Review: Lost Voices

Lost Voices, by Sarah Porter

When fourteen-year-old Luce is assaulted on the cliffs near an Alaskan village, she expects to die when she tumbles into the icy water below. Instead, she transforms into a mermaid. Luce is thrilled with her new life—until she discovers the catch.

I first found this book in Chapters. I was intrigued by the cover and the back-cover description, so I got it from the library.

Writing: 4 wings

I was pleasantly surprised with the writing. It was better than a lot of other books I’ve read recently. Sometimes I felt like I was there in the cold Alaskan waters with the mermaids. There was a lot of description and use of colourful language.

But then half way through, there’s one chapter where it changes POV to describe the death of fourteen girls. While it gives an important clue about how they change into mermaids, if I were the editor, I would have put this at the beginning of the book, or taken it out entirely.

Characters: 3.5 wings

For the most part, I liked Luce, the protagonist. She was strong when she needed to be and stood up and protected what she believed in. I also liked Catarina (the mermaid queen) despite her neurotism, and I wanted to know more about her past.

The antagonist showed up in the middle of the story, and was super annoying! But intentionally so, I suppose.

The other 14 girls that showed up out of nowhere in the middle of the story kind of jumbled together for me. It’s hard to make everyone seem distinctive when you have that many people (or mermaids) in one place, but maybe if there were fewer of them, it would’ve been easier.

Plot: 4 wings

The concept was well thought out and detailed in places; it definitely exceeded my expectations. It’s a unique twist on the mermaid legends where a girl who has been mistreated in life gets a second chance in death—she becomes a mermaid. They become beautiful and are gifted with a powerful voice. The catch? Their song is so alluring that it drives humans to their deaths.

From the middle of the book until the end, it seemed like things just happened–there was little to no flow to the plot. Part of this could be due to the fact that it’s hard to judge the passage of time when you live in the middle of the ocean, and when you’re immortal. So I’m a little forgiving of that.

But I was disappointed by the ending. The climax had a lot of potential, but things kind of…dissipated. Loose ends weren’t tied up as nicely as I wanted them to be, and even though I know there’s going to be a second book, I would have liked this one to have more of a concrete finish.

Overall: 4 wings

Writing exceeded my expectations; I would recommend with a few reservations. A unique twist on a mermaid story. I look forward to seeing what the second book has to offer.