Krista Reviews: Sarah Porter—"Lost Voices"

Luce is not a stranger to loss. Her father and mother died several years ago. She is now cared for by her alcoholic uncle. She is very shy, has no friends and  is anti-social. After one very stormy day, her uncle attempts to rape her and tells her not to come home. Even more confused and depressed than usual, she throws herself into the ocean to drown; instead, she turns into a mermaid.

In her frustration and hate Luce swims hard and fast. She sings out her frustration and in her confusion watches as a boat guides itself into the cliffs. She watches and sings to the people aboard as they all slowly drown. The wreckage is noticed by the other mermaids and she is taken into the tribe as a new member. She is soon taught the laws of the tribe, makes friends and learns the way of the mermaid. As time goes by, more mermaids begin arriving through different circumstances. Soon there is uproar in the tribe, alliances are formed and laws are broken. But will Luce be able to help keep some order in the tribe before too many humans die in their wake?

The change into a mermaid does not happen to all girls; it’s usually the girls that have a dark past  who “change because of what humans do to us.”  They cannot all sing. Some of them have the talent of singing or making other noises immediately, some develop it, and some never do. The leader is chosen by how well they can manipulate their voice and swim the best.

They do not sing to every ship that passes and they do not take down big ships in which they cannot guarantee all aboard who have heard or seen them will die afterwards. They still have to breathe air so spend their time in caves with beach or air space and swimming around.  If their tales leave the water, they experience horrific pain that can end up killing them.

For a story about killer mermaids this one was pretty entertaining. I have to say that I found the main character very depressing throughout most of the story, but she develops and grows some along the way.

Besides the mass murders, this whole tribe concept was really not any different than an all girls high school setting. You have drama, certain rules that must be followed, and a leader. I loved all the characters, Catarina is a strong-headed leader, who eventually bumps heads with Luce. It was like an all girls school drama power-trip most of the book, but I loved it. It was very well written, very entertaining and contained a lot of interesting ideas.

The story is highly reminiscent of the siren tales from Greek mythology (calling/singing to the sailors, leading them to death or confusion).  Lost Voices is a great introduction to this trilogy. It features great characters and world building. It doesn’t  end in a cliffhanger, but with just enough intrigue to make you want to see which characters will show up in the next book.

Sarah Porter—Lost Voices
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 4th 2011 by Harcourt Children’s Books

ISBN 0547482507 (ISBN13: 9780547482507)

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