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Book review: 'The Siren's Secret' is a fantastic fantasy for young adult readers

By Melissa DeMoux

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, June 8 2013 12:30 p.m. MDT

"THE SIREN'S SECRET: The Shapeshifter's Secret, Book 2," by Heather Ostler, Cedar Fort, $16.99, 320 pages (f) (ages 14 and up)

In a world of shapeshifting werecats and powerful water nymphs, things are not always as simple as they seem.

In her new book, “The Siren’s Secret,” Heather Ostler, a Utah resident of Highland, leads readers back to the magical world of Ossai.

As Julia returns to Lockham, an enchanted school dedicated to educating werecats and nymphs, she feels unsettled. Following a strange encounter with a siren, an untrusted group of women who haunt the magical world, Julia begins to notice strange changes in her life — especially when she is near water. Her dreams are also disconcerting and her perfect world begins to unravel.

Wrenched by strange forces that pull at her soul and tear her away from everything that matters most, Julia finds herself lost in unexplained mysteries and heartaches. Facing an island of devoted but bewitching sirens, a temperamental nymph queen, a truth ring, poisoned swords and a mother who doubles as her archenemy, Julia must fight determinedly just to survive.

When the people she loves lurch in to save her from agony, they too become entangled in torment and Julia is forced to take drastic action. With truths revealed and hearts broken Julia must come to terms with the person she deeply wishes to be so she can defeat the evil that yearns to destroy her.

“The Siren’s Secret” is an animated sequel to Ostler’s first book, “The Shapeshifter’s Secret.” The story strides forward decisively without feeling reckless and the characters are sincere and engaging.

Julia is the classic teenage girl — aside from the fact that she can transform into a tiger — so her emotions propel her toward choices that aren’t always wise. However, her desire to do what is best always sparks through her decisions.

The supporting cast is full of unique and loving friends and family, although most of them play a much smaller role than in the first story, leaving Julia’s connection with some of them feeling fragmented. However, the driving force of the story is powerful enough to carry it through and leave readers anxious for more.

This tale has a bit of everything, as romance, action, magic, adventure, mischief and friendships are scattered liberally through the pages.

The book is geared toward young adults and is a great choice for any young fantasy lover. Parents can be assured that the story is clean with no foul language, sexuality or graphic violence.

If you go ...

What: Heather Ostler book signing

When: Saturday, June 15, 6 p.m.

Where: Barnes and Noble, University Crossings Plaza, 330 E. 1300 South, Orem

Web: barnesandnoble.com

Melissa DeMoux is a stay-at-home mother of six young children who lives in West Valley City, Utah. Her email is mddemoux@gmail.com and she blogs about her adventures in motherhood at demouxfamily.blogspot.com.

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