I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Hot Key Books Genres: YA
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? - from Goodreads
Hot Key Books recently very kindly sent me a signed ARC of Lorali by Laura Dockrill, so before I launch into my thoughts on this book I just want to say “thank you” to them.
This is the first mermaid novel I’ve ever read. I really wasn’t sure to expect, though if I’m honest I think I was expect something a bit light and fluffy. This isn’t a light and fluffy novel, it’s gritty and a bit dark at times and I really liked that about this YA novel.
It’s Rory’s 16th birthday and he’s just been down to the pier in Hastings to celebrate with a bag of chips – just as he used to do with his Dad before he left. Sheltering from a storm, Rory finds a naked girl washed up under the pier. It turns out that this girl is Lorali, a mermaid and princess of The Whirl.
Lorali’s family are looking for her, terrified that she has suffered the same fate as her Grandmother – abduction by pirates and a long, slow death. So Lorali’s mother, the Queen, has requested that Opal, the Mer who corresponds with the Walker world, spread the word of her daughter’s disappearance. Opal enlists the help of the Ablegares, a group of well kempt young pirates who value good food and a tidy appearance to try to track down the missing princess.
The book is split into chapters from the perspectives of Rory, Lorali and The Sea. I particularly love the chapters by The Sea. They provide a really interesting narrative that fleshes out the story, as well as adding a totally different perspective too.
This is a creative, imaginative story that contains some good messages, as I’ve come to expect from a YA novel – Rory’s fragile mother turns out to not be quite as fragile as he thought, Rory struggles with the disappearance of hid Dad & I like the way that aspect is dealt with. Then there’s betrayal, love, friendship, heartache… and there’s freaky bird girls (you have to read the book to find out more).
The story of how the Mer people come to be is a particularly interesting part of this book. It touches upon numerous issues, and is really quite poignant.
There was one thing about this book that did grate on me though. While there were lots of “current” references, such as to PR companies and Twitter and the like, which I liked, it brought the story into a world that we can relate to, one thing I was less fond of were references to products – Diptyque candles, Chanel etc. It’s probably me being particularly grumpy (and old). But why such expensive products? Why, when this is a YA book, further glamourise expensive products that the vast majority of us aren’t going to be able to afford. It just didn’t sit well with me. That said, these gifts were PR gifts to Opal, and that is something that happens a lot these days, so yes it’s real but … ah, I don’t know, I just didn’t like it.
Random old person rambly rant over…
Overall though, I enjoyed this book. I found the Mer world really interesting and well built. The chapters from the perspective of The Sea were absolute winners for me, I really enjoyed them. All in all this book had a very good balance of romance, action and emotion. If you want to read a YA mermaid tale that is gritty rather than fluffy then I’d say Lorali is worth a read.