SPFBO: Our Bloody Pearl by D. N. Bryn

Series: These Treacherous Tides #1Rating: 6.1/10
Date of Publishing: July 26th 2018Genre: fantasy, steampunk, romance, LGBT
Publisher: Self-publishedAvailable: Amazon
Number of pages: 238Author’s website: D. N. Bryn

Blurb

The ocean is uncontrollable and dangerous. But to the sirens who swim the warm island waters, it’s a home more than worth protecting from the humans and their steam-propelled ships. Between their hypnotic voices and the strength of their powerful tails, sirens have little to fear. 

That is, until the ruthless pirate captain, Kian, creates a device to cancel out their songs. 

Perle was the first siren captured, and while all since have either been sold or killed, Kian still keeps them prisoner. Though their song is muted and their tail paralyzed, Perle’s hope for escape rekindles as another pirating vessel seizes Kian’s ship. This new captain seems different, with his brilliant smile and his promises that Kian will never again be Perle’s master. But he’s still a human, and a captor in his own way. The compassion he and his rag-tag human family show can’t be sincere… or can it? 

Soon it becomes clear that Kian will hunt Perle relentlessly, taking down any siren in her path. As the tides turn, Perle must decide whether to run from Kian forever, or ride the forming wave into battle, hoping their newfound human companions will fight with them.

 

SPFBO Note from Jen

My choice for semi-finalist came down between three books – Books & Bone by Victoria Corva, Our Bloody Pearl by D. N. Bryn and A Sea of Broken Glass by Sonya M. Black.  I scored these all around the same but each earned their score for different reasons.

This made it really hard to decide… do I go with the one that stole my heart, despite some issues? Or do I go with the one that was better all-around writing, pacing etc. but didn’t impact me as much emotionally? Or do I go for the one that was a blend of both of those things?

All three of these books have a good chance of making semi-finalist in our group, depending on what the other judges think, and all three deserve to get that spot (in my opinion of course).

After a lot of thinking, where I now know how the judges on The Voice feel (and let me tell you the agony of choosing from your favourites, is REAL) I decided to go with my heart.

My choice to put forth to our group for consideration of finalist is…. Our Bloody Pearl by D. N. Bryn!

Thank you to all the contenders in our group. You guys rock! It’s been a lot of fun discovering your books and I hope that we will see you in future competitions. And I’d especially like to thank the authors that made my decision tough as hell.

 

Jen’s Review – 7/10

Captain Kian has an edge, she has made a blocking device that keeps her crew safe from the Sirens’ songs, making it possible to hunt their waters successfully without fear. Too bad she’s such a tyrant.

Captain Dejean and his crew of pirates, board Kian’s ship intending to get their hands on that edge. But what Dejean finds instead is the captive siren, Perle.

***

I wasn’t sure about this one at first, some of the eating scenes at the beginning, hit my squick-o-meter hard, and I’ve never been much on interspecies relationships. Especially when the teeth are that sharp. But I have to admit I fell hard for this story.

There’s a beauty to this tale and to the writing. The story is quiet and lovely in its own way, with touches of humor and an underlying theme of healing and acceptance. The almost slice of life feeling gives it more of a Magical Realism slant than the Steampunk that the mechanical contraptions imply.

At times the atmosphere is thick with emotions and the absolute love and desiderium for the sea by Perle, made me want to follow the Sirens’ Song. I enjoyed this a lot. Especially when I didn’t think too hard on the mechanics of the things to do with POV, or how easily it was to overcome years of hatred of a species.

There were a few devices that I didn’t understand quite how they worked – Perle has lost the use of their tail and Murielle (I loved Murielle) has made them a brace of sorts, to help them swim – so this totally went beyond comprehension for me, but I also can’t swim, and that could be all you need to understand the mechanics behind it. I don’t know. But, I really didn’t care how it worked either – I just wanted Perle to have the Sea again.

There were times too, when I wondered why the author didn’t have a second POV for some of the events that were outside, or should have been outside of Perle’s view point. But I decided that the whole dynamic would have been a lot different and this worked for me because of the tone, and because of Perle being who they were. While I loved everyone else (except Kian, even though I felt sympathy for her at the end) it was Perle who sold the story and who grabbed my heart.

So, for me this is the kind of story that you let fill you with emotions and enjoy it for the beauty of what it is and don’t think too hard on the rest.

Other notes

*There is a love story here but not in the sense you’d expect, there is no sex or unbridled passion. I don’t think there was even a kiss. It’s two people (well, one man and one fish;  Perle would be so mad at me for calling them a fish) finding a place and family together, learning to see past the prejudices, the past hurts and their differences and to love those very things about one another.

 * This is also LGBQT friendly.

* Works well as a standalone, in fact, I was a little surprised to see it was a first book.

 

Belle’s review – 7.5/10

Hello I would like at least 12 more sassy siren books please. This was such a great read, with exactly the right balance of heart, humour and sass to keep me entertained the whole way through.

I am a sucker for characters that are grumpy on the outside and full of warm squishiness on the inside, and Perle delivered on both counts. Their voice really shone throughout the book, especially later on in the book as they came to term with some permanent changes to their body. The rest of the cast is also excellent, and I quickly fell in love with them just as much as I did Perle. Watching their various relationships develop was a delight, and I look forward to seeing them on many more adventures in the future.

The writing style was engaging throughout, with the faster pacing usually associated with YA, while easily appealing to an adult audience. I really liked the world building and how the information was shared as the plot unfolded. I never felt like there was too much happening to keep up with, or that I didn’t have enough information to know what was going on.

I loved that Perle, a creature that doesn’t have a binary gender, didn’t have binary pronouns right from the beginning, which is something that I’ve seen in far too many books. I also loved having an on-page ace romance (especially one that I am SO invested in). Various disabilities are handled sensitively throughout.

I also loved the cover – it is one of the best I’ve seen this year. Every time I look at it, I find a new detail to gush over (in formatting this post, I found a new one!)

This has been one of my favourites in our SPFBO group so far. It is a fun and adventure-filled, queer, found family delight and I highly recommend everone picks up a copy ASAP.

 

Timy’s review – 6.8/10

When it comes to Our Bloody Pearl, I think I’m somewhere between my fellow judges on the spectrum. I definitely liked that 29% that I got to read and would have read on if I had the time. I also see why it would appeal to many readers – the sirens in this world are nothing we got to know – and love – thanks to Disney. These creatures can hold their own, likes to eat organs, and in Perle’s case have a sharp tongue to boot. But as much as I liked to see how Dejean and Perle interact with each other, building trust slowly and realising that they might have misunderstood the other race, I couldn’t go by its issues. I think it could have used a bit more worldbuilding and more showing than telling. I, for one, would have liked to know Dejean before he got to know Perle and his personality started to change, just to actually see that change rather than be told about it. With its 238 pages, Our Bloody Pearl is a short book, so an added 50 pages or so would have improved it considerably. But I guess the main message here was acceptance and gettig over prejudices which in this age are powerful and important messages. I didn’t fall hard for Our Bloody Pearl myself, but I can recommend checking it out for sure!

 

Nick’s review – 3/10

This book had a few issues that caused me to abandon it. The first is that often there were moments of “telling” rather than “showing” and I don’t usually enjoy that method of storytelling.  I would much rather have to figure things out on my own than have my hand held with too much description. Things happened or were established and it was just expected that the reader should accept it without anything tangible leading up to those events.  Another reason why I did not finish this book was that it was just a bit on the juvenile side for my taste and dealt a lot with young love/relationships. I also felt that the dialogue got a little long-winded at times (getting back to the aforementioned tendency toward too much description). If you like mermaids and YA fiction, you might enjoy this book, but for me this was a pass unfortunately. 


Congrats to D. N. Bryn for being an SPFBO5 semi-finalist!

You can follow our progress and find everything we’ve done so far on my SPFBO page!

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