Friday, June 1, 2012

Review: Lies Beneath

Lies Beneath
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars!

Calder White is part of a murderous mermaid family. Calder is the youngest, and only male, of four siblings. Mermaids survive off the life force of humans. Mermaids can lie, but they can never break a promise and it’s a promise that brings the White clan to Lake Superior. Calder’s Mom was promised the son of Tom Hancock. But rather than honor that promise, Tom packed up his family and ran…which led to the death of Calder’s Mom. Now the siblings have found Tom’s grown son, Jason, and they plan to kill him and fulfill the promise Tom made all those years ago. It’s Calder’s job to get close to Jason’s daughter, Lily and ultimately lure Jason into the water where his sisters can even the score.

Never before have I disliked a main character so much right from the beginning. Calder makes no bones about the fact that he is a monster. He feels tremendous guilt toward his murderous tendencies, but he is a monster, pure and simple. I really wasn’t sure if this book was going to be for me, but the writing grabbed hold of me long enough to be able to see that Calder was a worthy character. I also enjoyed the male point of view…so many YA novels are told from a female pov so this was refreshing.

Being a merman, Calder oozes good looks and persuasive charm that Lily is able to resist, which bewilders Calder no end. It’s not until he drops the act that Lily, even remotely, starts to be intrigued by him. Lily puts up an amusing fight against Calder’s charms.

Calder, unlike his sisters, was made a merman, where his sisters were born mermaids. It’s through his short human life that I believe he is able to see what he does, and how monstrous merfolk are, without blinders. As much as I disliked Calder in the beginning, I did start rooting for him and my feelings toward him softened.

My only real complaint would be a lack of backstory on the Mer culture. Here was an opportunity for the writer to come up with some “mermaid rules for life”, and have fun with a subject there hasn’t had much written about (unlike vampires and werewolves), but she only gave us enough to get through the story.

I thought “Lies Beneath” was great as a stand-alone story. But I see it’s going to be a series. I’m not sure what more there is to experience with Calder and Lily, beyond my clich├ęd predictions...I was happy with everyone riding off into the sunset and letting the reader decide if and what the “happily ever after” was. That’s not to say I wouldn’t read a sequel, I’m just afraid it won’t be able to stand up to “Lies Beneath”.

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