Thursday, June 28, 2012

Waking Storms by Sarah Porter

Title: Waking Storms
Author: Sarah Porter
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Release Date: July 3, 2012
Pages: 400 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: ARC through Amazon Vine
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: book trailer | author website

After parting ways with her troubled mermaid tribe, Luce just wants to live peacefully on her own. But her tranquility doesn't last long: she receives news that the tribe is on the verge of collapse and desperately needs her leadership. Anais, the tribe's cruel queen, wants Luce dead. Dorian, the boy Luce broke mermaid law to save, is determined to make her pay for her part in the murder of his family. And while the mermaids cling to the idea that humans never suspect their existence, there are suddenly ominous signs to the contrary.

But when Luce and Dorian meet, they start to wonder if love can overpower the hatred they know they should feel for each other. Can Luce fulfill her rigtful role as queen of the mermaids without sacrificing her forbidden romance with Dorian?

Full of miraculous reunions and heart-pounding rescues, this haunting second installment in the Lost Voices trilogy finds Luce eager to attempt reconcilation with humans--as long as war doesn't break out first.


Though the mention of forbidden romance in Waking Storms left me wary and drove me batty for nearly half the book, I'm surprised at how much I liked this book. This may turn into a pattern with this series; the quality of the first book surprised me too. Luce could use some stronger characterization so I actually had something to say about her, but you know what? Whether or not she gets a personality, I'll keep reading. The expansions Porter makes to her universe are enticing enough to make me not care.

The first hundred pages were not very good to me. We spend time in the head of Dorian, the human Luce saved the life of at the end of Lost Voices, and it's made very clear he's in pain after the death of his family in the mermaid-caused sinking of the Dear Melissa. When he's not thinking about them, he's tortured by thoughts of Luce. So why were he and Luce making out by page sixty-two and pretty much declaring their love soon after? No! No! Noooo! After that hundred pages, the problems in their relationship started to come out. This is not meant to be true love. Whew! Close call.

So while Dorian and Luce's insta-love romance drove me batty, I started to see Romeo and Juliet parallels in it. No, not like that! If I had to say, I think Porter understands what the often-misinterpreted play is really about. Like Romeo and Juliet, Dorian and Luce are young and stupid (Dorian is fifteen, Luce fourteen). They fall in love very quickly for little good reason, and it seems their relationship will negatively affect themselves and others if it ends badly--and all signs say it will end badly. Even if it does work out, others will be hurt because of them. Do these parallels follow through? I suggest reading the novel yourself to find out, but I will say I was somewhat happy and somewhat wary about where the novel left the two. Kind of like how I felt at the end of Lost Voices.

The mix-up of sirens and mermaids grates on me more in this book than it did in the first (sirens sank boats/killed people by singing but they didn't live in the water; mermaids lived in the water and killed by charming/tricking sailors into the water), but I'm willing to let go of that. The history of the two being combined is too extensive for any complaints to mean much. Dorian's character isn't fleshed out as much as I wish it was, but he's rather endearing. Focusing on a mythical, dreamlike mermaid like Luce to forget about the pain of his parents seemed like a way he might try to cope due to his age and the circumstances. There isn't much I can say about Luce herself, unfortunately.

The last book showed no signs that humans knew mermaids existed, but over the course of Waking Storms, we discover that not only do some humans know about mermaids, but they're actively trying to prove they exist in order to eliminate them. A scene where a room full of FBI agents and goverment higher-ups listen to a thirty-second snippet of the mermaid death song was one of the strongest of the novel! Subtle and creepy. Just the way I like it!

The Twice Lost, the final book in the Lost Voices trilogy, doesn't come out for another year, but I'm looking forward to it. Yet another pattern with the series: the ending leaving me wary of the next novel. But since Waking Storms did better than I thought it would, why can't the third book pull off the same trick?

4 stars!

What am I reading next?: So Close to You by Rachel Carter