Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
July 4, 2011; Harcourt Children's Books


Summary

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 a shot at becoming their queen. However her struggle to retain her humanity puts her at odds with her new friends. Will Luce be pressured into committing mass murder? (courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

Lost Voices is my third mermaid/siren novel. I'm really enjoying this genre. Mermaids are such versatile paranormal creatures. They can be cute, fun-loving human-fish; breathtaking beauties; or evil man-killing monsters. The characters in Lost Voices basically fall into the third category.

The mermaids in Lost Voices are young girls who have had horrible lives - sexual, physical, and/or emotional abuse. Some horrible trauma flips the switch to magically change them from human to mermaids. It's an odd concept and not explained well at first, but by the end of the book, I felt that I understood the basics pretty well. Not surprisingly, many of these girls are bitter towards humans, especially men.

And then you have Luce. She lived a happy life with her father, even if he was poor and a criminal. Then he disappeared leaving her with her abusive uncle. When he tried to rape her one night, the switch flipped and she was suddenly in the ocean with a new life as a mermaid.

Luce is now unbelievably powerful. With her voice alone, she can lead dozens of men to their deaths. The other mermaids try to convince her that this is a good thing - humans are useless, evil creatures - but Luce isn't sure. She's known both love and hate.

Lost Voices is more than just a killing spree. The mermaids are a fascinating group of girls. Their culture promotes love and loyalty and forbids hurting one another. In practice, things are a bit more complicated, but I love the idea that abused girls now have a supportive girl-power group they can always rely upon.

This book was a mixed bag for me. On the up side, the book is well-written and the mythology is fascinating. I liked Luce, sympathized with her, and understood her character well enough to relate to her. On the down side, I felt the plot floundered (purposeful fish misspelling). More and more mermaids were created and more and more killing occurred. It felt directionless. Perhaps it will make more sense in the later books. Also, Catarina, the leader of the mermaids, was really inconsistent. She loved Luce and then she hated Luce. I partially came to understand the mood swings, but not entirely.

The biggest issue with Lost Voices is neither a down nor an up...it just is. This book is dark. There is carnage without purpose, there is emotional cruelty, horrible treatment of children, and no happy ending. I admire the author for being willing to go so dark when few modern fairy tales do so. Still, as a sucker for happy endings, the book is rather hard to take. The darkness is something a reader should be aware of before picking up the book.

Rating: 3 / 5

20 comments:

  1. Thank you for the honest review! I will keep those things in mind if I read it.

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  2. Definite a dark novel - and I agree with you I'm not sure where the series as a whole is going. But it's nice to see a unique twist on the mermaid legends!

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  3. I really want to read this book because I've actually never read a book dealing with mermaids before. I'm sure I can handle the dark/morbid material ;)

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  4. I agree that this was a dark mermaid story but so different from other books out there.

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  5. You know, that's what I like about this book. It's dark. It just tell it how it is. Nice review!

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  6. I've read some not so favorable reviews for this book, so I like that yours is more objective. I don't know how much I'd enjoy a purposely dark tale that doesn't include at least a bit of hope in the end.

    I haven't really given any mermaid stories a chance. For some reason, while I think the concept is fascinating, I can't seem to motivate myself to read them.

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  7. I'm a sucker for happy endings too, and as much as I enjoy dark books, I like for there to be a silver lining for me to cling to like a life raft:) I think I'll pass on this one for now, but maybe if I'm in the right mood I'll pick it up. Beautiful review Alison.

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  8. I enjoy dark books, but I haven't like too many mermaid books that I've read. I might have to give this one a chance though, although I don't know how I'll feel about the "directionless" part. I like to know where my books are going or I won't feel up to reading the next one in the series.

    Great review Alison :)

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  9. This seems like it might be interesting to read. The concept of girls being turned into mermaids after suffering some sort of trauma seems sort of interesting.

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  10. Enjoyed your review! Think this is an intriguing idea for a story, as I've never heard this angle before. Might be too dark for me, but I'll give it a shot.

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  11. The premise for this book is so interesting and I do love mermaids! Might check this one out too.

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  12. Thanks for your review Allison. I am now even more intrigued to see if I will like it. I don't like aimless killing though, so we'll see.

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  13. Wow, I didn't expect this one to be so dark especially going with beautiful, quiet vibe of the color. I think I might be okay with a shaky plot (which seems like one negative point about the book) but I'm really curious about the new twist on the mermaid mythology. I had no idea this was going to be a series. Can nothing be written as a standalone these days?!

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  14. I've not read a mermaid book yet and the cover is pretty, usually fulfilling my shallow book buying requirements lol! I love the honest review, all things I need to know before I jump into a book! Thanks!

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  15. I think "directionless" is right on the money. I felt a bit lost in the middle waiting to find out where the story was going. Still am not sure I totally understood the point.

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  16. Thanks for the review! I had no idea this would be so dark! You're right, it's good to know going in.

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  17. You were fairly on par with my feelings....I also thought the story could have been executed a little better. I did enjoy the twist on mermaids though. It's a great new paranormal element.

    Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog

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  18. Great honest review, I have thought about reading this book and now I am slightly more curious, but leary at the same time..LOL

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  19. I was just holding this book in my hands, reading a few pages, at the bookstore yesterday! Glad to see your review. I did have doubts and put the book down. Think I'll keep it in my back pocket for later, maybe. New follower! Dawn @ Read Love

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  20. This was on my TBR but I'm too fond of grim reads even if I do love mermaids. And I'm alright with dark reads as long as their are hopeful/happy endings but if this one doesn't have that then I'll probably take if off the list. Thanks for the review!

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