Lorali – Laura Dockrill
Laura Dockrill is a name you hear bandied about a lot, I’m forever being told that she’s a genius, but don’t know very much about her, which is why I was so excited to see a copy of her latest book, Lorelai come into my possession.
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?
I don’t think I have ever read a book about mermaids before, which is something that really needs addressing, because mermaids. I’m so glad that my introduction to this genre was this book because, although a little hard to get into at the beginning, Lorali is a fabulous read. We have mythology, we have world building, we have completely normal British teens, we have action, we have adventure, we have pirates, like this book pretty much covers all and every base and it does it wonderfully.
The beginning, as I said is a little hard to get into, it is confusion, a mash of short sentences and a staccato feel, once you get onto chapter two, which introduces one of our heroes, Rory, you realise exactly why the opening was so confusing and messy, you realise the brilliance of this whole book and you realise that you’re in for a bit of a wild ride. The book is split into a number of different chapters, all told from varying points of view. We have the aforementioned Rory, who has just turned sixteen and has spent his birthday rescuing a naked girl from the beach and getting soaked in a storm, we have Lorali herself who is a bundle of mystery that is deliciously unraveled, we have the sea itself, which is actually one of the more interesting characters, we have fellow mermaid Opal and we have the pirates, plus a whole host of other fascinating characters. Each character’s voice shines through these chapters wonderfully, I’m not often a fan of books that swap narrative because I find they often merge into one, not with this, we have articulate Rory who drops into teenage British slang at the drop of a hat and is both mystified by and protective of Lorali, we have Lorali, who finds Hastings and this strange world new and wonderful, but also frightening and confusing. We have Opal who is confident and out spoken. Not a single one of these voices sound the same which was brilliantly refreshing. As was this entire concept to be honest, like I said, I have never read a book about mermaids before, I didn’t even really consider that this was a thing, the story line and the themes of this book were fresh and despite its fantastical nature, was a little too real sometimes.
Lorali is the kind of novel that leaves you wanting to sacrifice sleep so you can remain inside this eccentric, wonderfully created world a little longer. It’s funny, it’s heart warming, it’s thrilling, it’s emotional and by the end you’ll feel a deep and terrible loss that the book is over and these characters will no longer tickle your imagination. (That’s what re reads are for I guess!)
I know now why everyone tells me that Laura Dockrill is a genius, this book is incredible, her writing style is addictive and I am eagerly searching for more Laura Dockrill and more mermaid fiction. Plus I’m told she is friends with Kate Nash. Squad goals if ever I head them. In fact, I enjoyed this so much that I have given it my Nick Fury Seal of Approval.