”
One aspect of all Castle’s writing that is most appealing to me is the strength of her relationships. Though overly protective and pushy at times, her heroes aren’t jerks. Castle matches them expertly with strong women who can more than hold their own in any situation; providing some humorous scenes. The sex is satisfying towards solidifying the attraction and romance though not overly explicit.
The ending is climatic and action packed resolution of the main conflict. Some plot threads are left open as the arc continues to grow and solidify. Castle continues to expand and evolve her world and draws on an engaging cast of characters to make it come further alive for her readers.
Castle’s Siren’s Call definitely called to me in more ways than one. Though it contains a formulaic base and the usual assorted mass of heroes and villains, the romantic escapism it offers will to appeal to new and old fans of this series.