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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lies Beneath by Anna Greenwood Brown

Release Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 303
Source: Copy provided by publisher for review

Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

"I hadn't killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that."

With a first line like that, how could I not want to find out what happens?! Just like the mermaids this book is about, the story is alluring and quickly drew me in! Lies Beneath paints a completely different picture of what mermaids are; dispel all the images you have from Little Mermaid of happy mermaids swimming along and singing! The mermaids in this novel are vengeful monsters who are more than willing to kill to get what they want! It was an interesting alternative to the happy mermaids I grew up with, but since it was pretty well developed in the novel, this dark alternative wasn't so hard to accept!

Lies Beneath was well written and had me hooked in. However, while it's a well-told story, it was not anything new or different than how many of the YA novels go these days. The storyline itself was not anything out of the ordinary and seemed to follow the basic formula most YA novels go by these days; boy meets girl, they fall for each other. But boy has secret and tries to keep it from girl. Of course girl finds out and they must make it through the storm together. While it was relatively ordinary, I still found the novel quite enjoyable to read. It might not be anything new, but it was still well-written.

Another point of the novel that was disappointing was the romance. It wasn't as strong as I had hoped it would be. Calder and Lily fall for each other relatively quickly and it was not as developed as I thought it would be. It felt almost like love-at-first-sight but then the author tried to also have them fall for each other in the more realistic (to me, at least) way: after talking, hanging out and getting to know each other. It wasn't quite developed enough either way, and consequently, just fell flat after being caught in the in-between the two.
Additionally, while I understand that Calder is a hot, delectable merman, his way of wooing his lady friend got rather creepy at some points! Spying on your love interest from the bushes? I'm sure Calder didn't mean it quite that way, but it sounds like amateur stalking to me!

I would have liked to learn more about Calder's sisters! They're such villains, but they were so interesting! Wish they had gotten the limelight a little more often and wish there were more snippets from their pasts! They were definitely dark creatures that I wish I had more insight to--how did they all develop such drastically different, yet essentially similar personalities? How was their interaction with their parents? I would have liked to learn more about their mermaid mother as well! We don't get to learn that much about her in this novel, but it sounds like she definitely had a story to tell as well if her children felt so strongly for her!

It sounds like Lies Beneath is the first book of a new series so I have high hopes for its sequel! Definitely hoping for more character development and another adventure!

Overall: 3.75 out of 5
Plot: 3 stars
Characters: 4 stars
Writing: 4.5 stars
Cover: 3.75 stars


Liviania said...

That is a fantastic first line.

Alvie said...

My friend has read Lies Beneath too! I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. Take a look at our review at Teenage Fiction if you'd like?

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