Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Fourteen-year-old Luce is practically all alone in the vast, cruel world she lives in. Luce used to travel around with her dad - the thief - all the time, until Luce's uncle talked her father into moving back to his hometown to become a fisherman and provide Luce with as stable of a life as he can. But when her father never comes home one night, Luce is left all alone with her alcoholic, abusive uncle. One day after she saves a little girl's corpse from being lost in the sea and nearly drowning herself, her uncle gets drunk beyond repair and mistakes her for his true love - Luce's mother, who was stolen from him by Luce's father. He starts to hurt her in an unthinkable way, but runs away at the last minute, leaving Luce there abandoned on the cliffside.This novel starts out by telling the reader about Luce's life in an Alaskan fishing village and how she has to deal with daily life in the house of her abusive Uncle with the mentally handicapped boy that lives next door as her only friend. I loved Sarah Porter starts by telling you Luce's back story, before diving - pun intended - into the life of a mermaid. I, as the reader, started feeling for Luce and grew an attachment to her. I didn't want to see her hurt at all.
Without realizing it, she undergoes a transformation that hurtles her over the edge of the cliff and just out of the way as a ship hurtles toward her. She hears wonderful music, such a powerful voice, not knowing it comes from her very lips. Just as she's been under for longer than she thought she'd be able to stand, she finally starts to drown, only to be saved by a mermaid Queen. The mermaid Queen, named Catarina, takes Luce under her wing and lets her join her tribe of mermaids. Just when Luce feels like she has an actual home again, Catarina and the rest of the tribe tell her a big part of being a mermaid - mass murder through lovely singing voices. They sing to passing ships - just like Luce unknowingly did - and kill every last one of them by drowning them.
If that weren't bad enough, a new mermaid joins them soon after and is highly cunning and manipulative and she's out for the crown. Luce has to find the courage to protect her new home, even if that means being kicked out of it.
In fact, I felt for a lot of the mermaids, and each one had their own unique personality. Luce was the innocent, sort of naive girl that just needed a home. Catarina was the elegant Queen, that was slightly neurotic at times. Samantha was the one not very good at singing, so she struggled with trying to prove herself, falling into the follower position. You could feel each girls' personality and grew to like, dislike, or hate them.
There were two mermaids I didn't like. First was Jenna. She was the first antagonist introduced to the story and she was just mean and unaccepting of anyone but her foster sisters for a little bit of the story. She especially didn't like Luce, despite Luce being nothing but a friend to her. I did feel very sorry for why she became a mermaid, though. Second was Anais. I felt nothing but contempt for Anais. This was a good thing, because she was perfectly concocted by Porter as the antagonist. She was downright nasty and manipulative and I actually wanted one of the girls to go against the timahk - the mermaid's code of conduct - and slap her right across the face, maybe even drowning her or throwing her up on the beach. But I was grateful no one did, otherwise where would the story be able to go?
This novel was beautifully written with so many descriptive paragraphs about the sea, the sky, the cliffs, just everything. Sarah Porter has such a way with words that resonate with you long after you finish reading the last page of the book. I couldn't stop thinking about this book when I was away, wanting nothing more than to finish it so I could see what happened next. She painted out this slow and steady picture that leaves you wanting more after she ran out of paint. Don't waste anytime in getting your hands on this book, you're in for a wonderful read.
View all my reviews