If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I’ve been on a streak of really bad, or at most mediocre, books. I honestly started to wonder if this whole self-published endeavor wasn’t worth it; why spend hours each week reading crappy books. Luckily, I stumbled upon Blood Siren by Michael Formichelli, which was a refreshing breath of fresh air. Set thousands of years in the future, long after mankind had escaped the sol system and joined galactic politics, Blood Siren follows the interactions between Barons, the leaders of the Confederation. The Confederation is one of the main powers in the galaxy, and while mention is made of other groups, and the Confederation’s wars with them, they do not play a role in the story thus far.
Formichelli brings us into a world that is as fully fleshed out as any I have seen. There are a plethora of different aliens, which are all distinct from anything I’ve seen before, artificial beings, and humans modified so much by cybernetic enhancements that they are almost unrecognizable. One of my favorite aspects of the book is how Formichelli deals with the relationships between different species. One human who is in relationship with a Nyangari has to deal with the fact that his sense of smell can detect her pheromones, and thus knows her mood far more intimately than any other lover she’s experienced. Though this doesn’t play a part in the overall story, it does set up a rich world.
Through this rich world we travel with a cast of diverse characters: Two barons, one mired in self doubt and depression since his family was killed five years prior, the other dealing with the recent murder or suicide of his father and his own ascent to Baronship. A reporter who, in rather typical fashion, will do anything to get the story, but provides a unique perspective and a way for Formichelli to show a little of what life is like outside of the elites. An artificially created human who is filled with cybernetic enhancements, including an onboard computer with a distinct personality, and is ultimately beholden to an unknown AI. My favorite aspect is that all of these characters are flawed in their own ways, yet remain likeable and compelling. It is easy to become attached.
Blood Siren is a complex work, and requires the reader’s full attention. It even includes a tree of the complex bloodlines within the Baronies; very helpful while trying to untangle the complex relationships within. It has everything I could ask for, political intrigue, action, mystery, and even romance. It is the first book in a series, and while little is concluded in it’s pages it didn’t leave me feeling that it was unfinished. There were enough plot points resolved, or at least transitioned into different phases that I left satisfied. And honestly, with a story as complex as Blood Siren’s it would be too much to ask it to be wrapped up in one volume. I am anxiously awaiting the sequel to what was my favorite book so far in my self-published challenge.