Review: Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Posted December 8, 2010 by Carmel in / 5 Comments

Title: Lost Voices
Author: Sarah Porter
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Release Date: June 29, 2011
Pages: 304
Courtesy of NetGalley

“Fourteen-year-old Luce has had a tough life, but she reaches the depths of despair when she is assaulted and left on the cliffs outside of a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village. She expects to die when she tumbles into the icy waves below, but instead 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. Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: the mermaids feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks. Luce possesses an extraordinary singing talent, which makes her important to

the tribe–she may even have shot at becoming their queen. But her struggle to retain her humanity puts her at odds with her new friends. Will Luce be pressured into committing mass murder?

The first book in a trilogy, 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.”

Mermaids seems to be the new craze as of late in the book world. I decided to take the plunge and to find out what all the fuss is about. For my first forage into deep sea fiction, Lost Voices was a great experience. I began reading this book with an open mind and quickly became spellbound by Sarah Porter’s magical world.

After finishing the book I’m still unsure whether this was a happy or a sad story. The scale seemed to tip back and forth throughout the book. Luce, the main character, becomes a mermaid within the first few chapters after a series of travesties occur in her life. At first, her transformation seems like a blessing after all of the hardships she’s endured. Later on, she seems to be having difficulty accepting certain elements of her new life. Ultimately, this tale is a very dark one. My only real experience with mermaids comes from the Disney movie and this is nothing like that. There are no dancing crabs or prince charmings to save the day.

This book is beautifully written. The combination of imagery and flow make it a captivating read. Porter manages to accurately portray the beauty of the mermaids, their world and their voices. All of the mermaids’ tails are unique and I enjoyed the gorgeous descriptions of the colors. Not to mention the fantastic visuals that popped into my mind when the girls are gracefully swimming through the ocean. And, last but not least was their singing. Each mermaid has her own voice with individual strengths and songs. Needless to say, I thought that this book was quite the work of art where the writing was concerned.

The mermaids themselves I found to be rather annoying. The only ones I liked were Luce and Miriam. The rest acted like spoiled little brats. As a whole they were very catty and mean to one another. I guess that’s what happens to a bunch of young girls when they’re left to fend for themselves without an authority figure. Catarina is the queen but she’s just as bad, if not worse, than the rest of them. Not much of a leader at all.

The second thing that I found a little disappointing in this novel was the lack of action. The girls’ days consist of playing in the water, eating, sunbathing and sleeping. Once in a while a ship comes along that stirs them into action but otherwise the life of a mermaid seems like a rather boring one. There’s talk about avoiding orcas and other dangers but nothing really comes of it. The ocean is a pretty busy place with lots of scary creatures. I found it hard to believe that they never came face to face with a threat.

The fantastic writing and beautiful story more than make up for whatever small shortcomings this book has. While writing this post, I was pleased to discover that this is the first installment in a trilogy. That explains the odd ending. I felt like there was still more story left to be told and now I know that there is! Lost Voices is a great addition to the YA genre and well worth your time.

My Rating:

Pre-order on Amazon


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I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada

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5 responses to “Review: Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

  1. I don’t know if I am ready to jump on the mermaid bandwagon… I am kinda enjoying my seat on the fallen angel bandwagon currently (and the still lingering vampire/ were bandwagons) ;). I do think I will eventually get around to reading it, I just am not looking forward to the cattines that you mentioned, but hey, if talks of their tales can make me forget about the cattiness, I guess I am all for it 😉

  2. I had a hard time writing this review. I wanted to be nice because it was my first ARC from NetGalley but really… I would give it a 3/5.