{Review} THE TWICE LOST by Sarah Porter

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I've also reviewed LOST VOICES, and WAKING STORMS (and explored its mythology!), by Sarah Porter. I've also done an interview with Sarah and featured her splashy guest post!

Check out an exclusive poem that Sarah Porter co-wrote with fellow mer-author Carolyn Turgeon, Flight to the Deep, for Splash into Summer!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:
"Hello," the young man in the lab coat purred into a round speaker, his hands fidgeting. Ripples of azure light reflected on his cheeks. "Are you awake?" There was no response. He stood with a few other stiff-backed men, among them the nation's secretary of defense, in a room divided in half by a wall of thick--and perfectly soundproof--glass. Behind the glass was something that resembled the kind of fake habitat found in a zoo, like an enclosure for keeping penguins or seals...
(pg. 1, US hardcover first edition)

The Lost Voices series is, without a doubt, my favorite mermaid series. And I've read a lot of them. It feels more real than other series, gritty and raw. Sarah Porter doesn't hold back punches. The series is more jagged than most series out there seeking to emulate Ariel and her quest to become Human and live Happily Ever After.  Instead, these girls were human and they suffered greatly before being gifted with sea legs and given to the ocean. They all have crosses to bear and grudges to uphold. These mermaids can be deadly.

If you have yet to read LOST VOICES ~and~ WAKING STORMS, stop reading now. Spoilers lie ahead. I've kept THE TWICE LOST as spoiler-free as possible, which is hard, because there's stuff I'd love to talk about, but can't!

Fittingly called THE TWICE LOST for a good reason, readers return to the ocean for Luce's final struggle for survival. She's still grappling with both her former humanity and the adaptation of her new body and its limits. She's witnessed unimaginable horrors, and now her entire mer-tribe is dead. Is it her fault? Were she and Cat too selfish? Not wanting any other mermaids to suffer the same fate, Luce travels the sea to spread the news that humans have discovered their existence...and will stop at nothing to eradicate them. By the time she gets to San Francisco, she's warned countless mer...but also seen even more death and destruction in her wake. In San Francisco, she discovers hundreds of mermaids who call themselves The Twice Lost (spoiler-free here), and realizes that she is one herself.  These mermaids roam wild and free, together, yet not a tribe. She encounters old friends like Cat and gains new friends from all corners of the world. She is once again expected to be in charge, and again refuses the role of Queen. Instead, she will become the first and only General, because war is upon the sea, and only by working together and changing their ship-destroying ways do the mermaids have any chance of survival.

I know readers who don't care for the Lost Voices series and stop after the first book, LOST VOICES. They think it's too dark or too violent. Some were swayed by the romance in the second book, WAKING STORMS, an element that lost other readers who wanted the focus to remain in the sea. The final book in the series, THE TWICE LOST, faces everyone's questions, answers them, and is able to hold its own against everything that has been promised. Each book is darker and more violent than the last, as humans become more and more vicious in their quest to bring mermaids to extinction. Luce has grown so much and come so far. She's become strong and independent. She makes her own decisions and stands by them. She isn't perfect, and doesn't always have a perfect solution. She's doing the best she can and more willing to try new things than older, more experienced mermaids. Happily Ever After doesn't exist. Everything comes at a high, high price. Even for Luce. I appreciated this most of all, and think fans of the series will as well.

While there were some characters from former books that I wished to see a little more of in the finale, loose ends were still tied up across the board. I even felt bad, at times, for Anais, and she's as loathsome as they come. I loved all of the diversity found with the new characters, giving a global feel to the lore of the mermaids, and also the unique mythology behind the mermaids' creation. Porter wrapped so much into the series, giving it depth and dimension, and forcing readers to care about the mermaids and their plight as well as issues plaguing humanity. The book comes full circle, except instead of catty, selfish mermaids, we now have mermaids working together for a common cause, a complete 180 from the pettiness found in smaller tribes. And the ending...I can't say more, but it was right. Not perfect, but right. As it should be. More mer-authors need to take the chances that Porter does so that we have more thought-provoking, genre-defying books in our possession!

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I love the shiny covers and the way they truly have an underwater vibe going on. The title/author treatment is consistent, and I love the adornment between each title. I can't decide if I like the cover to THE TWICE LOST or LOST VOICES best! Can I just stare at them both and let them shimmer and be merry beneath the bright sunlight?

I have to admit a secret, however: I'm itching to see the audiobook cover. As much as I love the covers to this series, I love the audiobook covers more and wish they were the book jackets. How epic will this new cover be?
Audiobook Covers

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Sarah Porter
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Received: For Review; Purchased

Mermaids have been sinking ships and drowning humans for centuries, and now the government is determined to put an end to the mermaid problem—by slaughtering all of them. Luce, a mermaid with exceptionally threatening abilities, becomes their number-one target, hunted as she flees down the coast toward San Francisco. 

There she finds hundreds of mermaids living in exile under the docks of the bay. These are the Twice Lost: once-human girls lost first when a trauma turned them into mermaids, and lost a second time when they broke mermaid law and were rejected by their tribes. Luce is stunned when they elect her as their leader. But she won’t be their queen. She’ll be their general. And they will become the Twice Lost Army—because this is war.


  1. Great review! I love this series! I still need to read Waking Storms. <3 The covers of these books are always pretty.


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