Who is Ksenia Anske? She’s the author of the Siren Suicides trilogy. I was introduced to a fascinating character, Ailen Bright, when the series was in development. I met Ksenia, a dear friend, on Twitter and when I asked about Siren Suicides, she directed me to her YouTube channel, where she read the first early chapters. I was completely glued. This was back in late 2012. But it has taken me this long, because I myself had been developing and writing works of my own. Ksenia has become a true inspiration to me and many around the globe.
So, I began reading the first book in the series, I Chose to Die. What are my thoughts on it? It’s truly one of the finest pieces of fiction writing I have ever read. Call it a modern masterpiece. It begins with Ailen, attempting to drown herself, in a bathtub full of water. Add to that, she’d been smoking weed. Her mind adrift, she soon realises she’s experiencing a bad trip. Her thoughts consumed by the death of her mother, who leaped off the Aurora Bridge six years ago. Ever since then, the loss of her mother has haunted her like a series of endless nightmares.
The only comfort she finds is in the hallucinatory company of her sisters, not related, but who later through the pace of the narrative, turn out to be real sirens. Who with their beauty and mesmerising vocals sing the soul out of you. And you know what? You’re so dead, but you were smiling, like you were in euphoria, stoned. Ailen Bright confines into them, because they truly understand her pain.
She questions her existence, because her father never really wanted her, for him, he hoped for a son. And so, over the length of her life, he continues to degrade her, humiliate her, and with physical aggression. His repeated preachings about woman and their real purpose in life. His fears that Ailen should shape up to be different. Even if it means landing three slaps to her cheeks, after which, Papa has made his point.
Things don’t end just here, Ailen Bright makes the courageous attempt to escape from the crutches of her tormenting father. To take the same leap her mother had made. To erase her existence by diving into the depths of Aurora Bridge, and never be found. To disappear from the face of this planet. Hoping in her heart to meet her mother once again, in death. It is here, that the readers are introduced to a group of real sirens, each distinct from the other, but the menacing kind, who in return question your loyalty. Prove to them that you are of their own, by requesting a sacrifice in order to learn the truth about Alien’s past. But it comes only if, at the cost of sucking the soul out of a dear one. Ailen is also accompanied by her friend, Hunter, her pot-smoking buddy who tells her stories of sirens whenever Ailen is with him. But carries an secret agenda of his own.
Ailen Bright’s spiralling journey is a true experience of self-discovery, transformation, regret, learning the truth that had been kept away from her for such a long time. Uncovering a string of startling revelations. All at the cost of a series of personal battles.
Ailen Bright is a phenomenal being, she’s vulnerable to the core, and yet, equally powerful. It’s a mesmerising adventure about her plea to surrender herself to death, commit suicide so that she can be transformed into a soulless siren, who believes she will be accepted as their own. Undead And yet still, strangely alive. She relates to herself to a sea fish, her body filled with only seawater. Water becomes her source of energy but also her calming effect. It soothes her, like it were listening to her as if they were a whole. Despite such transformation, which offers her with superhuman powers, does it really change everything for Ailen?
Ksenia crafts a narrative that also examines the depths of suicide and loneliness. Do you deserve to live when you are unwanted? It’s also an extremely emotional and original journey. With added humour where required.
Think Stephen King and Carrie. I am reminded of the Russian dark fantasy, Day Watch, the action scenes driven with heart racing adrenaline, and blazing sonic blasts. I feel Ailen is the female version of Anton Gorodetsky from the film. Each character is fully fleshed out, with great depth and detail. Each chapter is provided with illustrations crafted by Ksenia’s daughter, Anna Milioutina, who has done a fantastic job of projecting the feel of the narrative. The editing is slick and tighter which keeps Ailen’s story gripping from one moment to the next, commendably by Colleen M. Alberts.
A real gem that not just deserves to be highly praised by the readers, but also deserves to be converted to film. Hopefully, someday, it will. Many books adapted to films have been, in recent times, about vampires, werewolves or witches, but Ksenia introduces a strong sense of freshness to such a story centred around sirens. Beautifully written, this is not to be missed. A must read.
. . .
‘There are only three things I do. I read. I write. And I fart glitter.”
“Writing books is my motor, and reading is my fuel.”
Ksenia Anske has been a full-time writer for 2 years now. Her very first fiction, Siren Suicides gained her a huge popularity and a surge of fan followers around the globe. A true inspiration for readers and emerging writers. She has offered free digital version of the books, via Kindle and iBooks.
Her works include, the SIREN SUICIDES trilogy, BLUESPARROW, ROSEHEAD, and work in progress, IRKADURA.