After my high of books that I've loved (Tonight The Streets Are Ours, A Little Life, Carry On,...) I was bound to hit a book that I might enjoy, but I can't just only rave about. For me, that book is Lorali, a read that has left me very conflicted.
Looking after a naked girl he found washed up under Hastings pier isn't exactly how Rory had imagined spending his sixteenth birthday. But more surprising than finding her in the first place is discovering where she has come from.
Lorali is running not just from the sea, not just from her position as princess, but her entire destiny. Lorali has rejected life as a mermaid, and become human.
But along with Lorali's arrival, and the freak weather suddenly battering the coast, more strange visitors begin appearing in Rory's bemused Sussex town. With beautifully coiffed hair, sharp-collared shirts and a pirate ship shaped like a Tudor house, the Abelgare boys are a mystery all of their own. What are they really up to? Can Rory protect Lorali? And who from? And where does she really belong, anyway?
The Goodreads plot summary of Lorali had me super excited about the book. I'm a girl who grew up on The Little Mermaid and the idea of a mermaid story with a twist made my heart beat a little bit faster.
And on the surface (yes, I used an ocean pun), the story works really well. Lorali is an interesting character and her amazement at everything we humans take for granted was amazing to read. Even though there's no way to know how a mermaid would react when put into this situation, I feel like Laura Dockrill really drew a realistic image that made it easy to relate to Lorali.
Rory, the guy who finds her, is a typical teenage boy. He finds a naked girl on the beach and obviously he freaks out. Again, he was realistic enough for the reader to relate to, though I felt like his instant connection to Lorali was a bit forced and weird. They barely know each other, how can they be in love? (I would mark that as a spoiler, but come on, you read the plot summary - it's not)
What troubled me most about the book was the multiple perspective. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a big fan of more than one character narrating a story and it has to be really well done for me to enjoy it. Unfortunately with Lorali, I just didn't love the narration of "The Sea". Setting aside the oddness of picking the sea as narrator (Lorali's mother and a pirate could have served the same function just as well), I just didn't enjoy the voice at all. I got the feeling the sea is supposed to represent a motherly being that is bigger and more evolved than humans; I found the voice cold and too detached for many of the very important events that were put into her narration. I would have loved to hear the voice of Lorali's mother more or even any other merperson. Just not the sea.
This book is thus tricky to rate; on the one hand, I really appreciated the originality and the realism of Lorali, however contradictory that might be. On the other, I felt like Lorali was the only really real narrator and the only one whose voice I appreciated. The plot was good, but at times felt far-fetched and too convenient. Lorali was an enjoyable read, but I don't think it will stay with me for very long, so 3.5 stars out of 5.