LOST VOICES by Sarah Porter (Debut Author)

For two weeks, come celebrate mermaids, whether it’s winter or summer where you live. Splash into Summer runs from June 28th to July 12th. There will be author interviews, guest posts, giveaways, reviews, and more! Now is the time to celebrate mermaids, especially with so many new novels about them coming out.

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.

From Goodreads

Sarah Porter was nice enough to do an interview with me in April for Fairy Tale Fortnight. If you missed it the first time around, check it out here. And stop back next Tuesday, July 5th. To celebrate LOST VOICES’ birthday, Sarah will return to A Backwards Story with a very special guest post and I’ll have other fun goodies to share with you!

Everyone who knows me knows that I love a good mermaid story. There’s something about the mystical beings that just fascinates me. Then again, maybe it’s just that I watched Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID movie and animated TV series and SABAN’S ADVENTURES OF THE LITTLE MERMAID series too many times as a kid. Or maybe I was a mermaid in a previous life. Who knows?

I’ve been looking forward to reading Sarah Porter’s debut novel, LOST VOICES, since I first heard about it. When an opportunity to read an early copy came my way, I didn’t hesitate. Sometimes, hype only leaves you disappointed. Not this time. Porter’s underwater world was so real, I couldn’t help but be drawn into it. Additionally, she creates her own universe and folklore. This story isn’t the sweet and happy world of mermaids you might be used to. The novel is heavy and gritty. Ariel would never survive among such mermaids. She’s too carefree. In Porter’s world, Ariel would never be a mermaid to begin with. Mermaids are girls who were once human, but died young with nothing in life to lose—girls who were beaten, raped, abandoned, etc. Luce, the novel’s main character, lost both her parents at an early age and must live with her uncle, a heavy drinker who does abysmal things while under the influence. After one such incident, Luce tries to escape his abuse, falls over a cliff, and the next thing she knows, she’s a mermaid.

In Porter’s world, however, being a mermaid isn’t all fun and games. These mermaids are females with chips on their shoulders and harbor no love for humankind. They have siren-like tendencies with beautiful, enthralling voices that lead sailors to their doom. They delight in shipwrecks, in bringing down one more man in the world who would harm an innocent girl. These are mermaids that travel in packs like wolves, their queen whoever has the most persuasive voice of all.

Luce finds herself in a world of mermaids smiling to her face, but talking about her behind her back, a situation reminiscent of school cliques everyone can identify with. She’s taken under Queen Catarina’s wing due to her extraordinarily beautiful voice, but even this liaison proves to be dangerous. Luce, still in touch with her humanity, hates bringing down ships and killing sailors. She believes humans aren’t all inherently evil, but is alone in her beliefs. Even as a mermaid, she finds herself alone on the outskirts, with no place she truly belongs.

I love how different Porter’s mermaid lore was, the way she merged old mythology with new. LOST VOICES is the type of book where I found myself re-reading various parts again and again. I can’t wait to re-read the book now that it’s been officially published and finalized. Even more, I’m eager to read the next part of Porter’s trilogy and see what obstacles and wonders she’ll introduce to us next. The summary for Book Two, WAKING STORMS, is already online and sounds even better than LOST VOICES. And, as you can see, LOST VOICES is pretty darn good, one of my favorite books of 2011. The final book in the series, THE TWICE LOST, is being written now. I want it already!


The cover is what first drew me to the book back in 2010. If there’s a mermaid on the cover, you know I’ll be right there snapping up the book. Last week, I finally had the opportunity to see the cover in person and it’s more gorgeous than I thought possible. The mermaid is overlaid with a silver sheen, so as you turn the book, it looks like the flash of silver on water when you’re out on the lake watching the fish go by. It’s the perfect touch. I made the mistake of pre-ordering my copy online, so it won’t ship out until the book actually releases despite being in stores early and I forgot to take pictures/video of the cover to post for you guys, so I’ll do that at a later time. But mark my words: This is one snazzy cover!

[This entry is part of The Story Siren's Debut Author Challenge of 2011. See how I've done so far here.]


  1. A mermaid novel, I'm growing more and more in like with them after you have been doing such great reviews on them. The cover is fantastic, and how spectacular to think you might drown but instead grown fins and become a mermaid. What a life?

  2. I'm glad you read and reviewed this one, I'm planning on reading it soon. A couple more books in the line up before this one. I wasn't too excited about it before reading your review, the few other reviews I saw were so lackluster.

    Thanks for such a great review, you've got me looking forward to reading this one.

  3. I am so excited that Sarah Porter is doing a guest post! How did you get to see the cover for the book early? It sounds great.

    Glad you liked this one. It's a favorite of mine already.

  4. @Brunette: Yay, I can't wait for you too, either!!

    @Lena: I'm so glad! I will make you an avid mermaid fan yet. Count on it! I love this cover. LOVE! I love Sarah's unique mythology. It's spectacular!

    @Gina: I'm glad my review changed your mind! I've seen some less than glowing reviews as well. For me, I LOVED it. I wrote that review in Feb. and still stand by it. I can't wait to re-read this!

    @Flashlight: I hope you enjoy the guest post! It will be so much fun! My store got copies a couple weeks early, so I was able to see it live and in person! It's a favorite of mine as well :)

  5. The cover was what also drew me to the book!
    I liked this book, it's very strange and definitely not a happy book but still good =)

  6. Oh I SO want to read this one! It's like a combination of both my favorite genres- there is the emotional side that has the real... deep feelings & angsty whateverness and fairy tale/myth stuff. Even if it is darker than the 'norm.' I really need to get my hands on a copy of this one!


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