Saturday, 1 January 2011

Review of Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Wow, for a book about mermaids this is pretty powerful stuff! Sarah Porter has created a darkly compelling tale of abused children, murderous mermaids and teenage bullying. The writing is good and it is easy to picture the world that is being created despite it being about fantasy creatures.

14 year old Luce has lost her mother and father and lives with her abusive uncle. She copes with this by mostly keeping quiet and not drawing attention to herself. Then one evening her uncle tries to inflict his worst assault yet.

The emotional pain of the incident and preceding events turns Luce into a mermaid. Mermaids are young girls who have been mistreated by the humans who were supposed to look after them. The Mermaids dislike humans because of their troubled human lives and delight in singing to boats that pass their way enchanting the humans aboard and causing them to jump into the ocean and drown.

Luce finds a home with a tribe of mermaids led by their queen Caterina. Caterina's character is fascinating and I changed my opinion of her several times as the story developed. Luce's devotion to Caterina was a bit much, however, almost bordering on obsession.

As more new mermaids join the tribe there is unrest among them which I suppose is kind of political but was more a demonstration of how teenage girls can behave toward each other and be either wonderful friends or bitter enemies from one day to the next, driven mostly by their own insecurities.

The most important thing to the mermaids is singing. A great voice is considered a gift and the best singer is always the Queen of the tribe. Luce's voice is amazing from the beginning which both pleases and threatens Caterina as existing Queen. Luce seems oblivious to how good her voice is at first, and even after she learns more about what she can do with her singing she has no desire to take Caterina's place. Luce also struggles with the killing humans part of being a mermaid and is torn between the intense need to sing and the guilt at what the singing does to the humans.

The power struggle between Luce, Caterina and a shallow selfish mermaid named Anais has some dramatic consequences which were left mostly hanging at the end of the book.

I was disappointed with the ending as the story just kind of stopped. I assume the next in the series will pick up from there but it was still quite disappointing to be left hanging.

The ending aside, I found the second half of the book better than the first. I didn't really get properly into the story until the ninth chapter and would have liked Luce's pre-mermaid life to have been expanded on a little more.

Overall I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next in the series.

I was lucky enough to get an Advance Reading Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Unfortunately the book is not scheduled for general release until July 4th 2011 but is available for pre-order now from Amazon.

Lost Voices    

My Rating 3 out of 5 stars
 Source- ARC from netGalley


Rie Conley said...

This sounds like a great read. It's now on my TBR list.

Laurie said...

Thanks for the informative review. This one doesn't really sound terribly appealing to me especially because I dislike cliff-hanger endings, too.