Book Review: Call of the Syrensea (Serpentine Throne #2) (ARC)

Published May 17th 2021

Author: Susan Stradiotto

A witch. Small Folk. The casteless.

After abdicating the Serpentine Throne, Mairynne flees from Arashi in search of her father. Gensui Thalaj Northerngale, her only companion and protector, travels at her side. The forest provides cover, but for how long? Her sisters and the council will be searching.

Through the Yubar Forest, across the Central Grasslands, into trading towns, and beyond, the journey winds through Nantai. And for the first time, Mairynne faces the hardships of those who do not belong to the elite caste. The stones she wears draw her onward, the people she meets guide her forward, and the witch reveals a prophecy. She makes unlikely friends, encounters formidable foes, and learns.

But someone or something follows.

Her search leads her to the City by the Sea, demands she leave Nantai’s shores, and guides her toward Syrensea into the true unknown. Another step and another still . . . Mairynne seeks something far more important than duty. Family. But will the price be too high?

Call of the Syrensea is the second novel in the Serpentine Throne series. It continues soon after Call of the Storm Sorcerer ends and the readers are off on an adventure in search of the main character’s father. There are some pieces of information introduced that were missing from the first novel and likewise there are ones seemingly missing from this one. To me, this series is reading like a puzzle where you get each section taken care of during each story, but you will not fully understand the big picture unless you put all of the novels together.

Mairynne Evangale, the Konō of the realm of Nantai has begun her quest to find her father, who she believes is not dead, as the stories told, but is alive and must return to rightfully rule. Her sisters and aunt have stayed behind to rule in her place until her and their father return. On their journey, Mairynne is simply Mairy in some situations where it is deemed necessary to hide her identity and the Konō in situations where she needs to be herself. As a Storm Sorcerer, this story lets her character display more of her power, but there are still some questions about it to the reader. I understood the power itself, but I do not fully understand the background for the power or a lot of the detail aside from the descriptions of it in use.

Thalaj, the first guard, is along for the ride as Mairynne’s protector. There is some background about his character, but there is still a lot to be revealed for his inner workings. The feelings that he has for Mairynne and the ones she has for him are present, but they are not really explored in this story. They are hinted at, but there is not much difference in their relationship between the first story and this one. There are a lot of hints about some possibilities for their future, so most likely it is going to slowly be revealed over time.

This story has the characters traveling from the palace through the Yubar Forest to the City by the Sea, which is located on the Syrensea. Along the way, the two characters encounter enemies, old friends, and new friends that will either help or hinder their journey. There is even a dragon! The dragons were thought to be extinct, so it is a shock to the main characters when one appears. Now, there is a new mystery as the dragon’s partner is a mystery (a connection to the prologue of the first novel with the bonded human and dragon).Similar to other sections, it seems the dragon will be a more prominent feature in the next novel, especially considering it is titled Call of the Ryu Dragon, so it will be interesting to see how that storyline plays out.

Overall, this story moved faster than the first as there is more action and adventure. The terminology still is a little daunting to me as there are a lot of characters and place names all presented, so it took me a little longer to keep track of everything compared to other novels of a similar length. One thing that I wished this story had were some minor recaps when plots/characters from the first were presented, especially the Cloud Court, as I feel there were bits in the first novel mentioned that would create a more well-rounded understanding when some events took place in this novel. As this series takes place over multiple novels, I am curious about how everything will turn out and how it all comes together in the end.

**I want to give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Bronzewood Books, for a review copy of this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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