Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Lost Voices (Lost Voices Trilogy Series #1)

Lost Voices - Sarah  Porter Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker. I recieved my copy from the publishers through NetGalley.Stuck living with her drunk uncle after her father dies, Luce, full name Lucette, has few friends and even fewer happy moments. After her uncle attempts to rape her, Luce rolls off the cliffs and into the sea, where she transforms into a mermaid. A tribe of mermaids led by beautiful queen Catarina take her in and it feels like she finally has a home she belongs to, with friends and everything! While bringing down ships of humans with her song is fun at first, Luce comes to dislike it and try to train her voice so that she won't kill. Meanwhile, a storm of new mermaids, all young girls abused in their human lives, join the tribe, including one girl with dreams of stealing Catarina's title as queen and ready to use any methods to do so.Right away, we leap into Luce's life with her drunkard uncle. Anyone who lived with an alcoholic the way I did will understand Luce's plight, and outcasts may connect with her as well. After undergoing her change into a mermaid, her character only becomes more interesting as she struggles between the mermaid urge to kill people and her humanity, which sticks with her and makes her not want to kill people. Most, if not all, other mermaids seem to lack this empathy. It almost breaks your heart to find that just when Luce thinks she's found a home and family, it's gone again just like that. This broken bird of a heroine only gets more broken from the starting point and few readers will be able to dislike her. There's just something about her that makes her difficult to dislike.Catarina, the queen of the mermaid tribe when Luce arrives, may seem bland at first, but then her character takes a few turns that strike as strange at first--in fact, they seem strange for most of the novel. Readers don't understand a thing about her until literally the last few pages of the book and in those last pages, she gains more complexity than I expected. As a fan of characters who are a little bit out of it and are more than they first seem, I liked Catarina. There were a few stumbles in the prose narration (I laughed a little when I came across a section where "the rocks trilled in a wheezy soprano." (p. 273)), but I otherwise loved how the book was written. The images of Luce swimming underwater are crystal clear and the writing really shines when describing any of the mermaids singing, either to train their voice or when they're trying to bring down a ship. While the story was predictable in some places and able to throw unpredictable twists at me in others, it took well over two-thirds of the book for the conflict to arise. I assume that one of the mermaids stashed it in their cave until that point, but I didn't mind. I enjoyed Luce and her interactions with the other mermaids in place of the late-arriving plot.One of the things that bothered me about the novel was how much potential it wasted in the characterization department. With abused girls, there is a lot of depth that can be had. After dealing with all the abuse they took in human life and taking on the "humans are all evil, they must die" mentality in mermaid life, there is a lot that can be explored there. How did each individual mermaid's experience affect her mental state and psyche, then lead to what she thought of humans as a mermaid? Partway into the novel, I began to look forward to such an exploration and was disappointed to never find one. All the characters not named Luce (who, as it was, bordered heavily on Mary Sue territory with how different she was from other mermaids) or Catarina lacked depth, and antagonist Anais is nothing but a caricature. Can you name something an evil person would do? Anais probably did it. Victim blaming, manipulation, bullying the larvae (who, for the record, are girls who were younger than three or four when they became mermaids),... This girl is pure, unadulterated, no-shades-of-gray evil, and that's not fun to read about. Maybe she'll get depth in later books, but it does not appear so right now. This kind of stuff really pushes the allegory of humans abusing other humans and creating monsters.On that thought of abuse, why is it that this specific group of humans turn into mermaids? What is so different between abused young girls and other humans that enables them to become mermaids when others can't? Asking for an explanation of the unexplainable may seem stupid, but I like a little more explanation than "it's MAAAAAAAAAAAHHHGIC!" If just anyone could turn into a mermaid, I would not ask this question. If you're going to make it so that a specific group of people turns into mermaids, there has to be a reason why. As far as I remember, no such reason was given.Even with my complaints, I'm on board with this trilogy. I'm keeping my eyes out for further information on sequels and such and when Lost Voices hits bookstores in July, I'm getting a copy of it. Porter's tale of mermaids and forgiveness won me over and when it comes out, I hope it tops all the bestseller lists it can. Any paranormal book lovers like me, tired of trite romances, will love this fresh novel where there is (gasp!) no romance, a break from the new norm. Recommended for anyone who loves mermaids or paranormal teen fiction in general.