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.This book is very original. Not because it deals with mermaids but how it also deals with the darker side of humans. This is the part that captured me. I saw the transformation into a mermaid as more of a metaphor for their abusive experience. For example, like some kids who go through a horrific abuse time stops for them. In the book, when the mermaid appears that is how they will always look. No hair growth, no growth at all. I felt this mirrored the emotional growth that was stunted for these girls. The deaths they caused by using their siren voices to crash ships; their pleasure at dominating the "bad humans", and the look of love and admiration from their victims all parallel their former lives as girls. They either recreated their situation for others or tried to latch on to some poor imitation of love. So, it is safe to say I found the parallels in the dark world fascinating and compelling.
I can also see their siren call, the singing parallel the voice they begin to find within themselves once they feel they have found the support they always craved. The song is often described as an animal taking over and yearns to call death. Considering all the girls have been through, perhaps it isn't taking over as it is lashing back at the pain and the death within. Luce is the only one who even considers her pain and that is perhaps the only reason she tries to conquer her voice as one would conquer the demons within.
Well, to go on, I fear I would reveal too much so I will place a starfish over my lips so I cannot say more. (ow!) Perhaps you will not quite see it the way I found fascinating, but you still may be fascinated in the way the author had with the darkness of this story. I give this dark mermaid book 4 stars. I'm also glad that this is a trilogy as it ends with... not a cliffhanger... but more a... "So? What's next? Huh? TELL ME!" Yes, I need the next one quickly. ;) This book is published today!
I received this eARC from Harcourt and NetGalley and no compensation was received.