I love being surprised. I wouldn’t normally be drawn to a mermaid book and I’m not sure that I’ve ever read one before, but I picked up Lorali because:
1) After reading Hi So Much, I trusted Laura Dockrill to create amazing contemporary characters
2) It’s so shiny! And pretty! And BLUE!
3) It was my book club’s pick for August
I started reading, not knowing what to expect, and then, a few hours later, I had finished.
Lorali begins with the arrival of a naked mermaid on Hastings pier, discovered by Rory on his sixteenth birthday. Lorali has turned her back on her destiny to be an underwater princess in the Whirl, and has become human – a walker. With beautiful, well-written characters and a story like no other, Lorali takes us under the sea.
I thoroughly enjoyed the alternating perspectives: Lorali, Rory and, yes, The Sea. I knew about this unusual perspective before starting the book and I wasn’t sure how it would work, but it does a wonderful job of constructing the world for the reader, both the history and the present. I unexpectedly enjoyed discovering how the mermaids came to be and how their world was kept secret from humans – plus all the other creatures and antics under the sea, like fellow mermaid Orla, who revels in being a celebrity!
Laura Dockrill’s poetic writing combined with a modern setting and relatable teenage characters made me feel comfortable, as if I were reading a summery young adult contemporary story about family, friendship and falling in love, but with a twist. I found Lorali’s naivety and enthusiasm charming, and Rory a loyal and friendly support. And you can’t have a mermaid without a pirate: the Abelgare boys – Otto, Oska and Jasper – were both delightful and chilling to read about.
Dark, often violent and with a little social commentary thrown in, Lorali is unique, inventive and impressed me a whole lot.
Published: 2nd July 2015
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Source: Thank you to the publisher for providing this book for review!