Blurb from back cover:
"After her father vanishes in a storm at sea, fourteen-year-old Luce is struck in a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village with her alcoholic uncle. When her uncle crosses an unspeakable line, Luce reaches the depths of despair. Abandoned on the cliffs near her home, she expects to die when she tumbles to the icy, churning waves below. Instead, she undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid.A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in. They are beautiful, free, and ageless, and Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: they feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships in to the rocks.Unlike the other mermaids, who are happy to wreak vengeance upon the humans who terrorized them, Luce wants to retain her inner humanity - but going against her new friends could cost Luce her place in the tribe. Will she be pressured into using her extraordinary singing talent to help commit mass murder?"
Wow...phenomenal! Porter does an amazing job with the very difficult and socially taboo topic of child abuse. When I signed up to review this ARC through Dark Faerie Tales, I was immediately captivated by the gorgeous cover. I had never read a mermaid book, so I figured I would give it a whirl. Definitely glad I did.
Luce is a captivating young female character that grows stronger as the novel progresses. In the beginning, Luce is seen at her worst moment when her uncle attacks her and leaves her in despair by the cliffs. A tumble into the waves results in her transformation into a mermaid and submersion into a support group of sorts. Each member of the tribe that Luce now finds herself a part of, has a crippling story to tell, tales of abuse and heartache, tales that long for revenge. With the power of their songs, the mermaids captivate and take their sorrows out on countless sailors...even though the taking lives to fill the emotional void within still leaves them hollow.
Countless children suffer from abuse and long to ghost away, long to feel that they are not alone in the world, that one day their abusers will get the justice they deserve. Porter handles this delicate subject with poise and heartwrenching emotion. The inner struggle within each victim is executed with stunning clarity, along with the group dynamics that pit the mermaids against each other in typical teenage fashion.
The world building is splendid; the mystique of the mermaid and the open ocean is brought to light in vivid detail. Character building as I mentioned earlier is fantastic, dynamic, and the strong suit of the novel. There were very few lags in the story sequence; I finished the novel in one afternoon. The underlying message left me raptly flipping the pages until the very end. Only real beef is the ending; it is the first in a planned trilogy, so I understand the need to leave some open plotlines; however, it seemed very abrupt. I eagerly await further installments in the series and applaud Porter on a wonderful and powerful debut novel!