When fourteen-year old Lucette (or Luce) is assaulted and left on the cliffs of an Alaskan fishing village, she expects to die; however, in the dark, Luce tumbles into the waves below and becomes a mermaid. Yes, mermaid. This extraordinary transformation leads to the premise of Lost Voices by Sarah Porter.
Lost Voices is a book about mermaids, or a book about a tribe of young girls who are damaged in some form. Each girl in the tribe had been harshly dealt with when they were humans. In a somewhat cheesy turn, each mermaid has a sparkly glow about them before they are transformed. I found this idea of sparkling human (mermaid in transformation) plot a little too funny to be serious. The idea was nice, but the execution made me chuckle.
When Luce is welcomed into the mermaid tribe, she is instantly excited and happy with her new life. She fits in, she has a purpose, and she feels loved. She feels loved for a couple chapters before a major rule in the tribe causes Luce to rethink her mermaid existence. The rule? Each mermaid is gifted with a magical singing voice that leads humans to their deaths. The mermaids all gather together (as often as they can) and sing ships of unlucky seafarers to their watery demise. Luce, whose voice is fit for a queen, has powers none of the other mermaids have experienced before, and she does not like it. Her conscious tugs at her heart. Is she capable of mass murder? Luce struggles with this question the entire book.
I really enjoyed Lost Voices, I found it refreshing and smartly written. Some material in the beginning was too detailed and adult for younger readers. I was chilled to the bone reading two scenes, and I would not recommend younger teens read those parts. I understand these were needed for plot purposes, but I was left disturbed and I cannot imagine how a younger reader will react. Be cautious of some gritty material.
Overall, the message of Lost Voices is accomplished. Can a voice that is lost in the crowd be heard? Do friendships mend broken hearts? Can forgiveness be given to those who have wounded? This book has a beautiful message of: finding a voice, finding hope, finding friendship, and finding forgiveness. Lost Voices will not be lost to readers. This voice will be heard loud and clear.
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.