Technically, Splash is over, but there were a couple of mermaidy posts and reviews that didn't get up during the event, so I'll still be posting about them this week!
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NOTE: If you haven't read the first book in Sarah Porter's series, LOST VOICES, please read my review of the first book in the series instead. There are spoilers about the first book in this review!
As longtime readers might recall, I adored Sarah Porter's debut novel, LOST VOICES. I couldn't wait to read WAKING STORMS, but I was also nervous. Sometimes, sequels don't live up to their hype, especially middle books in a trilogy. This year alone, I've encountered too many books suffering from "second book syndrome," where they're just a lead-in to the final book. This year has also surprised me in the amount of second books that are better than their predecessor (which, again, makes me really nervous about their upcoming third books). Bookworms, I'm happy to tell you that WAKING STORMS falls into the latter category. WAKING STORMS was even more amazing than LOST VOICES.
I think that readers who wrote off Porter too soon based on the way girls become mermaids need to give this series a second chance. The world-building is rich and full, both savage and beautiful. I thought Porter had done a good job creating her environment in the first book, but by reading WAKING STORMS, I realized just how little I knew about this world compared to when I'd finished the first book. There's new mythology I wasn't anticipating, history that explores the origins of mermaids, and even a mythological island that felt very Greek in nature. Porter manages to surprise me several times throughout the novel, which is a great thing because I normally manage to guess every little thing going on based on the smallest of clues that most people overlook, and I, too, enjoy being surprised.
One of the most interesting aspects of the new novel re-introduces the world of humans. LOST VOICES spends a lot of time focusing on how horrible humans were and why the girls became mermaids when they died. The new book showcases the nuances of human life, introducing the fact that some people know about the mermaids and their ship-breaking abilities--and want them dead. Dorian, the boy Luce saves from drowning in the first book, also returns in a big way. While Luce and Dorian suffer from a case of insta-love, it's not all-consuming the way it is in so many other YA novels. Instead, there's more of a ROMEO AND JULIET twist, where the two fall in love way too fast and don't stop to consider the repercussions or the fact that their relationship can only end in heartbreak and tragedy. I loved this twist to the insta-love syndrome, the way nothing is sparkly and perfect in Porter's world.
I'm really excited to read THE TWICE LOST and see the way everything ties together and concludes as the humans make their way down below, the mermaids have to deal with the way Anise and her ship-wrecking crew are destroying everything they've worked so hard to preserve, and to see what part Dorian truly plays in this series. I'm enamored with Luce and her plight, and I have so many hopes and thoughts for where her story might be headed. LOST VOICES is, without a doubt, my favorite mermaid series and I am so eager to read more of what Porter has to offer in the future.