Grade: 3 stars out of 5
Authors Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman take the saying "those shoes are to die for" to a whole new level in their debut novel, Sirenz.
Meg and Shar are forced to live together meaning they must find a way to set aside their differences and be on friendly terms. It’ll be hard when they run into a melt-your-pants-off hot guy and an irresistible pair of red heels. Those claws will surely come out. Tragedy hits when said hot guy gets killed (mostly due to Meg and Shar’s fault) yet opportunity strikes when Hades offers the two girls the chance to redo what they’ve just done for the same price of their service. They’re stuck between the devil and the deep blue.In this dual POV novel, Sirenz takes an interesting adaption on Greek gods and goddesses. It defied what my original thought on such myths and personalities with its almost reality television like humor. Don’t think of Hades as a disgusting bastard, but a hot badass. Don’t think of Persephone as a victim, but a sexy cunning mastermind. And don’t think Shar and Meg will go willy-nilly with whatever Hades wants. They’re going to fight back, however crazy they may act.
With surprising twists and sensitive humor, Sirenz will hold the readers’ attention. Focusing on actions and consequences, Bennardo and Zaman tell a delectable, sometimes over the top, story. However, choppy at times and shallow in the other, Sirenz keeps me torn from loving it. I had difficulty relating to both Meg and Shar because they become too focus at the task at hand. Of course, if I was fighting for my life I would react the same way. The progression of Meg and Shar’s friendship was realistic and well done as the pacing was not too quick. I did find both girls strong on their own but can see how if the novel focused on just one, it would be tiresome and annoying in the end. Together they compliment each other.
Sirenz, while slow at times definitely picks up the fast for one of the most unique ending.
Source: authors for blog tour
Published: 2011, June 8
Interview with the authors:
Char: Both! It was harder because I work in manic bursts and I had to compromise on conflicts. It was easier because I have a built-in cheerleader, muse and nudge, and I only had to write half the book!
Nat: Writing is hard no matter how you slice it. Co-writing is different, and has its own challenges. Compromise and communication is key: you have to be able to see the other person's perspective on things, and you have to be able to work things out.
Was it planned ahead that one person would write one character and the other person would write another character? Or did the earlier drafts just have one continuous POV
Char/Nat: Sirenz started out with the two POVs, it just seemed to be a given. We tried a single POV for an agent who requested it, but it lost a lot of its humor and sparkle.
In your opinion, who is the "hottest" Greek/Roman god?
Char/Nat: Hades! Well, at least the way we portray him. As Lord of the Underworld, how could he be tempting and conniving if he wasn’t alluring? It’s a given that most of the gods in the two pantheons are physically beautiful so why should Hades be an exception, especially since he’s brother to Zeus and Poseidon (and the oldest!)?
Do you think a reality TV show starring Greek gods and goddess will be popular?
Char/Nat: Why not? If vampires, werewolves, monsters, aliens and zombies can do it, why not the gods? There’s not a single show with either Greek or Roman deities on air, and they’re a very popular theme in books right now. The last time we saw them was in the Xena and Hercules series. It's time to bring 'em back! Hollywood? We’re home, waiting by the phone…
Which punishment would you prefer: feathers all over your body or claws replacing your feet? I have to ask since you are giving up on one or the other when facing the punishments: little black dress or patent red heels as a must have item in the closet?
Char: Spare me the feathers! Not only am I too vain to give up sexy little black dresses, but I’m really allergic to feathers! I’d find some way to disguise my claw-footed feet…
Nat: I'd take the claw feet. I could do summertime boots and make them work. For me it would be little black dress(ES). I do multiples when it comes to black, much to Char's chagrin.
Are you guilty of buying an expensive piece of clothing for a special event and then returning it the following day?
Char: NEVER! If I buy something, I keep it! (Unless damaged.) I hate when people do that, like we can’t see the deodorant tracks, smell the sweat, or brush off the crumbs! Besides, it gives me an excuse to schedule another upscale outing…
Nat: I tend to be cheap with the clothes ($5 Vintage dress—yes!) and splurge on shoes and bags which I abuse the second I use them. FINAL SALE.
Since both Meg and Shar share a pair of lucky cat charms, I wanted to know if you guys own a pair as well?
Char/Nat: That particular scene from the book used to have a different lucky charm for the girls, but we had to change it because of copyright issues. Since we both have cats, Maneki Neko kitties seemed a natural fit—and they were easy to find. We both carry pink and black kitty charms—and we gave them out as swag too!
Have you ever worked as an intern and just hated it?
Char: No, never even thought about working as an intern (too stupid?) although I worked as a reporter/photographer for a small paper and made so little money I had to decide gas in the car or food for me. It was like being an unpaid intern.
Nat: Never had the pleasure. But I did have some “real” jobs that were less than stellar.
I was reading the acknowledgments page and wanted to ask Charlotte what she meant when she called Natalie a "straight man".
Char: I’m the jokester, prankster, tease. It’s a personal goal to make Nat blush, laugh, gasp, pee her pants or faint. Managed most of them.
Nat: Um, no. Maybe the blushing, I'll give her that. For the record, in a comedy team, the “straight man” delivers the more droll, serious lines, expressions, etc. This would make Char my “funny man.” I actually looked this up to make sure I got the definition right—and read that if a woman is the “funny man” she's called a “comic foil.” So many labels—go figure!
And finally the last question: what was the last book you finished? Would you recommend it?
Char: Frankenstein’s Monster by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe. It’s an adult book, so there are some moments that aren’t appropriate (imho) for YA readers. Susan has crafted a story from the monster’s perspective, staying true to Mary Shelley’s original style. It’s literary yet not stuffy and a reader can go seamlessly from Shelley to O’Keefe. I’d recommend it.
Nat: I'm reading and rereading Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I was lucky to snag an ARC when we were at BEA in May. Wowzers is it good. Sorry you have to wait till end September to get it though...