As a kid, I was enamored with mermaids and all things underwater fantasy. So, as soon as I saw this beautiful cover, I was immediately drawn to this novel. It’s shorter than most books I read, but that didn’t mean it lacked any of the detail I usually find in longer novels.
A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow is a tale of two best friends (and basically sisters), Tavia and Effie, who struggle with both typical high school drama and siren related drama. There is a whimsical blend of mythos and reality that I really enjoyed, especially sense it brought up mythical creatures that I don’t think I have seen often in past books that I have read. Usually I get a little bored when a character goes on constant thought spirals in between dialogue, but every spiral had something insightful to add to the narrative, so I thoroughly enjoyed those bits.
Warning: The rest of this review may contain spoilers…
Here is a little bit about the book:
Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.
But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.
Here is what I loved most about this book: The magic and the self acceptance. Magic is something interwoven with modern society in this novel, and I absolutely love it.
A Modern Twist on Mythos
First of all, that gargoyle? Amazing. There are some wonderful twists that involve this stone character, and I highly recommend reading this novel if you’re wondering about what exactly those twists are. (Minor spoiler: The gargoyle isn’t who you think they are…)
Next on the mythos list, the siren. Sirens are hated and feared, which makes it hard for Tavia to truly be herself. A sirens voice holds power, and the people are afraid of it. It is seen as an excuse to paint a victim of murder as a villain despite the lack of evidence. This is part of the main conflict that Tavia faces because after her favorite social media influencer comes out to announce that they are a siren, which furthers the tension between Tavia and her father.
Lastly, there is the true form of Effie. I won’t spoil that because it was so much fun to see the little clues throughout the novel, which elude to the big twist at the end. The big reveal is one of my favorite parts of this novel and it definitely tops the cute dialogue between Tavia and the gargoyle.
There isn’t much for me to say about this particular part, except that I adore seeing these two girls grow throughout the novel. The ending is honestly just the beginning of the sisters’ story, and I think that is the perfect way to end it.
Here is my rating: