Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I first heard that there was going to be a sequel to one of my favourite books, Lorali, at an event that Laura Dockrill did in the spring. Since then, Aurabel has been one of my most anticipated releases, as the first book left me on quite the cliffhanger. In order to discuss everything, I’ll have to spoil some of the events, but don’t worry, asterisks will warn you!
Aurabel takes place two years after Lorali, and tells you how both Lorali and Opal have adjusted to life above water level, the former as a regular teenage girl and the latter as a national celebrity. But, the title may have given you a clue that we also get introduced to a glorious new mermaid whose hella gay and here to save the day (more on that later). Besides the girls’ individual troubles, you also have a power-struggle beneath the surface as the new king introduces his mer-son, Kai, who looks suspiciously like someone else we know…now, let’s stop being cryptic and talk details.
Aurabel – She is such a fantastic new character. She’s badass, confident and cool, with a super cute girlfriend to boot. We’re told in Lorali that sexuality isn’t really a thing for mermaids – they’ll ‘tesselate’ with anybody, but it wasn’t really deliberated on and I love that it was here. Aurabel and her girlfriend, Murray, are great together, and the sense of loyalty they had towards each other was making my heart beat twice as fast as usual. Basically, I’m all about gay mermaids, and would like more of this please, thank you.
Aurabel’s main conflict is the fact that her tail gets bitten off by a sea monster and she has to craft a new one out of bits of machinery she finds at the bottom of the ocean. She’s like the Cinder of the Whirl and I was here for it.
Lorali – She’s still as loveable as she was, but this time with a mission. She and Rory were like Romeo and Juliet – from completely different worlds, literally. Their relationship was what made the first book so interesting. Then, ***spoilers ahead*** Rory drowned. But, at the end, we’re given hope in his claim, ‘I Remember’, that he’s been taken in by the merpeople and given a new life. This is where Kai comes in. He’s Rory. So, now, the roles have switched. Rory’s underwater, Lorali’s on land, and she’s not sure if she can go back to the water. Of course, we wouldn’t have a story if she couldn’t. Lorali learns more about her heritage and what makes her the most special snowflake in the sea, and finally gets to reunite with…Kai. If she doesn’t drown with her human lungs, first. ***spoilers no more***
Opal – She was crazy, man. She wants to be human, as she kept her tail, unlike Lorali. The forums devoted to her in the first book are still going strong, and have only got more obsessive in two years. Now, she’s got a waterpark opening. The critique of celebrity and fan culture is a genius addition to these books, and I was always amused by how ridiculous the fangirls were.
I really enjoyed Aurabel, but I certainly didn’t enjoy Aurabel as much as Lorali. The new character really made an impact on me, and I’m so glad that this book exists if just to wrap up the loose ends from the first book that I was always curious about. I’d really recommend reading the books back-to-back, as the reread was really satisfying, and you can really appreciate all the little nods to and expansions of the first book. I’m giving it a solid 3.5 stars, because any mermaid book is making my happy, no matter what.