For those of you who aren't familiar with the Tales of Skylge series, it's a dystopian fantasy series set on an island in which Sirens (merfolk) regularly pull haplessly enchanted island people towards the sea with their eerie music, where they tear them apart and consume their life force.
Light of Lorelei continues the island's story from the first novel, Sound of Sirens (see review).
Aska is an orphan who is doomed to serve in a convent for the rest of her life because she is the offspring of a taboo relationship between Skylger and Current/Anglian individuals. The aftermath of a vicious siren attack on the convent leads Aska to find the truth behind the Sirens and the ruling class (Currents) of the island.
St. Brendan's Fire has always been used to repel the Sirens, or so Aska was taught. However, the Sirens' reaction from the use of St. Brendan's Fire leads her to doubt its true purpose...
Aska has to decide whether to help the Skylger rebels conduct their research of the mysterious tower of St. Brendan's Fire. She meets a mysterious and handsome fisherman who starts turning up in places she goes. She also meets two young people who ask her to help them find the truth about St. Brendan's Fire.
I came into the novel a bit confused, leaping from Enna and Royce's dramatic ending in Sound of Sirens into Aska's life in the convent. I also thought Aska might have been the daughter of Enna and Royce, except Aska's father was a Skylger. However, this was settled later in the novel.
The convent shows a different side of the island of Skylge, which I really enjoyed seeing. Because Aska's job at the convent is to serve the community and protect it from the siren's songs (by using the church's own hymns), Aska is able to see the island's events in a larger perspective. Because of her life as an outcast, Aska is a bit resentful, even if she is somewhat resigned to her station in life.
She escapes from convent life by sneaking out to take evening walks, during which she meets Tjalling, a mysterious fisherman...who starts popping up wherever she goes. I was afraid Aska's relationship with Tjalling would be too similar to Enna-Royce, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Actually, this novel surprised me many times.
There are so many twists and mind-boggling revelations in Light of Lorelei. I'd start thinking the story would go a certain way, and then--nope!--it'd head right into another direction, each time deepening my understanding of who the Sirens are and what their relationship to Skylge is. I really loved finding out about the Sirens and the truths behind the way things were on the island, particularly how the Currents have maintained their power over the Skylgers for so long. And Aska's true identity.
I wish I could reveal more but that'd be spoiling too much. Let's just say that this novel strikes a delicious balance between revealing the magical secrets of Skylge, the further development of the characters, and the fate of the Skylger-Anglian co-existence.