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Lies Beneath Hardcover – June 12, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Calder and his murderous mermaid sisters have spent years obsessing over a man named Jason Hancock, who was promised to their family as an infant after their mother saved his father's life. Finally Hancock has moved back to the shores of Lake Superior with his family to take up residence in his old house. Unfortunately, a lifetime spent listening to his father tell horrific yet improbable tales of "monsters" has made him wary of the water. Calder is dispatched, disguised in human form, to lure one of Hancock's daughters to the water instead, to be used as bait. Calder selects the elder daughter, beautiful Lily, and needless to say he quickly becomes distracted from his mission. The romance that ensues feels familiar, with a merman in place of other supernatural creatures du jour. Calder is amazingly handsome and alluring (due to his merman powers), while there is something different about Lily, who seems to have a special connection to the water. As narrator and romantic hero, Calder is problematic, not just because he is a self-confessed serial killer (though he feels bad about it, or at least he has mixed feelings), but also because he is a total wimp, constantly being bossed around by his sisters and whining about the cold water. A few plot twists keep the story going, and a sequel is in the works.-Eliza Langhans, Hatfield Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
About the Author
ANNE GREENWOOD BROWN grew up sailing the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior, leaning over the rail and wondering, with a lake that big, that ancient, what amazing thing might flash by. Now she knows. Lies Beneath is her first novel.
Top customer reviews
Although Brown gave an exciting twist and a great location for this tale of murderous merpeople, I thought she fell short in a few other areas. I am quite the fan of the hunky male lead, but I felt that the character development fell flat. Not much was explained besides the minimum for Calder and Lily. I was even upset that not more was explained and described about Calder’s sisters. Many factors were slightly hit on, such as the relationship/history of Pavati and Jack and the shocking revelation of Jason Hancock being a merman and the sibling of the White family. I would have loved for Brown to have drawn out and explained greater the incident that happened with the White family and truth about the debt and revenge. I also felt like the big battle between the mermaids and finally fulfilling the debt would have been larger and longer. It happened so quickly and a whole paragraph was dedicated to the death of Lullah.
With the world being one in which we live in I felt like more dedication should have been put forth and spent on character development and details. I felt a little let down by the end of the book and felt the ending lacked something.
Calder White came as a complete surprise. At first, he is not someone you would want to encounter. The homicidal tendencies of mermaids is first introduced through him and, I have to say, he is very successful at establishing the lore present in this world. As the story continues, however, it is revealed that there is more to Calder White than meets the eye. He is all at once both less and more than his sisters, which was a really great aspect to his character. Following along as he attains some humanity is fascinating and, at times, moving. Lily Hancock, the catalyst which brings about the changes Calder goes through is both naive and stubborn. At times, I couldn't decide whether to cheer her on or yell at her for some of her decisions. All in all, the entire array of characters present in Lies Beneath made for a truly interesting reading experience.
The pacing is what you might expect from a story of this time. As it takes place in a sleepy town and centers around a plot that requires calculation and a steady build-up, the pace moves along at just the right clip. I didn't feel as though I was being rushed along, nor did I feel bogged down by too many details. The writing was very easy to keep up with. The descriptions of everything from the settings to the people were capable of making these elements easily imagined. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of Calder's journeys underneath the water. They made the story come to life bit by bit until I had a full understanding of everything that was going on in this intriguing world.
Lies Beneath would make for an excellent beach read. Its intriguing premise and entertaining characters make it a great pick for a day of reading whether on vacation or at home. It ended in such a way that left me content and satisfied, which is a definite mark in its favor. These aren't the mermaids you may remember from childhood fairy tales. What you get here is a glimpse at what came before there were things such as Disney's The Little Mermaid. If you enjoy books that incorporate different folklore, then Lies Beneath is definitely one you need to check out.
Obligatory legal statement: This digital review copy was provided to me free of charge by the publisher via Netgalley. No monetary compensation was received in exchange for this fair and unbiased review.
This review originally appeared on my blog, Starting the Next Chapter, on June 21, 2012.
Our main protagonist, Calder, has a mission: seduce the daughter of the infamous Jason Hancock to lure him out on waters of Lake Superior. Then his mermaid sisters will kill Jason. How does Calder go about the task of seducing this girl? He stalks her. There are several incidents in which Calder watched Lily from behind a bush. Or a tree. Or from under a lake.
At first, Lily acts like a normal stalked girl would. She tells Calder to keep his distance. Even after Calder saves Lily's life (a feat that was artificial and planned out beforehand by one of the sisters) she stays away. But eventually, as the staking persists, Lily gives in and begins to fall in love with Calder. Calder then begins to fall for Lily, and so begins the tale of forbidden love.
The romance is the worst part of Lies Beneath, which is a shame because it's the main focus of the novel. It's a shame because Lies Beneath has such a strong climax and conclusion that would be a perfect ending to the novel if it had been executed better. There is a surprise twist at the end that would have excited me if not for two things:
1. I didn't really care for Lily and Calder at that point so the twist was more of a "great for you" moment than a "OH MY GOD!!!" moment.
2. I read the synopsis of the sequel before I finished Lies Beneath. Never do that, guys. It can ruin a book.
The twist may be a shocker if the romance doesn't bother you.
Lies Beneath could have been so much more than it was if the romance was executed better, but a strong climax saves it from being a failure.