Mermaid fiction + Summer = The perfect read. I was beyond excited to read another YA about mermaids, as ‘Deep Blue’ by Jennifer Donnelly fell a little below the mark. I knew what I wanted from this book, and Dockrill certainly delivered, I couldn’t put it down! Warning: there will be an excess of exclamation points in this review! (!!!)
A mermaid gets found on a beach. That’s pretty much how all of these things start, right? Lorali, the runaway princess gets found by Rory, the teenage boy. Trouble ensues. I LOVED it. There’s nothing I love more, actually, than non-human characters discovering human things. I really liked how Lorali’s wonder with the human world was captured and her naivety towards everything’s usage. Not quite Ariel standard, mistaking a fork for a brush, but still super cute.
Under the sea (Sebastian voice: under the sea!) trouble is afoot in the search for Lorali and how she will be recovered. Teams are sent out: Opal, the human loving mermaid, and the Ablegares, a group of well dressed, slick haired, slightly suspicious pirates. The range of characters was amazing, but I’ll get to that later.
Not a lot else happened, to be honest. The book is only called ‘Lorali’ after all. But do you really need more plot for a mermaid-on-land adventure? I thought not.
But, at the same time, the plot twisted and turned places I never expected. There was romance, betrayal, discovery, death, and mystery. This book literally had it all. Where it ended, you’d have no idea how it got there from the beginning and that’s what made ‘Lorali’ such an addicting read.
Rory: An excellent perspective, and candidate to find a mermaid. Your typical teenage boy. The way he dealt with Lorali, and trying to hide her was hilarious and full of angst. The relationship between the two was so sweet!! Rory had a lot going on before Lorali turned up, so it was interesting to see him balance his friends and his mother along with a rogue mermaid. If I were in his situation, I would have done the exact same thing.
Lorali: OOOH, she was so great. Innocent and adorable, you just wanted to hug her. Her perspective was so fresh and ingeniously told in a bunch of short and minor sentences as she tried to wrap her head around the human world. Her reactions and emotions were so new and forceful, probably the best mermaid perspective I’ve read. (Out of four mermaid books, this is excellent.)
The Sea: I know what you’re thinking. The sea was a character?! Yes. The sea had a perspective and it was a stroke of brilliance. It meant that all the character underwater, or close to the water could have their tales told in almost third person, with the occasional first person comment from the sea, without the book feeling too bitty with lots of perspectives. The sea’s description of itself, I guess, was beautiful and charming. I think my favourite sea narrative was Queen Keppel. A protective and worried mother, there was every type of character in this book. Unbelievable.
The way the mythology of mermaids was revealed was amazing and unlike anything else. Instead of normal scaled tails, they had tapestries, which was eventually form to kind of predict their future and spirit of their life. Lorali’s tapestry was a huge scandal, hence the running away. The descriptions were so captivating and easy to imagine, Dockrill really understood how to write descriptions well!
Also, the formation of mermaids through salvation was interesting. Every main mermaid had a backstory that was discovered throughout ‘Lorali’ that had me so hooked into the world, it was no wonder the human characters all wanted to dive underwater and join them! Such originality was displayed, that’s hard to find in a genre that a lot of people have already written.
Overall, I’d give ‘Lorali’ 4.5 stars. Almost perfect. It was only the ending that was dissatisfying. Not to the extent that it ruined the book, but I just thought the mermaid lore had been set up for a happy ending, where everyone could be together how they wanted. I just loved it. Seriously, read it if you get the chance, you won’t regret it!