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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Guest Post - Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

This week my guest post is by my BFF Katie. We shared similar views on this book, though I gave it three stars.

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?   The first book in a trilogy, Lost Voices is a captivating and wildly original tale about finding a voice, the healing power of friendship, and the strength it takes to forgive

First thing: brilliant concept. Mermaids are the result of teen and younger girls that have been horrifically betrayed by humans. And they’re like sirens; they lure humans to their death by singing the ships onto rocks. The tribe of mermaids is ruled by the queen, Catarina who enforces the rules: no violence against another mermaid, no human can live after seeing or hearing a mermaid, no human contact.
Luce (MC) is betrayed by her uncle as he tries to rape her because she looks like her mother and her uncle was in love with her…. (What is it with YA novels and the love triangle thing? Although the nice thing about this is that it WAS in the past.) And the reason Luce was living with her uncle in the first place? The man guilt-ed her dad into settling down with a real job and Luce staying put in a real house and going to school full time. (She grew up on the road in a van because her dad was actually a thief.) So dad gets a job and dies at sea. And then Luce turns into a mermaid when she dies because of the betrayal.
Kay, so here’s the problem. At first when Luce joins the tribe everything seems good. Luce learns about her gift, and the others, the rules, and how to sink ships. But she doesn't really want to do it. She doesn't want to kill people, she thinks it wrongs. When they sing there is a coldness that the girls can allow to grow into their hearts so they don’t care too much about killing humans, but Luce fights it off. One thing keeps circling her mind in the beginning; did these mermaids kill her dad? But then, that thought disappears. She harps and harps and harps on it this horrid little thought and then suddenly seems to vanish. So what was that?
Then you get a whole bunch of girls turned up into mermaids because they were in a home and their “caretaker” set the house on fire (she was crazy). Fourteen new ones, all at once. Things start getting rocky because these new girls have an issue with Luce and Luce is 2nd in command of the tribe because she is the 2nd most powerful voice (she’s actually the most powerful but she doesn’t want to take Catarina’s place)
Teenage high school drama enfolds what could have been an excellent story. The next mermaid to show up is Anais. Now I don’t mind a good villain, but most decently written villains have some sort of redeeming quality. Not Anais though. She is just your typical spoiled rich kid, who got everything she wanted and was one of those girls in high school that remorselessly bullied and teased everyone else for no reason at all. (Totally know that type, avoided them in high school as much as I could.)
One of the unspoken rules of the tribe is to leave your human life behind. Not Anais. She HAS to have all this crap brought to the mermaids’ cave. Ridiculous stuff like makeup, clothing, mirrors, even a TV. She drives apart Catarina and Luce and Luce ends up spending more and more time by herself.
And then it is too late. Luce can’t save Catarina, thank you very much Anais and then breaks mermaid law by saving a human boy. She considered breaking from the tribe and just going off on her own, but after Catarina’s disappearance she realizes she kind of has a responsibility to this particular tribe. Even though they’ve been pretty mean to her, even though she’s broken mermaid law, (although the tribe doesn’t know this), she returns.
Gods only know what happens in the next book, but I’m not reading it.

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