The Siren Song
by Anne Ursu
Book Two of The Cronus Chronicles pits one small, freckly, redheaded girl against the Greek gods. Again.
Stubborn, strong-willed Charlotte Mielswetski has already been to the Underworld and back. She saved Hades from having his kingdom snatched from him by an evil immortal named Philonecron. She rescued countless English and American kids from a lifetime as vegetables, or worse, caused by Philonecron's scheme to create an army by stealing children's shadows. She saved her cousin Zachary (better known as Zee) from a lifetime as Philonecron's eternal puppet-slave. And, last but not least, she saved the entire human race from eternal torment. Not bad for a girl who didn't even believe in Greek myths. Her thanks for all this heroic saving? Being grounded for life, treated like a juvenile delinquent, and forced to undergo therapy.
Life is unfair, but at least Charlotte has Zee. He's the one person she can share her secret with, other than their former English teacher Mr. Metos, who has gone away on other business. They lean on each other more and more as they struggle to make sense of a world (and underworld) whose rules they alone know. But then, suddenly, Zee changes. He becomes like another person, morphing from a shy, well-mannered boy who gets tongue-tied around girls into a devil-may-care chick magnet. He dates, then dumps, Charlotte's best friend, treats her like a jerk, and says he doesn't care about Mr. Metos or the rest of it any more.
Feeling more alone than ever before, Charlotte agrees to join her parents on a history-themed cruise up the American east coast. Little does she know that the whole cruise has been set up so that the second most powerful god in the universe can extract his revenge. Poseidon the Earth-Shaker, god of the sea, hates Charlotte because she stood up to the gods (a real no-no for a mortal), and because her heroism thwarted the evil plans of his maimed but still evil grandson Philonecron. Poseidon's plan is to keep Charlotte's parents and all the other adults on the ship mesmerized until a giant sea monster comes along to eat them.
Meanwhile, Philonecron is moving forward with his own plans to take over the entire universe - beginning with Zee. Some of what Charlotte has been going through is connected with Philonecron's plan to bring Zee back under his power before she can do anything about it. But neither of these nasty immortals reckons on Charlotte having plans of her own. Guided by a cute boy whose father is a minor sea god, she sneaks on board Poseidon's luxury yacht and spoils his villainously divine party as only a tough-spirited, ticked-off, red-headed girl can do.
Anne Ursu's second juvenile fantasy novel is even better than the first. Jammed with wry humor guaranteed to work on a teen level - or on the level of anyone who has ever worked with teens - it brews an intoxicating adventure out of such everyday high-school ingredients as zits, crushes, Greek myths, gym teacher proverbs, parent-child conflicts, and pets. Then it jazzes them up with some exotic spices, such as a giant squid, an all-powerful weapon, a hypnotic lounge singer, and a shape-changing god who needs to spend more quality time with his kids. There are laughs, thrills, mysteries, or moments of suspense on nearly every page. I have good reason to expect the final book in the trilogy, titled The Immortal Fire, to be at least as good.
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 12+
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