On this day, two years ago, I uploaded my very first blog post. I can’t believe it’s been two years already. My Infernal Imagination started as a place for me to keep my writing sharp, then morphed into a book blog, and never really came back. I’ve met some amazing people, interviewed a few authors, had authors contact me. I’ve been given review copies of books, written a few collaborative blog posts, and even been to a book blogging forum in Sydney.
I want to thank all of you reading this for sticking with me. Even if you don’t read every post, I still love you guys for the support. So thanks!!!
Which brings me to Lorali. Lorali was a July review copy sent to me by Hot Key Books, and I actually did finish it during the month of July. I have just been so busy with that annoying thing called reality that I haven’t had a chance to write it up. So, here goes.
Lorali is the kind of fantasy that every fantasy writer should aspire to write. Dockrill manages to create her entire underwater world with very little info-dumping. I do tend to harp on about info-dumping, I know, but it is a pet hate of mine and a lot of fantasy has it in spades. So when Dockrill talks about the Mer (the collective term for mermaids and merman), she does it as though the reader already understands the details. I love this. Anything that we don’t really understand is explained through action, not exposition. And, for that, I thank you, Ms Dockrill.
Lorali is essentially the story of what happens when a mermaid, Lorali, surfaces, and of the boy, Rory, who finds her washed up on the beach. But the story is so much deeper, more vivid than that. There are pirates and sirens and sea monsters and almost-humans. And the sea. The sea is a character. This may have been my favourite thing about Lorali. Remember the character of Death in The Book Thief? Well, The Sea was pretty much exactly the same. The Sea was the only omniscient character and the way Dockrill executes this is excellent. She uses the idea that The Sea is the source of all water and, so, whenever we need to know what’s going on outside of our other characters’ realm of understanding, Dockrill uses The Sea. Whether The Sea is in a fish tank, a sink, a tap, a lake, or a duck pond. And this never felt contrived. Not to me. Because water really is everywhere. And so it makes sense that, if The Sea were a conscious being, that it too would be everywhere. I loved this.
The language in Lorali is just gorgeous. Every once in a while I had to stop and re-read sentences just to soak up their majesty. But this one was one of my favourites:
How has time got so lost? It’s one of those days that seems to fold itself into a tiny envelope and post itself to nowhere.
Hasn’t everyone had days like that? I know I have. Many, many times. And no one seemed to nail the feeling quite like Ms Dockrill did in that one sentence.
Not only does Dockrill demonstrate an incredible ability to turn a phrase, but she also plays with the very idea of story structure. Again, using one very small, seemingly insignificant, paragraph:
I do apologise. I suppose, thinking about it, that information might have been interesting to you earlier on … How forgetful of me. It’s just … I’m so caught up. Aren’t you?
And in that one paragraph, Dockrill calls attention to her story structure and comments on it. This kind of stuff, the writer calling attention to the writing process, is my favourite thing. It makes me fangirl. Embarrassingly loudly.
Moving on from language, slightly, to voice. All three perspectives in this book have a distinct voice. From Lorali to Rory to The Sea, every perspective sounded different. And in a YA world where two completely different characters often sound identical because the author can’t be bothered actually giving their characters personalities (looking at you, Veronica Roth), this was amazing to me. Quality writing is something that needs to be celebrated more. Down with Twilight and 50 Shades and Divergent. Let’s make books like Lorali hit the best-seller list, hmm? Because substance and talent should be successful, rather than flimsy plot lines.
And speaking of plot lines? The end of Lorali is gut-wrenching. And I did not see it coming. So even though my heart felt like it had gone seven rounds with Rocky once I had closed the book, I loved the ending. Because who wants an ending that you can predict? Not. Me.
In case you can’t already tell, I loved Lorali. If you love mermaids, romance, beautiful writing, and well-fleshed out characters, then this is the book for you.
P.S. Just in case you guys haven’t clued in yet, the central relationship? Lorali and Rory. Now, Lorali may be spelled a little differently, but who else thinks that Dockrill may be a Gilmore Girls enthusiast?