"The Twice Lost" is the third book in the series that began with "Lost Voices" and continued with "Waking Storms" by Sarah Porter. This last book in the series really serves to showcase how Porter's writing has improved and become polished and as fluid and graceful as the environment in which her mermaid characters live.
"Lost Voices" begins the trilogy introducing Luce, a fourteen-year-old who falls from a cliff after her uncle attempts to rape her. Instead of dying on the rocks, she finds herself in the freezing ocean transformed into a mermaid. She finds other mermaids who also were transformed after being brutalized by humans. Luce loves the swimming and her beautiful singing voice until she realizes that mermaids have an uncontrollable urge to sing humans to their death. Luce refuses to believe that this is what she will do as a mermaid -- kill innocent humans.
Luce's character is a likable one from the start. She tries to make the best of her situation even when she thinks her father is dead -- killed in a fishing accident. Later she wonders if mermaids killed him. As a mermaid, Luce becomes stronger.
She also has a unique talent. Her singing can transform water and control it. That talent becomes extremely important later in the series. Throughout the series, Luce grows and matures as a rational and compassionate person.
In "The Twice Lost," Luce is able to use her new-found maturity and compassion (not only for mermaids but also for humans and all life) to lead the mermaids when they find themselves attacked by a crazy government official.
Friendship has been a theme throughout the series. Porter explores different kinds of friendships and how cruelty can play a part in how girls treat each other. It's interesting, also, how Porter explores themes of love. Luce loves a mermaid, Nausicaa, while also loving a human boy, Dorian.
In the story, Luce thinks more about Nausicaa when she's in difficult situations, and she finds that her love for Nausicaa helps her make decisions and get through deadly encounters. Luce's love for Dorian -- not so much.
Porter's writing is powerful and gripping. She uses both description and dialogue to great advantage, and in the second book, she brings in government officials and the FBI, who are aware of the mermaids and are investigating them. Readers will end the second book with the burning question of how it will all be reconciled between the mermaids and the humans. This careful plotting and writing will have readers anxious to find out how this action-filled final book ends.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, for review purposes.
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