Initial reaction: Some say bad verse begets bad verse, that lyrical cheese begets lyrical cheese. No two people are going to think the same way of a piece of music or poetry, but one would think that to pen lyrics and verse in a work, there’s an art to being able to let the words carry themselves and to do so in strict moderation – otherwise, you run the risk of sounding insincere, puerile, or downright silly. “Silent Echo” felt like a bad musical with people randomly bursting out into song every five minutes with very little to no emotional resonance.
I don’t think a love for music could’ve saved Elisa Freilich’s “Silent Echo” – the technique in the verse was just…wrong on so many levels. I think I knew by a certain point that the approach to the verse here was little more than angsty random passages that had little to no flow to them. And the emotion was overwrought and overexpanded in each piece.
But that’s not even the only problem with this work because looking at the characterizations, situations, and development – what could’ve been a promising work was formulaic, problematic, and a complete fail as far as a work based on mythology was concerned.
I hate to say it, but I don’t think I’ve read a book that made me loathe verse in YA fiction as much as this one. Ye Gods (literally), this was bad.
Author’s Note: I had three renditions of songs for Silent Echo: A Siren’s Tale, and this was the one that ended up winning out. All I have to say is that I’ve watched too much Dr. Horrible Sing Along Blog. Those of you who know it probably know the tune “A Man’s Gotta Do What A Man’s Gotta Do,” so this is written in the same progression. I had way too much fun with this one.
I’ll add notes to this as I’m going along, and put the end notes at the end of the verse.
Need to Sing (featuring the cast of “Silent Echo: A Siren’s Tale”)
I needed to sing more than I’ve ever needed to sing,
Never knowing all the chaos it would bring.
All I ever wanted was to have a voice,
But baby, I was born this way, not like I had much choice…*
Thank you, Siren girl, you have saved my life!
And saved my mother too, from ever present strife.
Yes, my father was so horrible, from his constant abuse,
Never mind you tried to kill him by song, you’re a hero and a muse…
I don’t need to sing more than I wanted to do,
These feelings I have are hard to follow through.
I have horrible dreams every night of trying to seduce,
And bathing in my lover’s blood, it leaves me so confused.
Don’t worry, Siren girl, I am here for you
We’ll keep the evil back, ’cause I’m a Siren too,
Yes the Siren’s call is complex, it’s an ever present curse,
Come to me when you need help…I am your school nurse.
Portia: (aside) And a goddess too!
Leucosia: (aside) No dear, sirens aren’t goddesses. That’s Athena’s duty.**
I need to sing more than I’ve ever needed to sing,
There’s a girl that means more to me than everything,
She’s the beacon in the dark that makes all around me bright,
Never mind that it seems….she wants to take my life.***
This is so unfair, she’s my best friend,
These feelings I have for Portia are hard to comprehend,
I can’t hear her sing cause I’m deaf, I feel I don’t belong,
But I know in my heart of hearts – something with her is wrong.
Evil Portia: *evil laughter*
I need to sing with all this power at my hand!
All the men in the way are here at my command.
Soon I’ll kill you Max, but be the best lover you ever had,
Soon you’ll go crazy too, like your dear old Dad…
What is wrong with you, you are just insane,
Not the nice girl that used to call my name,
Portia, stop with this, who are all these people around?
Why can’t I move, with your lovely sound?
I need to speak more than I’ve ever needed to speak.
Used to think that not hearing her made me something weak.
But since I’m immune to Portia’s lovely song,
I’m the only one who can save her now, but my memory burns along…
This is all my fault, I was supposed to help you through,
But even as its over now, there’s more strife to rue
I was responsible for a horrible thing, makes me want to hurl.
I should take my life, goodbye my lovely girl…
I don’t have to sing now more than I need to sing,
I have my Max with me, though he doesn’t remember a thing,
I’ll cut my losses and take what I can get,
But seriously…what the heck is wrong with Charlotte?****
Charlotte: *grins mischievously*
* Portia was born mute, a perfect, precious child every way except for the fact that she couldn’t speak. Seriously, the way the birth was portrayed had to be the most “special snowflake” fairy tale-esque version of a birth I’d ever seen in this genre. Oy vey.
** The book incorrectly attributes the role of sirens as something of goddesses despite there being VERY loose mythological ties in this story. Though…I would say the mythological passages came in massive infodumps and I was bored trying to weed through those. It’s a shame because I actually love Greek/Roman Mythology. 😦
*** Max is a singer who *tries* to serenade Portia at every chance he can get (but then again, everyone bursts into song in this book – a RAPPING Siren, a beatboxing tune from Portia…it just gets overwrought and ridiculous). But he actually doesn’t know that Portia wants to kill him. He’s left in the dark for a good portion of the novel, though he figures something’s wrong when Portia becomes uber moody, even to the point of digging her claws in his hand and hurting him. @_@
**** It seriously has something of an odd ending to the entire book in the epilogue. I could spoil it, but it’s seriously not even worth mentioning because it felt like it was supposed to be suspenseful, but it really wasn’t.
Overall rating: 0.5/5 stars
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Diversion Books.