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Waking Storms

Review

Waking Storms

In LOST VOICES, which kicked off Sarah Porter’s trilogy, Luce broke the timahk when she sang to Dorian and let him live. Mermaids can sing to whomever they want, but only because they then drown the lucky human who gets to hear their songs. However, Luce swam Dorian to safety after her tribe drowned his family, and now she’s alone and tribeless.

Dorian is alone, too, and has to live with relatives and deal with the death of his parents and sister on his own. His new high school is so different from the huge one he left behind in Chicago, and even though he knows he should be trying to make new friends, Dorian can’t get a strange girl’s face out of his head. Since all he can remember from the accident is that the girl was beautiful and otherworldly --- oh, and she had a tail --- he can’t exactly talk about it with just anyone.

"Like any good middle novel in a trilogy, WAKING STORMS leaves plenty of strings untied to keep you hungry for the final installment. But unlike many weaker series, this book also stands up completely on its own two feet (fins?) and is as deep, dark and magical as LOST VOICES."

As coincidence would have it, Luce and Dorian find each other on a beach, and even though Dorian knows he should hate her, they forge a relationship based on their shared feelings of loneliness and being different from everyone else. Luce can’t help feeling like she was right to save Dorian. She senses something in him that says he could almost be the type of lost soul who would turn into a mermaid at an emotional breaking point, except that that only happens to girls. And Dorian is desperate to “save” Luce, if only he can figure out how to turn her back into a human.

At the same time, Luce’s old tribe is fraying under the misguided leadership of its new queen, and the entire Alaskan coast feels different, as if things are on the verge of changing. Humans seem to be purposely avoiding the coves and coasts where the mermaids live, and killer whales are becoming more brazen in their attempts to make the mermaids their lunch. When Luce saves a strange mermaid from a fishing net and finds that she is a centuries-old mermaid originally from Greece, she becomes determined to make some sort of difference, even if she doesn’t know why or how.

LOST VOICES was pitch-perfect, and I was a little worried that its sequel, WAKING STORMS, would be either too similar or too much of a disappointment. Thankfully, it’s neither. Porter has crafted another winner, one that lives up to its predecessor but stands alone as its own compelling story. Whereas LOST VOICES dealt with recovering from abuse through finding strength inside oneself and in community and friendship, WAKING STORMS is about maturing. With a light but not unserious touch, Porter pits Luce against herself, Luce against the elements, Luce against love, and Luce against evil, forcing her to make a series of grown-up decisions that illustrate how no choice is ever entirely free of sacrifices or consequences.

Like any good middle novel in a trilogy, WAKING STORMS leaves plenty of strings untied to keep you hungry for the final installment. But unlike many weaker series, this book also stands up completely on its own two feet (fins?) and is as deep, dark and magical as LOST VOICES. A reader could pick it up not having read the previous title and be fine, while fans of the first novel surely will not be disappointed.

Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gomez on August 19, 2012

Waking Storms
by Sarah Porter