Read from May 20 to 22, 2013
Author: Amanda Hocking
The majority of the story is based in the small, tourist-attracted town of Maryland, on the island of Capri.
As the book follows the points of view of the two main characters, Gemma and her sister Harper (while still in third person), the first half of the story is also set in a secluded, pristine house that backs onto the sea where Gemma is forced to reside.
Although the island of Capri is a fictional place, the place that Gemma lives in for the first half of the book is located in Myrtle Beach – which is a very real place in South Carolina, America.
Despite Capri not being a real place, the way Hocking describes it, you could believe that it was.
‘Lullaby’ is of the supernatural genre. This is because the main issues the characters have to deal with are supernatural.
For example, Gemma being changed into a siren and all but being kidnapped by Penn, Lexi and Thea, who are the other sirens who changed her.
There are many key themes throughout the novel and are listed below.
Darkness and light
There is a strong sense of darkness and light all through the series with Penn, Thea & Lexi vs Harper, Alex, Daniel & Gemma.
Desire to escape
Gemma had a strong desire to escape all through the time she was with the sirens. However, she felt she couldn’t as if she did they knew they would come after not only her, but those she loved too as a “punishment”.
Harper and Gemma have a strong bond as sisters and would do anything to keep the other safe.
The sirens are immortal unless a siren kills another siren or they are separated for to long.
Gemma felt isolated when she was forced to live with the sirens.
Harper and Alex were losing hope when after a week of constant searching and doing all they could no news came up about Gemma. (It was Daniel who found the clue that lead them to her).
Love and Sacrifice
There is a strong sense of love and sacrifice with all of the main characters (save Penn, Lexi & Thea) having a strong bond and willing to make sacrifices for the others. A brilliant example of this is when, at the end of the book, Gemma enchants Alex into believing he doesn’t love her anymore so as to keep him safe – even though it broke her heart to do it.
Along with her sister Harper, Gemma is the protagonist in the story. She is strong, clever and always puts the needs of people she cares about before her own – even if it seemed they didn’t agree. She is about 16.
Harper is Gemma’s older sister. However, a number of years ago their mum was in an accident and has permanent brain damage – Harper then assumed the role of the mother in the house and is rather over protective because of it. She is pure of heart and always tries to protect the ones she cares about by any and all means necessary.
Once the summer is over she is going to college on a scholarship.
Daniel never went to college and is a few years older than Harper. He lives on a boat and that’s how Harper got to know him as her father works at the docks and often forgets his lunch (though Harper’s dad offers him cheep rent for an empty house that was left to him at the end of the book). He likes Harper a lot and helps to find Gemma because he knows how much she means to her.
Alex is Harper’s childhood friend and Gemma’s boyfriend. He is very much in love with her and is dedicated to finding her when she is forced to reside with the other three sirens as well as trying to find a way to break the curse.
Penn is a very vindictive character – indeed, one might even argue that she was a “monster”. She uses her siren powers of misconception and her radiant beauty (something that comes with the siren’s curse) to lure in those of the opposite sex and use them as a way of furthering her own needs.
Penn “feeds” more than she needs to (as part of their curse, they must feed on hearts of males at least twice a year) and is the leader of the sirens. She is also very possessive and like to usually tends to “play” with boys before she consumes their hearts.
Thea is the kindest of the three sirens who turned Gemma and is the only one that only feeds twice a year – and only murderers, rapists, etc. In ‘Lullaby’ it becomes clear that she is more humane than Penn and Lexi.
Lexi is the third siren. She has the most beautiful voice out of the four (including Gemma) and uses it to her advantage – she can even manipulate those of the female sex.
Now that Gemma has inherited the curse of the sirens, she has no choice but to go with Penn, Lexi and Thea – even though she wouldn’t trust them with her life.
However, the curse plages her with incredibly dark hungers and new powers – to those of which she is determined to resist. She can’t hold out forever though…
Back in Capri, Harper and Alex are determined to find Gemma and unwittingly enlist the help of Daniel, someone Harper is determined to avoid as he tests her walls like never before.
Can they find Gemma before it’s too late? And if they do, will she still have her humanity?
Purpose and audience
Lullaby is aimed at the audience of teenagers/young adult because of the age of the characters and the overall way the book is written.
The purpose of ‘Lullaby’ is to convey that no matter what happens, there will always be hope, that family can make you stronger and that, sometimes, sacrifices need to be made.
I loved the originality of the story and the depth of the characters. Sirens are not commonly focused on and when they are they are either absolutely hideous bird-monsters or beautiful mermaids that can transform into human girls with evil intentions – they both, however, have a beautiful song that lures those of the male sex in. Hocking puts all of that together into an amazing love story of right and wrong, family, hope and lifelong bonds.
There was not much that I disliked in ‘Lullaby’ – save for the fact that it had to end… But really, to me the novel was 5 star quality and I couldn’t have imagined it better.