Miscellaneous Mondays: My Favorite Indie Authors 2/5 – Ksenia Anske

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Here’s the story of how I met Ksenia Anske….

Remember last week when I told you how I met Hugh Howey? The story of how I met Ksenia starts out the same way because… I met her at the Hugh Howey meetup! Part of the reason I love Ksenia so much as an author is because I love her as a person. If you met her in real life you would instantly fall in love with her too. She is dynamic and charming and loud. She gives out hugs and tells you that you can kiss her hand. She is playful and doesn’t take herself too seriously. She has the easy manner you might associate with a movie star and not a writer. She is the writer that writers wish to be and boy can she promote herself! I was charmed when I met her and I’m still charmed today because I follow her on Facebook and her blog. She has a way with talking to her readers and her fans and she’s so entertaining.

Not only is she a great personality and writer in person, but also in her books. Not all of her novels are glitter and roses (one of them has roses) because she has lived a life. She brings so much to the table as a writer through her books and the sometimes hard lessons learned through them. Irkadura and Siren Suicides deal with real issues and when I read them I took away something ddifferent a perspective on suicide and hard times I don’t always get from the normal YA and fantasy that I usually read. Life is not always fun and games, but it can be described beautifully by authors like Ksenia Anske.

Ksenia Anske is on my list of Indie stars to watch out for because she is a wonderful writer with an easy to read and compelling writing style, is so charming, brings up the real issues in her books, and has a great relationship with her readers through both her social media and in person presence.

I’ve read every novel of Ksenia’s and am ready and waiting for her new works, especially the manuscript she’s currently editing/working on: Corners.

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Here’s what Ksenia says and another reason I love her as an author: “I believe that art is not about protecting it from being stolen, it’s about giving it away and inspiring others to create more art. All of my books (and drafts) you can download for FREE on my site indefinitely. You can also buy signed paperbacks or digital/paper copies on sites like Amazon. If you think my writing is worth your money and you want to support me, please buy my books or donate. It’s a pay-what-you-want idea. Any amount spells to me your love. It will enable me to give you more love in return, to write more books for you to read and share. XOXO.”

I’m so glad Ksenia is local and I’m able to see her now and then at events like her book reading and the Gifts for Geeks at the AFK Tavern.

Check back next Monday for the week’s Indie Author Rising Star 3/5

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Book Review: The Siren Suicides Series by Ksenia Anske

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Book Review: The Siren Suicides Series by Ksenia Anske

I Chose to Die (Siren Suicides) (Volume 1)

My Sisters in Death (Siren Suicides) (Volume 2)

The Afterlife (Siren Suicides) (Volume 3)

A YA Fiction Series published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (8/5/13)

 

Summary:

It all starts with a death wish, hope for paternal love, and Ailen wanting to get revenge on her father for what he did to her and her mom. Ailen Bright was the daughter that was supposed to be a son. She was the woman who was a weak creature needing to be controlled lest she decide to charm off men’s pants and make them do stupid crap (according to her father).

Ailen turns into a Siren, the embodiment of an otherworldly thing that feeds off men’s souls, but she is not alone in this world. She was created by the Siren of Canosa and the three underling Sirens: Pisinoe, Ligeia, and Teles. They hunt for souls and are hunted themselves by Siren Hunters. Will Ailen learn to accept who she is? Will she be able to accept the life she jumped out of?

 

Keywords:

 Suicide, 16-year olds, abusive relationships, violence, Sirens, Otherworldly Creatures, Teen Issues, Regret, Love

 

My Review:

I hold a special place in my reader’s bookshelf for Ksenia Anske. I have read Rosehead and Irkadura and I know she is a special person and a special writer. The Siren Suicides was written as a three part book, as Ksenia pointed out at a live reading, because it was too long to be one book. The point being that a reader cannot simply read one book, but needs to read the entire series as if it is one lengthy novel. This review, then, is of the entire three-part series.

There were so many aspects of the Siren Suicides that I loved that it’s difficult to even start writing a review. I’m in awe of Anske’s talent as a writer. I always wanted a writer like Neil Gaiman, who would write something I wanted to read, something with the sympathies of a plot and characters on the verge of reality that could hold my attention, even while the author’s imagination is running wild. I have found that in Ksenia Anske. She is everything a reader could ask for, and I’m glad that she quit her day job to devote herself to writing.

Anske perfects a writing style devoted to beautiful phrases and well-crafted words that I cannot believe she didn’t grow up with English as a first language. I only wish that I didn’t read so fast so that I could savor the sounds and images Anske creates. This is a book well worth listening to as an audiobook if ever the author converted her novels into audiobooks.

“My saliva is acid syrup. My blood is concentrated seawater pumped through my veins by a dead heart. My power is my voice, and I’m using it—using it plenty. Eating my dinner, humans served live, their souls draped over the garnish of soulless siren. It’s supposed to satisfy me, but makes me hungrier still, as if it’s the last meal I’ll ever eat.” (Page 31 of book 2).

The concept of a Siren is not new, but the image and voice Ksenia gives to this creature is creative, a new spin on the vampire/werewolf genre with their incessant need to feed off of humans. Ksenia’s Sirens are not always the beautiful ethereal creatures that call to sailors from the depths of the ocean, they personify people and travel on land and water. They have powers of oneness with the water, not superpowers, but a true calling with the natural element. What baffles me about the Sirens is how they are not discovered by any other than the Siren Hunter(s) when they presumably have killed so many. Sirens feed on souls and Ksenia gives life to the very essence of a person using all her senses so that the reader is enveloped in a short truth of a person: their soul. No wonder sirens find them so tasty.

“I try to imagine the sound of his soul, to bring back that feeling of home—the clatter of food cooked on the stove, the clanking of dishes, the shuffling of feet in slippers on a wooden floor, laughter, the anticipation of a meal, birds chirping behind an open window, the buzzing of insects basking in rays of the morning sun. Vivaldi’s Summer, its violins.”  (Page 241 of book 3).

Ailen is not the perfect character. She bugs me at times throughout the books. She is moody and stubborn. In the first book I’m not even sure I can trust her feelings and I’m not sure she can think clearly about the world, but by the second book I’m believing everything she sees and feels. I want to sympathize with her so badly that I believe everything. When she gets upset at herself for her shortcomings and when she breaks her promises to herself, giving in to her weakness, I want to tell her that she is not perfect and that is alright. I want to give her the words she craves from her father. Anske has a knack for creating characters you want to comfort and protect.

Ailen Bright is such a strange troubled character that I held my breath as I wondered what she would do, what would happen to her next. At times I worried that Ksenia didn’t have a final purpose or point to the book, or even a good conclusion because Ailen doesn’t know what is going on or what will happen. We are left at the mercy of this poor sad teenager’s unending fantasy nightmare… Until the last chapter. Anske delivered the only logical conclusion to the story. I was disappointed because she tells us over and over throughout the series what will happen and when I’m given the end I can’t help but think it was coming all along, even though I wanted something else, something different. Even as an author myself, I couldn’t think of a better conclusion that I would have been satisfied with, it just isn’t possible. There is only one possible ending and I’m glad Anske delivered it, because any other ending would have been terrible.

The only major shortcoming was the length of the three novels combined, as they only work as parts of a whole.

On a final note, this series is based in Seattle and is entirely true to the environment of Seattle and the characteristics (including weather) one can find in this place and for that I love Anske.

I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys the imagination of Neil Gaiman, the seduction of a vampire book, anything else by Ksenia Anske, or a fantasy suicide novel.

This novel was published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform August 5th, 2013 and is available on Ksenia Anske’s Website here.

 

TLDR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

Ksenia Anske’s Website

Goodreads Profile