A fantastic book
Siren Queen is an absolute ride of a book. I had to hold on tightly and there is not a single moment where I felt I could take respite.
The main character is never named but rather steals her sister’s name, Luli Wei, when she breaks into the movie industry. With the silent stars of Nickelodeon actresses becoming her night and day, Luli walks onto a local movie set, willing herself into the background as the story’s “exotic flavor,” a Chinese American child who the director uses how he sees fit. So begins, Luli’s climb to become a Hollywood star in the early days of cinema.
The tale is often metaphorical and dips heavily into magical realism which makes the twists and turns seem more horrific. All consuming fires, bloodthirsty hunts, predators and prey are all meant to signify the treacherous path to achieving the illusive glory. One misstep, one show of weakness and the world eats them alive.
In her own words, Luli is not the most beautiful girl on Hungarian Hill but she cuts off ties from her past and family to make the leap, a determined and desperate one-way ride. At times, Luli is hard to like but always a character that you respect. She is determined to break through the racism, the misogyny, and to fight the wolves to obtain her rightful place, to be a wielder of power rather than another forgotten castoff. If she is called out as a monster, then so be it.
I am in awe of how the author tells the tale. A fantastic book. An fyi, Luli loves women and many of the supporting characters are also LGBTQ.