Last week, my mom, my brother, and I flew to San Francisco for five days.  Now, this post is not going to be about high-brow literary tourism; it’s about my own most recent reading experiences, and to me, San Francisco is home of books like Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series and Sarah Porter’s The Twice Lost.

Lost Voices3  Golden Gate1

One of the places I definitely wanted to check out was the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park, where Toby visits her friend Lily the undine.

Tea Gardens  Koi

The Moon Bridge is the gateway into Lily's knowe.

The Moon Bridge is the gateway into Lily’s knowe.

On Saturday, we met up with my cousin Daiva, who drove us to Half Moon Bay, home of Connor and Elizabeth’s selkie clan.

Half Moon Bay  Half Moon Bay2

Ok, so I did also visit the famous City Lights Bookstore and Vesuvio Cafe/bar, frequent haunt of Beat Generation poets like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.

City LightsVesuvio CafeVesuvio4

From the former, I got myself Patricia Monaghan’s Encyclopedia of Goddesses & Heroines.  From the latter, a Pyrat Punch.  This was a fantastic week.

Goddesses & Heroines

A.C.H. Smith. Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: the Novelization. Los Angeles: Archaia, 2014.

After years of sighing at the $40+ copies of the out-of-print Labyrinth novelization, I was thrilled to hear about the newly released hardcover edition (for just $20!). And for the most part, it was awesome! A.C.H. Smith did a fine job fleshing out the story with Sarah’s thought processes and evolving ability to think from other people’s points of view instead of just her own.

Sarah steeled herself to approach closely. She felt its warm breath on her face as she stood beside the beast and twisted herself down from the waist to get a look at it the right way up. What she saw surprised her. The great mouth that had looked so grim, with its turned-down corners, had actually been, of course, smiling sweetly at her. Gosh, she reflected, it must often be like that for poor Toby, when people lean over him from the pillow of his crib. [1]

What I feel more uncomfortable about is the way Smith portrayed the Fireys. With lines like, “Well, that ain’t no problem”… and “Holy Mo!”… and “Why, shoot. We ain’t that wild”… and “Ain’t we a-showin’ you a good time?”… is anyone else reminded a bit of the Dumbo crows? In the movie, the Fireys were fun dancing Muppets, but in the book they’re portrayed as uneducated hooligans – “just crazy good-timers, out of their skulls.” [2]

One other thing I didn’t like was the lesson Sarah took from the ballroom scene – that “[s]omehow, it had all been her fault. Those men who pawed her, Jareth trying so rudely to force a kiss upon her—had she been truly innocent, they would not have behaved like that toward her, would they?” [3] Sure, blame the victim of sexual harassment, because she must’ve somehow deserved it.

Other than those two problems, the book stands pretty well by itself as a fairy tale coming-of-age quest. And after the story itself, we get to see some of Brian Froud’s goblin illustrations and bits of Jim Henson’s journal, where he plotted his initial concepts for the movie – like a scene he imagined with a king and jester trapped in a cage, held by a “large Buddha type figure.” How neat would that have been?

______________________

[1] Pg. 99

[2] Pg. 118

[3] Pg. 163

Betsy Cornwell.  Tides.  Boston: Clarion, 2013.

Noah and Lo Gallagher are spending the summer with their grandmother, Dolores, on the Isles of Shoals.  Noah is there for a marine biology internship, while Lo hopes to spend the time drawing and painting — and hopefully ending her struggle with bulimia.  What they don’t expect is to get involved with a local pod of selkies searching for a lost child.

I found out about Tides from the Gay YA master list for books with bisexual characters — in this case, Dolores, who was once married to Noah and Lo’s grandfather, but now lives with her selkie sweetheart, Maebh.  I like how Cornwell draws a parallel between Dolores’ experiences and classic selkie folklore.

The ending — no spoilers — felt a bit too easily accomplished; I’ll just say that it’s one of those situations where the adults too easily allow the kids to confront a dangerous situation all by themselves.  One other random thing — it was a little confusing when Cornwell kept referring to Dolores as “Gemm.”  I’m guessing that’s Noah and Lo’s word for “grandma,” but I would’ve liked at least a brief explanation.

Overall, though, it’s a lovely selkie story.

~ ~ ~

Noelle Stevenson.  Nimona.  New York: HarperTeen, 2015.Nimona

A graphic novel from the creator of Lumberjanes. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a former knight turned supervillain in a kingdom that’s half medieval, half futuristic. Nimona is his new teenage shapeshifting sidekick with a dark past. Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin is the fancy-pants darling of the Institution of Law Enforcement & Heroics. It’s a story full of sword-fights, science, dragons, corrupt government shenanigans, and random sharks! It’s goofy, dark, and slightly meta.

~ ~ ~

Aimee Friedman.  Sea Change.  New York: Point, 2009.

I’m going to haiku this one…

Science-minded girl
Visits island where legends
Start to turn her head.

Miranda Merchant’s estranged grandmother dies, leaving her and her mother an estate on Selkie Island, off the coast of Georgia.  Miranda thinks they’re just going to clean out and sell the house, but the lore and locals start to weave their spell, especially when Miranda meets a strange boy on Siren Beach.  I personally would’ve liked more emphasis on the mer-lore than on the summer romances, but it was an enjoyable summer read overall.

Month of Shorts

May was Short Story Month, so over the past few weeks, in addition to sampling a few anthologies, I decided to tackle all of Seanan McGuire’s Toby stories/novellas.  Some highlights:

HomeImprovementUndeadEd“Through This House” — in between Late Eclipses and One Salt Sea, Toby enters the abandoned knowe of Goldengreen for the first time since solving Evening Winterrose’s murder.  But the knowe isn’t exactly welcoming to its new countess — found in the anthology Home Improvement: Undead Edition (subtitle: “Tales of haunted home repair and surreal estates”).  Certainly a unique premise for a short story collection, and it’s not just the typical house ghosts.  There are Buddhist spirits monitoring an ancient cave’s restoration, wizards installing home security systems, vampires (Charlaine Harris is one of the editors), and more.

“Rat-catcher” and “Forbid the Sea” — First is the short, bittersweet account of Tybalt’s rise to the RatCatcherthrone in Londinium’s Court of Fogbound Cats.  The second story is set ten years later, when the lonely king takes an impromptu vacation and meets a traveling selkie named Dylan.  But as we’ve seen throughout the Daye series, relationships with selkies seem fated to end in heartbreak.  It’s stories like these that show the best of McGuire’s style, much more subtle than in the Toby novels (as fun as those are).

FantasticAliceFantastic Alice, ed. Margaret Weis.  Wonderland meets the “real” world.  Modern folk find their problems answered either by visits from Lewis Carroll’s characters, or by being transported to Wonderland themselves.  Picture the Cheshire Cat as an apartment guard animal, or a Cheshire-esque con artist in Hollywood.  I only read the first few stories before the general tone got a bit too gloomy for my taste.  Note: contains mature themes/situations.

“Never Shines the Sun” and “The Fixed Stars” — two Luidaeg stories.  The first shows Annie’s firstNeverShinestheSun encounter with the child October Daye, before Toby’s first Choice.  The second is set many hundreds of years in the past, during a battle between the merlins and the Firstborn.  I would’ve liked more from the latter — more background, more info on who/what the merlins are and how they fit into McGuire’s Faerie.  And I would’ve liked to actually see Oberon, Titania, and/or Maeve first-hand.

Did you participate in Short Story Month?  What were some of your favorites?

Viva la Alice!

NowI'llTellYouEverythingPhyllis Reynolds Naylor.  Now I’ll Tell You Everything.  New York: Atheneum, 2013.

This was a pretty ambitious project for Naylor, creating a final book that covers not just a couple of months, but forty years.  I can see how that would get mixed reviews (as far as I’ve seen on Goodreads, anyway), some people saying it felt like Naylor rushed through Alice’s experiences.  Considering the length of the book, I was glad for the fast pace, and felt it balanced well between skimming through certain parts of Alice’s life vs. spending more time on other parts.  I also thought it balanced well between new material and nostalgic reminders of the previous books, the latter especially in the final chapter.

Some say the story feels like fanfiction, with Alice & co. living predictable lives, everyone finding the job he or she wanted, or that suits them best, no one suffering any horrible tragedies…it’s an overall feel-good story, which was fine with me.  It did start to drag on towards the end, and although I liked most of the last chapter, the bit at the very end felt way too cliche (you’ll have to see my Goodreads review for more spoilers details).

For what it was trying to do, I’d say the book did a nice job.  And I totally want someone to create a three-part bar like The Voyage/Temptation/Source, because that really would make an awesome bachelor/ette party spot.

. . . . .

My other Alice reviews:

Incredibly Alice
Alice on Board
My Top 10 Childhood Book Series

I hope everyone enjoyed Free Comic Book Day yesterday!  My brother and I hit three different spots, each getting +/- eight comics by the end.  My haul included:

Avatar: The Last Airbender (plus Plants vs. Zombies and Bandette), by Dark Horse Comics:  Three short one-shots in which Toph and Ty Lee visit the circus, a mad scientist alien creature builds a devious new invention, and a plucky young bandit plans an epic movie theater heist.

Boom! Studios’ Ten Year Celebration – 2015 Free Comic Book Day Special:  A collection of ten stories, including such titles as Labyrinth, Adventure Time, Peanuts, and Lumberjanes.  Of course I loved the Labyrinth story, “Wisdom & Idioms,” which features the classic comedy stylings of the Wiseman and his snarky bird hat thing.  I also really liked Mouse Guard: “Service to Seyan,” a sort of fairy tale about a grand afterlife city “where warriors of renown go to rest.”

Steampunk Goldilocks, by Rod Espinosa and Antarctic Press:  a really goofy adaptation in which sisters Goldi and Muffi (Miss Muffett) are called by their employer, the Dark Queen, to complete a heist at a bear-guarded bunker.  Here’s a brief interview of Espinosa by the FCBD crew.  I’m definitely curious about his other Steampunk Fables, like The Snow Queen and Red Riding Hood.

Excerpts from Super Mutant Magic Academy, by Jillian Tamaki, printed by Drawn & Quarterly.  Just last week, I read Etelka Lehoczky’s NPR review, which describes SMMA as a kind of parody of Harry Potter.  There are students with cat ears, lizard heads, invisibility powers, and of course Instagram accounts, engaging in such adventures as dueling bake sales, prom dress criticism, and gym class sexism recognition. StepAsidePops

Sharing the same book as SMMA are excerpts from Step Aside, Pops, Kate Beaton’s forthcoming Hark! A Vagrant! collection (to be released Sept. 2015).  Behold! The Mulder family plans to attend an Austen-esque X-Files ball…Julius Caesar plans his March wardrobe…the brutal “Black Prince” Edward is oddly remembered as “the Flower of English Chivalry”…and more historical/artistic/pop-culture shenanigans!

Cleopatra in Space, by Mike Maihack.  Graphix and Scholastic Press.  Excerpt from Book One: Target Practice.  Teenage Cleopatra VII accidentally sets off a time machine that sends her into the distant future, where she’s met by a group of talking cats that run a research and military defense pyramid during an interplanetary war.  It’s cute and intriguing, though the whole “You’re our prophesied teen savior!” thing has gotten old.

BBC’s Doctor Who:  Three one-shot adventures featuring Doctors 12, 11, and 10, respectively.  Here be electrically charged quartz planets, evil comic book viruses, and giant mud monsters in the laundry room!Flight Primer

Image Comics’ Flight Primer: An intro to the Flight collections (which I’ve reviewed more in-depth here), featuring two stories by Kazu Kibuishi and Jake Parker, respectively.  A guy and his faithful dog build their first airplane and hope for a non-disastrous maiden voyage.  A bird and a robot become best friends and have adorable adventures until winter arrives. GrimmFairyTales comics

Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales Halloween Special: Containing a very grim adaptation of W. W. Jacobs’ “The Monkey’s Paw.”  Three unsuspecting trick-or-treaters enter the haunted house of a scantily clad witch (apparently the friend of one kid’s mom), who tells them the further-twisted story of “The Monkey’s Paw.”  Yeah, this one was a bit too grim and twisted for me.ChocolateFrog

There was also a free mini-comic preview of the upcoming TNT show, The Last Ship.  You know, one of those killer-virus-pandemic stories.  Ooh, and one of the shops was selling Harry Potter Chocolate Frogs!

What were some of your favorite FCBD finds this year?

Edit 07/08/15:  A longer version of this review can now be found over at Sappho’s Torque.

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013.

Ah, the fascinating world of fandom.  I first discovered Fanfiction.net in early high school, when I was searching for evidence that I wasn’t the only fan of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, nor the only Sarah/Jareth shipper (and of course I wasn’t.  By any long shot in the universe).  I started posting my own fics around junior year, when I was deeply engulfed in the Harry Potter world, as well as in Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series.  Nothing on the level of Carry On, Simon, of course.

And then, in May of 2012, I discovered BBC’s Sherlock and fell head over heels for Johnlock.  Reading the “excerpts” from Cath’s Simon/Baz stories has definitely made me nostalgic for those early days in the Sherlock-dom, and had me jonesing for a re-read of my favorite five.

Rainbow Rowell gets it.  She gets the joy of expanding and exploring areas of a ‘verse where the original authors/creators haven’t gone, or don’t wish to go.  She also sees why some people might have problems with fanfiction — though, the jacket-flap exaggerates re: Cath’s professor’s attitude.  She never disparages fanfiction as a whole/its right to exist.  She just doesn’t like students turning in fanfiction for assignments (if I was a creative writing instructor, though, I would’ve made that clear in my syllabus, so there’d be no confusion later).

Rowell also gets how overwhelming college life + things back home + your own evolving sense of self can get.  So much so that, about halfway through, she started to hit a bit too close to home; it’s lucky the story was compelling enough to keep me going after a short break, and of course it’s a credit to Rowell for creating such relatable characters.

P.S. I totally want to know what Simon Snow and the Selkies Four is about.  Who are these four selkies??

P.S.2.  OMG Rowell is actually going to publish a Carry On book, which will actually be about Simon and Baz!  Sweet!

Pure Dead Magic

Back in September, on one of my last days in Wisconsin, I wandered up the street to the Little Free Library and discovered a tattered copy of Pure Dead Magic, by Debi Gliori.  Since I’d recently donated an item, by local LFL rules, the book was mine to keep.

Meet the Strega-Borgia family, who live in the Castle Strega-Schloss on the shores of Lochnagargoyle, just outside the Scottish town of Auchenlochtermuchty.  Baci is an amateur witch with, so far, more enthusiasm than ability.  Her husband, Luciano, is just trying to hold things together at Strega-Schloss (and steer clear of his notorious relatives back in Italy).  Twelve-year-old Titus and ten-year-old Pandora are determined to disabuse their latest visitor of the notion that she could be their new nanny.  Not-yet-two-year-old Damp thinks said visitor is quite lovely, actually.  And Flora McLachlan is much more savvy and helpful than any of the Strega-Borgias yet know.

There are also three mythical beasts, a moat-guarding crocodile, a pregnant pet rat, a sassy lipstick-wearing spider, and a cryogenically-preserved ancestor affectionately called Strega Nonna.

There are currently six books in the Pure Dead series, and I’ve just finished the third.  These stories are admittedly full of gross-out humor and some events that require a healthy set of suspension-of-disbelief goggles.  But they’re also funny and clever, and in the third book (Pure Dead Brilliant), baby Damp is obsessed with fairy tales at the same time as she’s developing her own magical abilities, which leads to some seriously adorable mishaps.  I didn’t as much appreciate the portrayal of overweight people as either odious villains or horrifying visions of the future; as I’ve mentioned before, it’s pure dead cliché at best, and not the kind of attitude I’d want to pass along to younger readers.

Otherwise, it’s a harmlessly goofy series that combines myth, cybermagic, a dash of history. and (in Book 2) some real estate intrigue.

Board Book Bonanza

Back in August, Rachel Smalter Hall of BookRiot offered a list of titles for the very newest readers – “A Bookish Parent’s Guide to Baby’s First Library.”  With titles like Moby Dick: an Ocean Primer and The Game of Let’s Go, the list inspired me to do my own exploration of the board book and Early Reader shelves.

Jennifer Adams’ and Alison Oliver’s BabyLit series, as Hall notes, uses classic literature to teach simple concepts like words, colors, numbers, and more.  The Sherlock Holmes primer, for instance, focuses on spooky sounds:

Sherlock1

Sherlock2

Of course, they baby-proof any tragic and/or disturbing elements.

MobyDick3LOL, guys, you got me!  Ha ha, now you’re all wet!

The books do include some quotes from the original story for parents to read aloud, so babies and toddlers can experience the beauty of language even if they can’t understand it yet.

MobyDick

Wuthering1Ok, guys, exposing babies to advanced vocabulary is awesome,
but this is really stretching it.

Someone in the comments section of Hall’s post mentioned Les Petits Fairytales, so of course I sought out The Little Mermaid next.

  LittleMermaid2

LittleMermaidLike the BabyLit books, Les Petit Fairytales generally stick to the cheerful parts of the story.

Then I found a few of the Gnome books by Rien Poortvliet.  They’re sweet stories that focus on daily/life rituals like morning greetings, school lessons, playtime and music.
 

Gnomes1     Gnomes2                             Gnomes3

CONTINUED

Page: 1 2

Yeah, anyone know if there’s an “official” term for a group of mermaids?  There’s a glory (or blessing) of unicorns, a parliament of owls, a murder of crows…  I tried Google-ing it, but all I found were guesses and hearsay, and one person wondering why the heck it even matters.  Way to be a spoilsport, that person.

Anyhoo, I’ve been on a serious mermaid kick lately, and it’s all Sarah Porter’s fault. Many months ago, while browsing in a Barnes & Noble, I saw this:

TheTwiceLost cover
The jacket summary sounded very promising, despite a mention of Love Interest Drama (which I won’t include b/c spoilers)…

TL jacket1 . . . .

TW jacket3

Wait, conclusion?  Trilogy?  To the library!

* * * TRIGGER WARNING:  the Lost Voices series deals with child abuse, rape, and other very triggering subjects.  There are also a few gory scenes (not directly related to those topics), particularly in Waking Storms and The Twice Lost.  More graphic than anything I remember from The Hunger Games.  Like, if you’ve seen the Final Destination movies?  Kind of like that. * * *

One library e-book download later, I was in Sarah Porter’s world — our world, but with mermaidsLost Voices1 having been around for thousands of years, and society (at least the U.S.) just beginning to find out.  We start in a small town on the west coast of Alaska, where fourteen-year-old Luce Korchak is sinking deeper and deeper into depression.  It’s been a year since her father was lost at sea and her uncle stopped holding back his alcohol-enhanced aggression.  And then one night he breaks the last straw.

And that’s when something weird happens.

If I wanted to over-simplify what Lost Voices is, I’d say it’s a Mermaid Peter Pan.  It’s about tribes of Lost Girls who escape cruel humanity not by teleporting to a dream world, but by transforming into something magical and powerful and deadly.  Something that never has to grow up.  When they sink ships, though, it’s not just a game of kids vs. pirates; it’s revenge and catharsis.

But there’s plenty more to Lost Voices than that.  Porter draws from Greek mythology, as well as Slavic and Inuit, for inspiration.  The East European rusalki, for instance, are said to be the spirits of young women who died young from persecution or heartache, or who jumped into the river to escape marriage, either way trading the human world for something wilder and more free.  You’ll find traces of the Sedna legend, too — the story of the Inuit sea goddess whose transformation also stemmed from abuse and betrayal.*

THINGS I LOVED

  • Story and Characters

One of the best things a well-written story can do is make me feel like the characters are my friends even though no one ever speaks directly to me. Porter makes me care about everything that happens to these girls and the humans who try to understand them. As I said in my 2014 favorites roundup, the teenagers feel very believable, talking and thinking like actual 21st-century adolescents (including the occasional swear word).

And like the people, the main conflict is realistically complex; it’s not a simple good vs. evil plot, or totally lovable protagonist vs. totally despicable antagonists. Save for one person – and even that person’s motives are adequately explained – there are no through-and-through, unredeemable villains. You understand why the mermaids want to drown as many humans as they can, and you understand the humans who want to destroy what they see as vicious monsters. And there are plenty of people in between these extremes.

Aaand, there’s no love interest in the first book. The mermaids do talk about guys, but what matters more are their relationships with each other. Even when Porter introduces a love interest in Book 2, it still feels like Luce’s friendships with her tribe members and other mermaids are equally – if not more – important.  And, on the other hand, the guy does fit into the story in ways beyond the forbidden love angle.

  • Sound and Vision

Another way Porter convinces me to believe in her world is through her use of imagery. She is awesome at describing the ocean both from a human’s and from a mermaid’s point of view. At night, the “golden and wide-eyed” moon “gleamed like floating coins all over the tops of the waves.”[1] By day, in “the delirium of sun,” the undersea “was stained green and golden, laced with writhing threads of light,”[2] and down there one could watch “the fragile, milky, long-legged crabs whose bodies were translucent and whose tapering feet looked almost like pink glass. There were tiny drifting medusas, too, with crystalline gelatinous frills around cobalt blue hearts”[3]

Porter also describes sounds with this intense poetic clarity. The cave where Luce and her tribe live in Lost Voices, “with its glowing crystals like half-obliterated stars” (couldn’t resist one more visual), had a “constant resonance as the waves roared outside. Like living in the hollow of a violin, sustained in one endless note…”[4] Music plays a huge role in the series, so it makes sense that Porter would try to make us hear every note as if we were there. Even as if we were singing the songs ourselves.

THINGS I DIDN’T LOVE

  • Strange Conversations

Lost Voices2While most of the characters are written very believably, there are these two guys in Waking Storms who seem really cartoonish as antagonists – one of them basically a Smith clone from The Matrix, the other a giggling sidekick who occasionally says more than he should. There are several scenes in which the Smith clone is interrogating a fifteen-year-old boy with all the over-the-top sneering and posturing of the original Agent Smith. It almost turned me off from the book, but the overall story was luckily compelling enough to keep me going.

Then there’s the bit where two teens are discussing a girl (now a mermaid) who was sexually assaulted, and though both teens seem appropriately disturbed by the details, one of them suddenly starts putting the girl down because, as a mermaid, she no longer has the equipment to make a guy happy ifyaknowwhatImean. I mean, seriously? SERIOUSLY?  I know there are people in real life who would talk like that, but it just doesn’t seem like what this particular character would say at that moment.

  • Too Much Story, Too Little Explanation

There’s a point in Waking Storms where it starts to feel cluttered.  I won’t give much detail so’s not to spoil anything, but there was a sub-plot that needed either to be trimmed out or explained better.  Otherwise, it just comes out of nowhere.  My main questions — again, without spoiling anything — are:  I get what the voices are, but why do they exist, and why do they latch onto that particular place?  Has this happened in other places, in similar circumstances?  Without those explanations, it just feels like there are one too many threads in the overall story.

  • Copyeditor! Copyeditor!

I don’t know if this is only in the Kindle edition, but Book 1 had a bunch of typos that, like the cartoonish agents in Book 2, almost threw me off my reading groove for good. Like when, near the beginning of Lost Voices, Luce is talking with a “gray-Saced” man who muses that she looks tall “for a Sourteen-year-old.”[5] Or when she observes Catarina’s eyes shining “with their stony, moon-aolored light.”[6] Or when Catarina gives her a look that makes Luce feel like she “had said the”[7] … Had said the what? We’re never told. We just jump to the next paragraph.

There are more examples that I’ll leave alone, but it’s seriously annoying. And this was published by one of the Big Six; you’d think there’d be someone assigned to quality-check the Kindle edition of each book. If Kindle Copyeditor isn’t a thing yet, it definitely should be.

THE NUTSHELL

Lost Voices was one of those books that pretty quickly convinced me I needed to own it and its sequels. The characters feel as real as friends and the conflict is realistically complex. It’s sad that the existence of mermaids on Porter’s Earth, like that of selkies in Seanan McGuire’s Fae-verse, depends on pain and loss. It could be triggery like woah for anyone who’s experienced abuse, so I don’t recommend the series to everyone.  But there are joyful and wonderful parts, too, and a world made of mystical music.

And if you’re jonesing for more merfolk awesomeness, I also highly recommend A Mermaid’s Tale, a memoir by Amanda Adams, in which she discusses the influence of “mermaidenry” on her own life, and her research on the water beings of various cultures.  There’s also Mermaid Tales From Around the World, in which Mary Pope Osborne adapts twelve mermaid stories and Troy Howell matches them with twelve different styles of artwork — each meant to embody the culture from which the story originated.  My favorites were “Menana of the Waterfall,” “The Little Mermaid” (I like Osborne’s take on the mermaid’s relationship with the young prince, who sees her as his best friend), and “The Fish Husband” — the last of which is extremely similar to the Lithuanian folktale “Eglė, Queen of Serpents.”

You can also check out my multiple mer-related Pinterest boards.

Pinterest Board RealMermaids 3

Did you know that the covers of the Lost Voices books show actual women photographed in synthetic mermaid tails? They were all taken by mermaid photographer Chris Crumley. It’s yet another neat way to make Porter’s world seem as real as possible.

ETA 4-16-15:  Check out this interview with Sarah Porter, in which she describes what drove her to write the Lost Voices books, as well as her thoughts on fairy tales and her next works in progress.

_________________

* This info on Sedna and the rusalki comes from Amanda Adams. A Mermaid’s Tale. Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2006. Chapters 5 and 7.

[1] Sarah Porter. Lost Voices. Boston: Houghton/Harcourt, 2011. Pg. 40. Kindle.
[2] Pg. 88
[3] Pg. 84
[4] Pg. 56
[5] Pg. 22
[6] Pg. 132
[7] Pg. 172