Review: Siren Song || Kayalicia

Webnovel Story. Genre(s): Romance Fiction — # of Chapters: 161

TQ 3   PD 3   CF 2   ||   RL 3   CL 3 — Overall: 14

 

Important Note:  There is a big difference between a webnovel–a story of the internet and mobile world–and a published book. Besides straightforward editing, published stories are constantly polished to be more engaging, meaningful, and clear. So a successful webnovel doesn’t equate to the same caliber of a published novel. This is due in part to an online writer typically being a one man/woman show. Thus, reviews will be given as if regarding whether this could be a published print or e-book.

 

All 161 chapters were covered in this review.

 

Writing and Style:

You have a certain style to your writing and employ a nice range of vocabulary.

Settings and Flow of Scenes – Overall, this is very well done. You have vivid descriptions and the scene transitions are fluid for the most part.

Characters:

Great visual descriptions for all of them.

Chang – The throwing of herself into the dumpster is a great hook into her character as it shows some quirkiness and ability to disregard appearances for the sake of her plans. At times she feels too mellow for a character; mellow meaning nothing particularly stands out about her yet nothing necessarily negative either. Other times, she’s rather funny in her actions, almost like a child. These all aren’t bad things, and while this female lead is above average to the many of which are poorly created and developed, Chang has so much more potential to even be better. Currently, she’s a very well made cookie cutter female lead in a romance story.

Chapter 72, the story about her father is nice, but it isn’t very necessary to the story in terms of giving any more insight to her character nor for introducing a character which is dead. Deceased characters can certainly spur development of characters and plot, but this one didn’t. It’s a nice Segway into Jian’s return, but this could be accomplished in other ways which more relevantly tie into future developments.

We see a little more personality in her attempt to escape in chapter 101. It links back to the character she showed when she dumped herself in the dumpster—determination.

Jian – He comes off as the typical mysterious, attractive, and possessive male lead. It does seem a little odd that he would get this obsessively attached after being married for one month with Chang. He becomes more charming as the story progresses as he tries his best to make her trust him.

Justin – Initially, his character comes off as a best guy friend, flirty but nice—I’m sorry if it wasn’t your intention, but he’s almost reminiscent of how a gay best friend would be. There’s nothing wrong with this, and while not everyone would get that inkling, I thought I should point this out anyway. Later on, my feelings were asserted by his behavior toward Jian, so good job distinguishing his character!

After the first few dozen chapters, he’s forgotten until Chapter 150. This isn’t…the best thing to do with semi-important/fleshed out side characters.

Li Hua and Jid – Done well, but nothing in particular which really distinguishes them as very memorable or unique to their roles characters. Jid’s role heavily lacked after instilling the idea that he would significantly help Jian be with Chang.

Plot Developments:

While background information is missing in the beginning so as to clarify questions on why she’s running away from a man who loves her and she loved him, the rest of their relationship moves a nice pace. It teases the readers a little, but it doesn’t rush directly into a physical relationship which is good. To add more to the believability, explaining how they originally got together and better reasons for Chang’s refusal could be given in the beginning. Otherwise, this questions persist and make one doubt and wonder why.

Lia Hua’s hiding of her health isn’t explained either. Why does she hide it? Why does Jian know? What is Chang ok with Jian helping and not surprised or more upset at the whole situation? Also, why hasn’t Chang seen her or corresponded with her mother in so long? It’s explained somewhat in chapter 41, but overall, it’s not sufficient enough to clearly connect the dots. At this point, the readers still have to conjecture. For example, Chang maybe hadn’t seen her mother not only because she thought she was healthy, but also because she was possibly hiding from Jian. This or the actual reasons weren’t completely clarified.

Chapter 92 does a nice little summary of events inside Chang’s thoughts. It’s very reflective of the actual story events, and so, looking at this alone, the story really lacks any original or actual tension. Like Chang’s character, this is just a very well done cookie cutter romance story with a supportive grandpa, viciously unsupportive father, CEO position at stake kind of story dilemma. The same goes for Li Hua whose medical difficulties haven’t contributed to the plot in any major ways.

Chapter 130, this probably sounds brutal, but the flashback to Li Hua and her husband wasn’t necessary to the story. It’s all very sweet, but considering how little of Li Hua we actually got to know and the minimal interactions between her and Chang, if the events of this chapter were to be included, much more build-up is necessary to achieve story cohesion and emotional believability and impact.

Overall:

Quick notes – Chapter 137 could’ve been more intense with proper build up. Chapter 160-161 is somewhat confusing and inconsistent. 

This is a very well written story. However, it still has areas to improve; most notably, the cohesion and fluidity of the overarching plot. It still is strange that Chang runs away both at the beginning and at the end. While she gives somewhat of a reasonable excuse to leave at the end, it’s inconsistent with the previous deep emotions and display of not caring how she looks in the relationship and her personality. Both with her and Jian, sometimes it feels like their love is heightened in parts and dwindled in others purposefully for the sake of the story in tying them together to then having them separate. Because of this inconsistency, the relationship suffers from not only believability, but genuineness. Outside of their relationship, other feelings conveyed by the main characters to others are also lacking. For example, Chang with Li Hua.

The subplot of Li Hua’s medical troubles felt distant from the main plot. The evilness of Jian’s father seemed unfounded in that it wasn’t deeply established as to why he so wants his son to marry a woman of his choosing. This whole situation is dependent and comes straight from the typical CEO-father cliche. It’s a very expected kind of romance story hurdle.

Additionally, the long duration the leads are apart seems to drag. All the events that Chang undergoes while waiting for Jian seems like filler. It moves the plot very little. It also doesn’t make sense, or at least it wasn’t explained why it couldn’t work, that the two could be together while Jian amasses enough shares to overpower his father.

In short, this could very well be one of the best pure romance stories yet on Webnovel, but it’s lacking something fundamentally sound and new to reach that peak. Inconsistencies and unnecessary details are scattered in the story when occurrences and details should all contribute to the forwarding and deepening of the plot. Chapter by chapter it may seem fine. But looking at the big picture, it’s like a dotted path which diverts and branches off and those branches disappear to reappear again (with side characters mostly). The path should be solid and the branches should properly connect and loop back to the main plot.

However, what this story has going for itself besides quality writing is multi-ethnic characters, French and Arabic, and not just Chinese. The integration of cultural aspects, mostly the Arabic side, adds flavor and uniqueness to the story. Also, the love or tender scenes are very well done. If the emotion displayed in their sweet moments were carried out through their ordinary actions, the relationship would be essentially perfect. By organizing side characters and their events better as well as adding fresh substance to their personality and expected roles, then character development would be essentially perfect. All in all, the elements are there, it just needs to be refined and refocused with some trimming and fleshing out. This story is so close to being there, but still, a job very well done.

 

Notice: Based on clearer/more focused expectations in assessments, this story’s points in PD and RL have increased by one from a total score of 12 to 14.

TQ –> A 3 before meant almost perfect to around less than 1 error per every few paragraphs. Because “correct” stories can still have minor errors due to lack of proper outside/professional proofreading, this expectation is more lenient to infrequent, common minor punctuational and spelling errors. Originally, before the mass reassessments due to the library overhaul, the score was increased by one in TQ from a total of 11 to 12.

PD –> If the events can be flowed without confusion (disregarding deep analysis but just as a normal reader) and settings are established well along with other description and detail, then a 3 is possible. Before, a 3 also included originality into the analysis, making 3 very difficult to obtain.

RL –> If varied sentence construction is used, and not just simple or compound sentences, along with frequent and varied vocabulary, then a 3 is likely. A 2 typically means a story is missing one of these factors.

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