Holy crap, I want more!
Siren Queen is the story of Luli Wei, a star who stole her sister’s name to become famous and became the monster in many films, but also managed to find love and friendship outside the monstrous side of Hollywood.
There are elements of this that remind me of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, mainly the narration style and the old Hollywood setting. But do not go into Siren Queen expecting the same story or same kinds of characters. Luli grows in her monstrousness, because she refuses to be typecast as a maid or fainting violet just because she’s Chinese-American. The ways she stays true to herself, while also learning more about who she is and the impact of her actions and choices, this book is utterly compelling and unputdownable; I read it in a single sitting when I wasn’t expecting it to read so quickly.
I love Nghi Vo’s story telling, but after being slightly conflicted by The Chosen and the Beautiful, I was worried about going into Siren Queen, especially with the dreamy, otherworldly quality of the storytelling, but those fears were utterly unfounded. This is absolutely a complete story, but also I feel desperate for more of Luli’s story and her relationships and all the ways she claimed and thrived in her immortality.
Siren Queen is utterly fascinating and compelling, and the writing lends itself perfectly to a dreamy, otherworldly feeling, like everything is happening in a half-awake dream. I did not expect this to be so utterly compelling, and now I’m not sure how I’m going to move on from Luli’s story. If you like lightly paranormal (but still very central) messy sapphic stories, especially set in classic Hollywood and featuring that time’s magic and possibility, you absolutely need to be picking up Siren Queen!