Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Mermaid's Song

Lost Voices

Written by: Sarah Porter

Released: July 4, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s

Summary: What happens to the girls nobody sees—the ones who are ignored, mistreated, hidden away? The girls nobody hears when they cry for help?

Fourteen-year-old Luce is one of those lost girls. After her father vanishes in a storm at sea, she is stuck in a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village with her alcoholic uncle. When her uncle crosses an unspeakable line, Luce reaches the depths of despair. Abandoned on the cliffs near her home, she expects to die when she tumbles to the icy, churning waves below. Instead, she undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid.

A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. The mermaids are beautiful, free, and ageless, and Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: they feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks.

Luce’s own talent at singing captures the attention of the tribe’s queen, the fierce and elegant Catarina, and Luce soon finds herself pressured to join in committing mass murder. Luce’s struggle to retain her inner humanity puts her at odds with her friends; even worse, Catarina seems to regard Luce as a potential rival. But the appearance of a devious new mermaid brings a real threat to Catarina’s leadership and endangers the very existence of the tribe. Can Luce find the courage to challenge the newcomer, even at the risk of becoming rejected and alone once again?

Lost Voices is a captivating and wildly original tale about finding a voice, the healing power of friendship, and the strength it takes to forgive.

Wow. Not what I was expecting and that just goes to show that I need to sometimes pay more attention to plot summaries. Maybe since I was bewitched by the mermaid aspect I went off thinking it would be more Disney and less dark and intense like it was.

It was both refreshing and slightly terrifying to read in such detail the traumatic events that led up to the girls’ transformation. At the same time, it makes you want it to really happen since it would give a sort of release from the horrific life that the person was living and with that there would almost be a form of hope. In that way this novel was almost like a reverse Little Mermaid; where the fairy tale speaks of love and redemption while going from fins to feet, this is more about power and freedom, and a way of escape through transforming into a mermaid.

Luce was an ageless character who could be incredibly naive and yet be the most mature girl of the pack. In my mind she fluxed between fourteen and forty as I read about her. I couldn’t help but admire her loyalty to Catarina and the rest of the tribe even when things seemed to be against her. I know that if it was me I would have left as soon as things went sour. And I can’t help but wonder after reading the last page what she’s going to do next.

A lot happens in this novel and at times I felt myself wondering just when it was going to end. Not in a negative way, but in knowing that it’s the first in a line of books, so how much more can be crammed into this one book? Still, this is definitely a novel that you’ll want to check out and add to your 2011 debut list. It’s not only well written but it’s one that stays on your mind for a while after the ending sentence. Plus, check out that phenomenal cover. I give it an 8/10.

I received my copy via netGalley.


Dazzling Mage said...

I have to admit, as much as I love mermaids, I wasn't sure about this one. But after reading your review, I'm really looking forward to reading it. Great review. =)

Cass said...

I've been excited to read this one. Thanks for the review! Should probably hold off reviews for at least a few more months, closer to release date, so others can remember to buy a copy. :)