Reading guide for Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

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Siren Queen

by Nghi Vo

Siren Queen by Nghi Vo X
Siren Queen by Nghi Vo
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  • First Published:
    May 2022, 288 pages

    May 2023, 288 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. Names have a great deal of power in Siren Queen. What does it suggest that we are never told Luli or Emmaline's birth names?
  2. Luli experiences several kinds of love during the course of Siren Queen. How are these loves alike, and how are they different? How do you feel about them, knowing that Luli's relationships with Emmaline and Tara end and that she ends up happy with Jane?
  3. At different times, Luli holds a number of different views about Emmaline Sauvignon. How justified do you find Emmaline's actions? Is she a villain, a heroine, or something else?
  4. The world of Siren Queen features many different forms of magic, from the railroad magic of Luli's mother to the illusions of the studio. What does it mean that Luli has no real magic of her own until the very end, when she reveals a portion of herself that has always been kept secret?
  5. In Siren Queen, there is no doubt that while monsters love, they do not always do it like humans do. What does love mean to a monster like Greta? What about a monster like Oberlin Wolfe? What is your experience with love that doesn't look the way love is expected to look?
  6. The sexual menace of characters like Jacko Dewalt and Oberlin Wolfe is a matter of course to Luli and her peers, calling to mind the modern #MeToo movement. How far have we come since their time? Do you think we've made significant progress?
  7. During some of the most intense moments of her life, Luli feels as if she's standing outside of herself, watching as an observer. What does it mean that in Luli's triumphant ending, she is completely and fully present in herself?
  8. Sacrifice is a deeply personal thing in Siren Queen, from Luli to Greta to Brandt to Tara. What would you give up for immortality? For fame? For safety?
  9. The relationship between Luli and her sister changes several times over the course of the book. How do these changes affect how they see each other, and how might their relationship change further in the future?
  10. The Friday night fires are a hinterland of darkness, a liminal space out of time. How would you keep yourself safe in such a place? Would you go at all?
  11. Luli considers herself cold and monstrous, something that becomes an advantage when she portrays the Siren Queen. Do you think she would still be seen as cold and monstrous if she were a white actress in her time or in ours?
  12. Luli states that Greta's great strength is that she doesn't care. Has caring less ever served you well?
  13. What do you think a modern Hollywood might look like if it was run on Siren Queen rules? Who do you think the great kings and queens might be, and what sacrifices might they have made to gain their power?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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