Published: 2nd July 2015
Number of Pages: 352
Book: For Review*
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary, Romance, Coming-Of-Age, Comedy, Adventure, YA
Recommended Age: 14+
Contains: Violence, Swearing, Alcohol, Smoking and Sexual Assault References
Author's Site: Laura Dockrill
Colourful, raw, brave, rich and fantastical - this mermaid tale is not for the faint-hearted.
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?
“You can't go back. You know you can't…”
Rory is just eating chips on the beach in Hastings, chilling on his birthday, when a storm appears from nowhere, sending him running for cover. Under the pier, he finds a girl. She's naked, new and different. He becomes her protector, but he doesn't know what he's let himself in for.
Because the girl is called Lorali and she isn't just a girl. She used to be a mermaid – but she has run away from everything.
And now the Mer are terrified – the Queen is causing storms, Opal (the human-expert mermaid) contacts her human helpers (who are a group of young, well-kempt pirates) and they are searching the seas desperately.
When they realise that the princess might not be hiding under a rock in the deep blue somewhere, however, the Queen is forced to take drastic measures – ones that will change the world (both above and below the ocean) forever...
I received a shell in the post in March. It was beautiful and came with the cryptic note #ReadingLorali. And yes, I really wanted to be reading Lorali. So when we saw Laura Dockrill at the HotKey and Piccadilly Bloggers' Brunch, heard her brilliant speech about Lorali and saw the utterly gorgeous cover, I knew I had to read it. As soon as freaking possible. And so I started reading on the train home and fell in love. This isn't like any other mermaid story I’ve ever read. It most certainly has that unique Laura Dockrill stamp. It is brilliant and it is bonkers and it is just so. much. fun!
The characters were all very varied, very unique and totally crazy. Lots of them had very intriguing backstories as well. But what really made them all awesome was how absolutely freaking bonkers they all were! Gotta love the eccentric ones!
Lorali was hilarious – so sweet and naive and funny and innocent and adorable. Even if she was a little unworldly, she was still so brave and lovely and strong. She was also so funny: like how clueless Ariel is in The Little Mermaid - that's a little what Lorali's like and it is so sweet and funny!
Rory was really sweet and so so kind - especially for a teenager. He was just so protective and adorable too – him and Lorali together were really cute! Even if they did have a bit of an insta-love situation going on, it was still so darn cute!
The pirates were, according to Laura, based on the "fittest guys ever". They were admittedly hilarious, bonkers, over-the-top and pretty damn badass – even if they were rather sexist and intimidating at times! I found them so funny! Egor was probably my favourite – gotta love a guy who sews! But all of them: they were so crazy, so funny and witty and snarky. And yeah, Opal, we get the crushes... trust us...
Flynn was so sweet and odd. And his granddad, Iris, was brilliant too! And Opal: she was bonkers and funny – like oh-so-many of the characters!
The personification of the Sea was fascinating – she was motherly and nurturing, cold and wild. Her voice was beautiful, her chapters varied and intriguing.
I was seriously impressed by the diverse kinds and styles of writing Laura used in Lorali. I mean, seriously. The beautiful lyrical writing of the sea, the rough talk of the pirates, Rory's teenaged voice and Lorali's poetical, soft way of speaking... It was all so brilliant and so addictive. And then there were the newspaper clippings and the blog pieces and... sigh. I really did love Laura's writing in this – and the split POVs!
This plot... I never knew what to expect. Never. It was as wild and unpredictable as the sea. I was literally clueless as to what would come next and was hooked from the word go. Full of twists, turns, insanity and laughter, Lorali was definitely a wave I loved to ride and never wanted to end – even when I was rushing so I could find out what happened! And the ending... it was so unexpected. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it: on one hand love, it's perfect... on another, not so much... I don't know!
There were parts of the book that were really hard to read – Iris' backstory being one example... This may be a book about mermaids, but don't go expecting a Disney movie interpretation of mermaids. Lorali might be a book about mermaids, with pirates and sirens and the sea, but it is very much set in the real world, with real world problems and issues. It is what made this book even more special and unique.
Well, that and the mermaid mythology, which was intriguing and, I think, really unique. To begin with, it's unclear how Mer are made, where they come from, but soon it's all brilliantly clear, thanks to one of our narrators, The Sea. And their home, the Whirl, deep in the sea, the palace and the Queen Keppel and the tapestries of the Mer and just... everything. It was genius, creative, beautiful and so different and dark at times. Somehow, Laura made this otherworldly Mer universe feel real and true – thanks to the diverse backgrounds the Mer came from and the way she doesn't shy away from darkness, without covering everything with it.
I'm a bonkers gal myself. I love being 'special' as my family calls it. And ergo I adored Lorali to absolute pieces. It was just so much fun – so funny and insane and addictive. This is a must-read for all teenagers who still think mermaids rock – but wish they were a little less Little Mermaid esque. It is a book for people who love to laugh, but love a brilliant, magical storyline just as much. It is just a must-read! It was so insane and so brilliant! Yay Lorali!
Y’know, I read very few truly original books. But Lorali was utterly original, utterly amazing and utterly addictive. It hooked me from the very first word, reeled me in until I was lost in the blue waters of the Mer world and the rocky waves of the storyline and didn't let me go – even after I had finished reading. And now I am so very desperate for a sequel. I'm just not ready to give these wacky mermaids and characters up yet...
4½ Out of 5
4½ Out of 5
Read this book if you liked:
Darcy Burdoch by Laura Dockrill
The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward
The Lynburn Legacy Series by Sarah Rees Brennan
* This book was received from HotKey in exchange for an honest review
** Quotes used are from a proof copy and may have been changed in the finished book