I received an advance review copy of this audiobook for free from MacMillian Audio and NetGalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily as a courtesy.
Siren Queen is a dark, magical, and beautifully sapphic tale of Luli Wei, a young queer Chinese American woman who comes of age in the backdrop of film studios in fantastical pre-Code Hollywood. Luli is going to act but she refuses to compromise by playing a victim and instead becomes a monster in a world full of other monsters. Will she have to give up too much of her life to get what she wants and become the Siren Queen she desires to be? Is happiness to be found for Luli Wei?
Siren Queen is a brilliant novel. I was swept up by the gorgeous prose and masterful storytelling, and I was completely sucked in from the moment I started listening up to the very last word. The subtle elements of fantasy and magic are woven throughout so beautifully that you question what is real, and what is a myth. The story is rich in symbolism and a metaphor, drawing on folklore and mythology. Nghi Vo explores social issues of the times so expertly through a Chinese American perspective of the up close and personal racism, misogyny, and homophobia Luli Wei, and others like her, experienced in Hollywood. Magnificent, marvelous, superb, exceptional... take your pick, they all apply!
The narration was fabulous! Natalie Naudus does NOT disappoint! Her voice was as dark and magical as the story, with a sultry seductive quality that just made the words come alive. I am in awe at her skillful use of multiple quirky character voices!!! Naudus has fast become a new favorite narrator of mine and I will be checking out more of her work in the near future!
Reps of note: AAPI (Chinese American), LGBTQI, women
In the end, all I can say is that I adored this book. LOVED IT! I recommend anyone should give it a go -- especially the audiobook!