Okay, so Garrett has definitely not been the only one who hasn't posted an actual mer-book review in a while. Seeing his Tempest post made me realize I'd forgotten to post a review for my favorite mermaid book of the year!
Anyway, as anyone who known me through this blog and the Goodreads group can attest, I completely love Sarah Porter's Lost Voices books. The final book in the series, The Twice Lost, will be released sometime next year and I'm already on the edge of my seat. But as for this installment, Waking Storms, I have been very lazy with posting a review, especially considering I was privileged enough to get an advanced copy from my lovely library (thanks Bailey Cove!). So here goes a review a long time in the making.
Oh, and there are some spoilers for Lost Voices ahead, so don't read this if you haven't finished it! No spoilers for Waking Storms though.
In this second book, I'm happy to report that Porter has not fallen into the sophomore slump so many YA authors find themselves in. Waking Storms is exciting, haunting, and chock full of new characters and a lovely continuation of the heart breaking story depicted in the first book.
So the basic idea of this book is that Luce is now outed from the mermaid tribe by the evil queen Anais. Luce would rightfully be queen in the tribe but Anais has kicked her out before she could even begin to process this thought. Being a mermaid alone in the harsh Alaskan setting of the story is definitely not a smart move. On top of that, the boy Luce couldn't bring herself to drown has come back to haunt her literally. The boy, Dorian, is a troubled kid who has the "indication" usually seen around the teenage girls who become mermaids, but for some reason, the magic doesn't work on guys. Luce struggles back and forth about how their relationship could work, and meanwhile, Dorian is being questioned by the FBI. And then, when the Alaskan winter sets in, Luce makes an extremely unexpected discovery and has to make some very hard choices.
The biggest difference between WS and LV is the addition of Dorian. I was initially VERY hesitant about adding such a character to these books, because I felt like that would have been falling into another YA cliche'. But surprisingly enough, Dorian didn't annoy me when he wasn't supposed to.
That's another thing about these books. You're not supposed to like the characters sometimes. There are times that Luce is incredibly selfish and more than a little stupid, but others she is so selfless and brave. Dorian is never very likable but after his situation and place in the world of these books is explained, you can'e help but realize all the turmoil this kid is going through. He is not supposed to be a likable character. It's another genius thing about Porter's writing.
The other mermaids from Luce's previous tribe also make a few appearances here and there. There's a deadly showdown with Anais. There's also the addition of a Greek mermaid who is a crucial key in understanding the history and lore of Porter's mermaids.
You definitely need to read Lost Voices before Waking Storms. When I first received my ARC, I had a really hard time following because they're so dependent on each other.
All in all, definitely one of the best mer-books published this year. I highly recommend it to older teens.