I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Published by Delacorte Press on 6/12/2012
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Fiction, Romance, Thriller, Young Adult
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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.
As a little girl, I was, of course, a huge fan of The Little Mermaid, and the 80s movie, Splash, featuring Darryl Hannah and Tom Hanks. There is something mystical and wondrous about these magical sea-creatures and I think every little girl dreams about being one at some point or another. I’ve only read one other mermaid tail (pun intended) and I wasn’t terribly impressed with it, but like the siren’s call, I was drawn to Lies Beneath, by both the shiver-worthy synopsis and the beautiful cover.
As far as Paranormal YA novels go, Lies Beneath may be one of my favorites. Anne Greenwood Brown has burst onto the book scene with a splash and manages to get just about everything right: the budding romance, the hesitation between characters, the snark and wit. Brown really makes the characters come alive and especially makes the mermaids feel very real and, not to mention, dangerous. Plenty of myths and legends have mermaids as predatory creatures, luring men to their deaths with just a call on the wind. Brown plays on that, but gives us even more, fleshes out her merfolk. She humanizes them with agendas and revenge, but also love, family bonds and silliness. In fact, the silliness and family bond between the merfolk is what really connected me to them. Brown wrote them in a way as such I was able to identify so easily with them that there could very well be mermaids in Lake Superior. Monsters in the lake, anyone?
And the monsters were, in and of themselves, something else. Even their names were like songs: Maris, Tallulah (is the author a Bruce Willis/Demi Moore fan? LoL), Pavati, and Calder. Brown likened them to a school of fish, but at the same time, they had their own thoughts and secrets. They also had unique abilities and I really liked what Brown did with her creation of these merfolk and these abilities (I don’t want to spoil them for you – half the fun was learning about them).
Lily, one of the only human teenagers in this story, was also a joy to read. She’s much smarter than anyone anticipated and I couldn’t not like her. She was intelligent, witty and not afraid of – well, anything. She was an anomaly to Calder and I enjoyed every scene they had together. His frustration was so entertaining; it must be a real pain in the butt to not get what you’re used to getting right away (ie – the girl).
While I always love a good story, I am a firm believer that each should come away with a message and Lies Beneath didn’t disappoint me. The saying goes, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” But Mahatma Ghandi once said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” And here we are. Revenge. You can taste it on your tongue as it drips drips drips down, sweet as candy. It’s tantalizing and tempting, but it takes a strong person to forgive and forget and I think that’s what Brown is showing us here.
That’s not to say I didn’t have a quibble about this book. It left me thinking and thinking and thinking. Something niggled at me for about 12 hours after I finished it, left me scratching my head, saying, “There’s just something that doesn’t make sense.” I try to keep my reviews spoiler-free, but in this case, I couldn’t. If you would LIKE to view the spoiler on the website, just hover your mouse over the paragraph or if not, continue with the rest of the review. If you are reading this in email or reader, skip to the last paragraph, since spoiler tags don’t work in those settings. You’ve been warned! UPDATE: Spoiler removed! I actually got to talk to this awesome author and she answered the question I had!
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It has redeemed my faith in mermaid books and I can’t wait for the sequel to Lies Beneath. If you’ve never read a Mer-tale, or just really love them, read this now!
I hadn’t killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that.
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