Review Blog

Aug 18 2015

Lorali by Laura Dockrill

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Hot Key Books 2015. ISBN 9781471404221
(Ages: 10+) Lorali follows the story of mermaid princess, Lorali, and her transition to land after surfacing (growing legs). Having been taught all her life about the perils of the human world, Lorali is understandably non-plussed by its wonders (television, cake and music). As she struggles to find a place in this unfamiliar world she is helped along by friends of fortune and the unlikely lighthouse keeper who had loved a woman who became a mer.
It is the night of Rory's sixteenth birthday and he and his friends are looking to get wasted; however first Rory has to visit the beach at Hastings. When the storm hits Rory runs to the old pier for shelter only to find he isn't alone. A young woman, about his age is lying there completely naked. Like any awkward teenager, he quickly covers up her nudity and takes her home. She doesn't speak throughout the trip and Rory makes the assumption that she's a mute, or a runaway. Unsure what else to do with her, he puts her up for the night, forging the beginning of their friendship. Meanwhile the Whirl is in an uproar and Queen Keppel wants everyone on the lookout for her missing daughter. After recruiting the Ablegares (pirates), she rashly, she sends Opal Zeal a walker-obsessed mer, up to the surface to enlist the help of humans. Opal, who has always dreamed of meeting humans, does gladly and quickly looses herself in her fame. The mermaids aren't the only ones looking for Lorali; a ship of poachers are also making their way to Hastings, eager to harvest the tapestry (tail) of the mer princess.
This is a fantasy novel set with an overlap in Hastings reality. The author leaves no doubt about the setting, making several references to the traditional haddock and chips and incorporating slang effectively. Dockrill gives her mermaids a unique spin by erasing reproduction and celebrating a system of salvation. Even her sirens are different from traditional telling. I quite enjoyed reading Lorali and would recommend for girls aged ten and up.
Kayla Gaskell

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