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.

The Twice Lost - Sarah  Porter See more of my reviews on Birth of a New Witch! My copy was an ARC I received via Amazon Vine.3.5 stars.YA novels with mermaids as the focus tend to be dark due to all the legends associated with them, but the Lost Voices trilogy stands out as an especially dark take on them. Sure, it takes siren lore and slapped it onto mermaids, but not every series will have people pulled up in nets by helicopters, shot, and/or eaten by sharks who swarm after they smell blood. Coming off a strong second book, The Twice Lost is weaker than it needs to be, but it's still good. It just needs to trim off some of the excess length and POVs.I think Luce is fifteen at this point and she's got so much on her plate it's ridiculous. She runs herself ragged warning the mermaids, leading them in the fight to keep from being massacred by the US government, and teaching the other mermaids how to control water with their song. That she takes all this up as easily as she does (albeit with hesitation) at such a young age is a little odd, but she's a fully realized character to be respected. The mermaid army she takes control of is made up of a diverse cast (her two best lieutenants are Asian and African-American) and the lack of feminine drama among them is refreshing. Some books seem to think you can't put a bunch of girls together without catfights happening, for some reason.The freedom they're desperately fighting for and the destructive pasts they're trying their best to leave behind are very real, very well-written conflicts and their war doesn't come without sacrifices. Mermaids die in all sorts of gruesome ways and Porter never shies away from it. Still, it's easy to lose track of how necessary it all is when pacing slows to a crawl and very little happens for almost a hundred pages once the Twice Lost Army gets the blockade going.The fourteen separate POV segments (give or take two because I may have missed one or two). About half of them can be cut because the information they offer isn't necessary or the bits of relevant information in them can be given to readers through one of the necessary POVs. The other half of the pacing problem is the war itself the mermaids are fighting by forming a blockade in San Francisco's harbor. It's necessary, yes, and real-life wars can drag on for even longer, but being force-fed every single detail doesn't make for fun reading. A timeskip might have helped.The novel's ending is what saves it from being a three-star read and a disappointing end to an original, strongly written trilogy. The romance as it was developed and portrayed in Waking Storms sent a single, unmistakeable message and it's so relieving to see Porter follow through on that message with Luce's ultimate choice between land and sea and how everything works out. It's about doing right by Luce, not giving it the same ending almost every other YA novel has. This is the second recent read that prioritizes the characters over the romance and it's something I want to see much, much more of. Can this be the next big trend in YA, please?As one of the most female-friendly YA series I can think of despite the horrible things the girls go through to become mermaids, the Lost Voices trilogy is worth a read despite all its pacing issues and unnecessary length in the latter two books. This reminds me I need to get a set of finished copies now...