Friday, June 29, 2012

Book Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

SUMMARY: 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.


Very interesting in concept, with some original twists mixed into mermaid lore, Lies Beneath is a blend of love, loyalty and revenge. Though I had a tough time with the voice in this one, and had a hard time really getting into the world created, there was still an underlying intrigue that kept me reading. Notable, though, is the murderous side of the mermaids, and the connection between Calder and his sisters. Pulling in some dark elements, and very emotional at times, Green navigates plenty of realistic issues even in her finned hero.

Calder was an interesting character, and his longing for no longer being bound to Lake Superior and his sisters was endearing and hopeful. Though it sets him apart in not such a great way with mermaids, it bridges a gap to readers and navigates some harder issues. Though I didn’t feel like he grew all that much overall, and I didn’t completely understand what was driving him at some points, Calder was still a character I wanted to find out more for, and who I rooted for.

His sisters, in some ways, actually seemed to outshine Calder, though I think that is in large part because of the distinct way he viewed each of them. With varying levels of affection for each one, and a quiet frustration involved at being so attached to them, each of the sisters stands out with vivid personalities. Then there’s Lily, the girl Calder falls for and who throws plenty of kinks into the family’s plans. Different in some great ways, and very firmly rooted in who she wants to be, Lily was a great character both as a love interest and just as someone for readers to want to get to know.

The plot of this one had some good twists in it, though there was some predictability to it. While a few elements turned me off, and I had a really hard time with some of the specifics of how the family works, and the different bonds between them, I still really enjoyed finding out what was going to happen, and seeing if Calder would gain the freedom he so desperately wanted. With some intensely emotional scenes, and an ending that is far from perfectly happy, but rather something bittersweet and very fitting for the characters and story, Lies Beneath is a nice twist on mermaids with some stand out scenes.

Source: Netgalley 
Reading level: Ages 12 and up 
Hardcover: 320 pages 
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 12, 2012

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