2014 Reading Challenge: Erotica - The Resolution
Well, we've gone and done it. RT's Webmistress Elisa convinced her fellow web team members Elissa and DJ to read Tiffany Reisz's The Siren. You can read part one in our adventure here and part two here. How did the YA and romance fans fare? We go to the results (spoilers abound, consider yourself warned):
Elissa P: Well! My, my, my. I totally get why everyone has been so excited by Tiffany's books. Her prose is engaging, the sex scenes scorching. But, okay, here's the thing: I did not feel good when this book ended. When I read a romance or a YA, or even a mystery, for goodness sakes, there's closure and generally a nice dose of 'everything's going to be all right now.' Not so much here. Nora goes back to Søren, but she's certainly not happy about it, Wesley is heartbroken. Zach gets his woman, so that's nice, but Nora is inexplicably hurt by how he … used her, or something? And so I couldn't even be happy about them getting their HEA.
DJ: I agree, Elissa! I'm totally onboard the Tiffany Reisz Fan Train. Her writing exceeded my expectations and I was amazed by how addicted I was to the story and especially the characters. The ending left me feeling rather cold, too, and I wanted more rainbows and sunshine and unicorns. Then again, this series doesn't strike me as a bright and shiny one, so while I was a bit "meh" on the end, it felt right for the story itself. That said, I hated that Nora goes back to Søren. It made me like her less.
Elisa V: Oops, did I forget to mention this is erotic fiction and not erotic romance? My bad, guys. The ending is kind of brutal. The Siren is definitely a stick while The Angel is more of a carrot.
Elissa P: Well here's the thing, happy ending or no: Nora is rather unlikable. I mean, she knows it. Which saves the entire book for me. There are a lot of self-involved protagonists out there who blithely make everything about them (Carrie Bradshaw definitely comes to mind.) But Nora owns the fact that she's a bit of a user. Throughout the book she basically keeps three men on the hook (I mean, yes, the dynamic of her relationship with Søren is immensely layered (this is a family website, so I can't use the word I really mean here)), but she's still stringing him along a bit. Sending him awesome birthday presents. Calling him for help with one of the other men she's keeping on the line — Wesley. Showing up at Søren's club — when she full well knows he still wants her — with another guy. And don't even get me started on when she forgets her date with Wesley to sleep with Zach, and then she's hurt when Zach goes back to his wife, even though that was her plan all along? She's even stringing along her clients — she's momentarily hurt when Sheridan announces she's getting married, even though Nora keeps trying to quit the club and basically never takes any appointments. Nora! Stop using people!
Elisa V: Elissa, you just BLEW MY MIND. That goop on my computer screen? It's brains. I am such a Sex and the City freak and I've never thought to compare Carrie and Nora but I totally see it. Except I HATED Carrie and I love Nora. Nora is such a fantastic brat! I love her confidence! I love that she doesn't give a damn! Carrie was just whiney and so much more frustrating for me. Also, let's not even get into Aiden and Big vs. Wesley and Søren. Good lord, I'd be typing forever.
DJ: For me, what made Nora bearable and likeable for me was her voice. Her sass and bluntness was refreshing and hilarious, especially when she's with Zach, who's uptight and not as call-it-like-it-is as her. Nora's colorful voice also added another layer to character and almost made her seem like a sheep in wolf's clothing. Still, her compulsion to use and blame the men (and women) in her life prevented me from wholeheartedly loving her.
Speaking of which, I really did not understand Wesley and Nora's relationship at all. While I didn't like how Nora was stringing him along, I also wanted to shake him by the shoulders and tell him to move on. It felt like there wasn't enough backstory or foundation to make them a believable potential couple. Wesley, more or less, felt like a cheap foil for Nora. Still, I liked how he softened her edges and was such a stark contrast compared to Zach and Søren. And Søren just gave me the creeps, so I don't feel that bad for him.
Elisa V: I am definitely not a fan of Nora and Wesley, and I really dislike how she treats him throughout the series. It's pretty twisted. I also didn't understand why Wesley loves Nora so much (aside from her being awesome and wonderful and pretty much unattainable). However, everything is made right in The Mistress and Wesley gets the happiest of endings (no pun intended, I swear).
Elissa P: I mean, I must acknowledge, Nora has had quite the unconventional upbringing, and it's not like she can just go around acting like a normal, well-adjusted adult. First of all, what a boring book that would be. Secondly, it wouldn't be true to the character. But I still wanted her to be less jerky — guess that's why there are more books to go!
Elisa V: Nora has gone through some stuff, for sure. Just about everyone in this series except for maybe Wesley, really, is screwed up. The Angel and The Prince really get into Søren and Kingsley's issues and help flesh things out, in my opinion.
DJ: I'm rather excited to read the other books and get to know the other characters better. The Siren may not end with a HEA, but I think this actually helps because it made me even more curious and anxious to read the sequels out of hope that Nora will grow up and reach a happy ending.
And there you have it! Our first reading resolution, complete! Did you read along with us? Have a suggestion about what book we should try next? Sound off in the comments! For more genre news and views visit our Everything Erotica page.