Monday, January 14, 2013

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter


Mermaid fiction is one of my guilty pleasures when it comes to reading, and Lost Voices has been high on my list of ‘to-reads’ for aggggeeeees. I finally found it available in Australia through one of our smaller publishers, when I was uploading the new release files at my bookstore. Yet another reason why working at a bookstore is totally amaze!

Lost Voices is a unique mermaid story, quite different to the usual fare you get with YA paranormal fiction. There is no big love story, or triangle (although I believe that will be developed in future books), the premise of ‘becoming’ a mermaid is unique, and the story is pretty much entirely set in the ocean – i.e., the mermaids are not half-human, and don’t get around on land, and can’t go to school and all that YA-ish stuff. I really, really, loved the choices Sarah Porter made when constructing her story. The mermaids also do mermaid-ish stuff – sink ships, covet and steal human treasures, drown seamen by singing to them, live in caves. I think Porter obviously really loves mer-mythology, and that was what primarily kept me reading.

I would like to see, in future books, the mer-world expanded on though – I would like to be taken deep within that oceanic world, as Porter’s descriptions of sea-life are interesting, but mostly pretty and harmless. I would like to meet some more mer ‘tribes’, and I am interested to see how pear-shaped things get when humans begin to learn of the mer existence.

My big gripe with Lost Voices is that I really disliked, or didn’t enjoy, most of the characters. They are all mostly vain and shallow and silly, as I guess teenage mermaids should be, but I think there is room to go deeper, as is hinted at with the mermaid Kat. I REALLY couldn’t stand the ‘so hip’ way a lot of the mermaids talked, and personally I was glad at the end of the book when Luce decides that maybe that tribe isn’t for her. The best parts of the book are when the mermaids are in action, doing their mer-thing, instead of talking like Mean Girls rejects and squabbling over designer clothes.

Lost Voices certainly piqued my interest to read the rest of the series – if only it would build on the darkness, the haunting loveliness that appears in flashes, then I would be completely sold.

First published in July 2011
In Australia, November 2012

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