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Literature / Watersong

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Come now, weary traveler
I'll lead you through the waves.
Worry not, poor voyager,
For my voice is the way.
Lyrics to the Watersong

Watersong is a young adult Urban Fantasy series by Amanda Hocking.

Sisters Gemma and Harper Fisher live in the seaside town of Anthemusa bay. The two girls lead ordinary lives: Gemma competes on the school swim team, and Harper is preparing to go to college. But everything changes for them when three new girls come to town.

Penn, Lexi, and Thea are gorgeous and charismatic — supernaturally so. They aren't human, they're sirens from Greek Mythology — and they've come to transform Gemma into one of them, whether she likes it or not. Gemma and Harper must find a way to break the curse and restore Gemma's humanity before it's too late and she becomes a monster forever.

The series consists of Wake, Lullaby, Tidal, and Elegy.

Tropes in this series include:

  • The Ageless: The sirens do not age, remaining eternally young and beautiful.
  • The Alleged Car: Marcy owns a thirty-year-old Gremlin, which she calls "Lucinda". When she gets into a car chase in Elegy, Alex is surprised that the car is able to start at all, let alone keep up with the supernaturally fast sirens.
  • And Show It to You: This trope first shows up in Lullaby, when Lexi kills Sawyer by thrusting her arm through his chest and ripping his heart out, holding it for a moment before sliding her arm out and letting him fall. She then considers eating his heart, but decides that would take too much time when she has more important things to be doing. It occurs again in Tidal, when Penn kills Lexi in the same manner. Since sirens don't die until they both have their heart torn out and are decapitated, Penn lets Lexi take a good, long look at her heart before finishing her.
  • Anti-Villain: Thea is pretty much the only siren Gemma and company have any trust for. Over the few thousand years, the sirens have killed humans and ate their hearts in order to survive; since they only need to feed about four times a year, Thea tries to stick to that (rather than four times a month like her sisters— see Villainous Glutton), choosing only victims that the world wouldn't mourn too much over, and even then, she feels extremely guilty about it. When Gemma is turned into one of them, Thea even gives her advice on how she can keep her humanity while still being a monster. By the end of Tidal, she finally gives Gemma and Harper the scroll, so they could break the curse (still not telling them how to, however).
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Even after learning that sirens are real, Harper doesn't believe in ghosts or spirits.
  • Attempted Rape: In Lullaby, Gemma makes her first kill as a siren when a man tries to rape her.
    • Happens again in Tidal when Aiden tries to rape Gemma. Fortunately, Alex was there to save her before she could use her siren abilities.
  • Big Bad: Penn.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Daniel's really protective towards Gemma, particularly whenever the sirens are around.
  • Blatant Lies: Gemma and Harper's mother, Nathalie, suffered a traumatic brain injury that turned her into a compulsive liar. She is constantly telling blatantly obvious lies, and grows upset when they are pointed out.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: How the sirens are introduced in Wake. Lexi's blonde, Penn' brunette, and Thea's redhead. Lexi is replaced with Liv, who is also blonde, in Elegy.
  • Can't Live Without You: There must always be four sirens, and they must always remain close to one another. If one of the sirens spends more than a few weeks away from the others, or if a siren dies without being replaced by the next full moon, all will perish.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The sirens tell Gemma they view their curse like this, since they get to be eternally youthful and beautiful and spend their days doing the things they love most.
  • Disability Immunity: Daniel was in a boating accident which damaged his hearing. As a result, he is immune to the sirens' song.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Demeter created the siren curse to punish Persephone's handmaidens for neglecting their duty and failing to protect her from being raped and murdered by Hades. Even thousands of years later, with two of the original sirens dead, Demeter refuses to aid Gemma in lifting the curse in the name of continuing to punish the two remaining. She further states she doesn't care about the thousands upon thousands of mortals who have suffered and died at the hands of the sirens over the many years.
    Demeter: I don't care if she destroys the entire planet, as long as she's miserable.
    Harper: But you lost your daughter! You know how badly that hurts! And how many other people will have to lose their daughters because of something you created? I will have to lose my sister, my father his daughter, because of a vendetta that's thousands of years old? Hasn't there been enough bloodshed? Haven't enough people hurt and died for Persephone yet?
    Demeter: I understand your pain, but the horrible truth is that it will never be enough. No matter what hell Penn goes through, it will never bring my daughter back. So no, she hasn't suffered enough. She will never suffer enough.
  • Dying Smirk: In Elegy, Penn has a Slasher Smile when she's defeated and killed.
  • Exact Words: When Gemma asks Demeter about ways of breaking the siren curse and brings up killing Penn, Demeter states: "If you tried to kill Penn, then you wouldn't need to break the curse". Gemma takes this to mean that Demeter is endorsing killing Penn as a solution to her predicament. However, Lydia points out that Demeter's statement could also be interpreted as saying that if Gemma tried to kill Penn, she would lose and herself be killed.
  • Fangs Are Evil: Even in human form, the sirens' teeth are elongated into fangs, hinting at their carnivorous nature.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Penn is generally considered a boy's name.
  • Horror Hunger: After being transformed into a siren, Gemma beguns to hunger for human flesh. She manages to resist it for a time, but loses control when a man tries to rape her.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Gemma throws up when she learns that the "liquor" the sirens gave her was actually a mixture of human and siren blood.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Penn develops an obsessive love/lust for Daniel because he is immune to her siren song, making him the first person in millennia to actually stand up to her. She admits she wouldn't be nearly so interested if he fell under her spell and just mindless worshipped her like everyone else.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The sirens captivate men with their song, then kill them and eat their hearts. They require a minimum of four hearts per year to stay healthy, but eating more increases their powers.
  • Immortality: The goddess Demeter cursed the sirens with immortality, laying out only four conditions under which they could ever die: 1) Of starvation, if they fail to eat a human heart for more than a year; 2) Of separation, if one siren is apart from the others for more than a few weeks; 3) Of incompleteness, if there are fewer than four sirens at the time of the full moon; 4) Of murder, by having their heart torn out and then being decapitated. Other than by using one of these methods, the sirens absolutely cannot be killed.
  • Inhumanly Beautiful Race: The sirens' curse grants them supernatural beauty. They are so inhumanly beautiful that they come off as eerie and unnatural.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: In their true form, the sirens' mouths are filled with sharp teeth.
  • Mugging the Monster: A man attempts to rape Gemma, unaware that she has recently been transformed into a siren and is experiencing a Horror Hunger compulsion to kill someone and eat their heart.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In order to protect him from Penn and Lexi, Gemma uses her siren powers on Alex to make him hate her, which not only makes him resent her, but it makes him resent everything and everyone.
    • She tries this again on her mother to help her remember the memories she had with her husband, but it only makes her miserable with a bad headache.
  • No Immortal Inertia: When a curse which grants immortality is lifted, the formerly cursed individuals instantly advance to their natural age. This usually means instant death if they're over a hundred years old, so the thousand-year-old sirens aren't very eager to get their curse lifted.
  • Our Sirens Are Different: The sirens can captivate men with their voices, luring them to be eaten. Their voices also work on women, though not as well; it merely clouds their minds rather than fully captivating them.
  • Perky Goth: Lydia, who works at an old bookstore, knows about curses, and looks like a cute little pixie.
  • Psychic Link: In Lullaby, Gemma and Harper discover they have a psychic bond that lets them sense when the other is danger.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Good god, Lexi. She has the mind of a spoiled 5-year old when things don't go her way, and when harming others, she acts like it's only her "fooling around."
  • Really 700 Years Old: Two of the sirens, Penn and Thea, are truly ancient, having lived since the time of the Greek gods.
  • Sirens Are Mermaids: The sirens are a combination of the classical versions of mermaids and sirens. They have three different forms: On land, they're human. In seawater, they're half-human, half-fish. When they need to fly or (more importantly) feed on the mortal men they lure with their songs, they're bird-women. They have beautiful voices and appearances only in their first two forms; the third form is a case of One-Winged Angel.
  • Spooky Séance: Marcy convinces Harper and Alex to try holding a seance to ask the ghosts of the sirens' victims to tell them Gemma's location. She defies a lot of the normal tropes by holding it outside and during daytime, calling the others ignorant when they ask if it shouldn't be done around a table at night. The seance does manage to call some spirits which light a candle with blue flame and move some rocks, but they are unhelpful in determining Gemma's location.
  • Take That!: At one point, Penn tries make herself busy while waiting to pick up Thea from rehearsal. When she tries to open up a game Lexi downloaded onto her phone, it takes a while, and she decides that "launching poultry at pork" wasn't her idea of fun anyway.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Alex was a sweet boyfriend to Gemma who would do anything to save her. After Gemma brainwashes him into hating her, he's bitter and anti-social. This wears off, and at worst he has a Sugar-and-Ice Personality.
  • Villainous Gluttons: Penn and Lexi. Justified as the more hearts of their victims they eat, the more radiant their voices become.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Thea, having lived for thousands of years as a siren, has this opinion of humans.
    Thea: The longer you live, the more your perception of humans changes. They die all the time, over the simplest things. Life is very, very fleeting for them. The best they can hope for is a painless death, and we provide that for them.
  • Winged Humanoid: Sirens can partially transform to their bird shape, growing a pair of wings without undergoing any other changes. They are capable of flying while in this form.