- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Hot Key Books (2 July 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1471404226
- ISBN-13: 978-1471404221
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 113,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Lorali: A colourful mermaid novel that’s not for the faint-hearted Paperback – 2 Jul 2015
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I'm just a few chapters in but already smitten by LORALI ... it's just as crazy, unpredictable as you'd expect. --The Bookseller (Children's Previews)
I'm just a few chapters in but already smitten by LORALI ... it's just as crazy, unpredictable as you'd expect. (The Bookseller (Children's Previews))
Dockrill has used her unique writing style to great aplomb, creating a fantasy world that is still absolutely current and entirely absorbing ... A fantastic read that is raw, beautiful and bursting with fiercely gorgeous prose. (We Love This Book)
I love Laura's writing. This book turns your brain into an octopus of words. (Gemma Cairney BBC)
Filled with mermaids, pirates, bird-type-women and plenty of adventure, the plot of Lorali sucks you in immediately and keeps you reading, providing plenty of unexpected turns along the way! (The Cosy Reader)
It's a book that made me giggle, cry, and flail, which for me is the mark of an intense read. (Huxtales)
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The story is told from three povs; Rory, Lorali and The Sea (yes The Sea!). The writing style is very recognisable to a Brit, with Rory’s internal dialogue wonderfully believable for a teenage boy, his drive to protect Lorali never once feeling contrived. Similarly with the beautifully named Lorali. Wide eyed, naïve and never less than truly adorable, her chapters are made up of literal thoughts and sentence fragments, bringing a heart-warming honesty to her chapters. Thankfully, there’s no insta-love here, rather an organic love story of sorts between two characters more alike than they realise, both yearning for something more, stepping out from childhood into the unknown and beginning to sense the vastness of the world around them. It’s awkward, it’s uncertain, and it’s true.
The Sea is a strange concept for a pov, but it serves as the narrator, addressing the reader directly like an old friend filling you in on the gossip over a coffee and filling in the gaps in the story both above and below the sea. In any other books, these chapters could be seen as info dumps, but they’re so fresh and well written I hardly noticed. We learn the history of the Mer, of the pirates who chase them, those who aid them, their history, and it’s great! Laura Dockrill strives for realism, and does a fantastic job of bringing this fantasy world believably into the present day. There’s no “once upon a time” here. Mermaids and “walkers” live in the same world and this is nicely done. I adored the juxtaposition of the worlds above and beneath the waves. Having visited many a seaside town in my life, and Laura Dockrill’s descriptions are perfect! Similarly, the Mer world is beautifully realised, from the harpy-like Sirens to the petrified “underwater forest” with a tragically beautiful history.
I’ve made no secret of my love of authors that aren’t afraid to “go there” rather than glossing over the darker inevitability of the worlds that they have built, and Laura Dockrill certainly does not do that here. And believe it or not that’s my only slight criticism of the novel. The Mer are more often than not abused women rescued by the sea and that, combined with the casual chauvinism of the Ablegare “pirates” who assist them, sits a little uneasily alongside the “star crossed lovers” story. Sure, women rule below the waves, the victims now beautiful and fierce, but it felt it a little bit too little too late. Similarly, going from reading about Lorali decorating her hiding place in one chapter, to hearing about the gang rape (albeit not explicitly) of a minor character in another is a bit jarring at times, the misogyny of some characters and the theme of feminism sitting oddly side by side.
Even with the occasional clash of tones though, the rich story is a gripping and hauntingly beautiful read. I choked back tears on more than one occasion. And the ending…oh the ending! I won’t give anything away, but I will just say that the ending had me literally crying. Simply put, Lorali is a beautiful book, albeit not one for the faint-hearted. This is a fairy tale set in the real world, and it doesn’t shy away from all that brings with it. A wonderful read!
Lorali is a mermaid Princess who, as Ariel did before her, decides that her time underwater has come to an end, leading her to the join the world of the humans, or Walkers. Her new home of choice – Hastings.
Rory, a swaggering teenager from Hastings, is the one who discovers Lorali, stark naked and alone. Rescuing her from torrential rain, Rory becomes drawn into Lorali’s plight as they are chased by dapper pirates and grubby Dr Marten wearing sirens.
Lorali (the novel) is narrated in chapters between Rory, Lorali herself and THE SEA, who is actually really hilarious. The Sea’s chapters tend to focus on the current or historical world of the Mer, and follows Mer-Walker liaison Opal Zeal as she attempts to make contact with humans in order to find the missing princess.
Dockrill takes a spin on the mermaid stories, with the introduction of mythology around their creation and their tapestries (their tails), alongside the very real threat they face from poaching. The world she creates is rich and believable, and I’m very much looking forward to returning there with the sequel Aurabel, due in June.
Let me get real a second though. What starts off as a witty, brilliant story of mermaids and embarrassing teen boys and lighthouses suddenly takes a turn at one point and becomes incredibly dark. I ended the book needing to lie down in a dark room to process all sixteen of my emotions.
It’s a book that made me giggle, cry, and flail, which for me is the mark of an intense read. Also I can only assume that Dockrill is also a Gilmore fan, which is always a point in someone’s favour.
You can already preorder the sequel Aurabel about a disabled steampunk mermaid here BUT BE CAREFUL BECAUSE THE DESCRIPTION SPOILS LORALI.
What to read next:
The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury (no I’ll never stop recommending this one).
Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff
Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriott
Thank you kindly to Hot Key Books who continue to keep me in good books. You are angels.
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