Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Author: Anne Greenwood Brown
Series or Stand-alone: 
             Stand Alone. I think...
How I got it:
             ARC courtesy of Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
Pages: 303
Publisher: Random House/ Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal/ Fantasy/ Mythological
First Published: June 12, 2012
Buy it from: Amazon
                  Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads
Book Trailer:

FIRST LINE(S): "I hadn't killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that."

The GIST (From Goodreads):

"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 irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting 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."


Lies Beneath is the first mermaid Young Adult novel I’ve ever read. Mermaids seem to be a popular creature feature lately, especially in the summer, and it’s not hard to understand why. Unfortunately, this rendition of a mermaid tale really wasn’t for me.

Into the story: Calder is a merman who is mentally dragged, every year, to Lake Superior where he and his three sisters are from.  The merfamily, since their mother died, have been on a mission to kill the man who they believe is responsible for their mother’s death. Calder and his sisters have finally found the man and have learned he is moving near Lake Superior after having avoided water his entire life. The goal: Calder needs to seduce his intended victims daughter into order to get to his real target.

The biology of merpeople in Lies Beneath:
  1. Beautiful (duh).
  2. Can transform into humans but need to be near water a lot or they dry out.
  3. Have an impulsion to kill in order to steal the positive emotions of their victims.
  4. Can be born mermaid or made into one.
  5. Don’t have any positive emotions themselves.
  6. Merman don’t reproduce.  Babies are made with humans and have to live with human father for one year than returned to mother.
I love the idea of murderous mermaids and that opening line is killer! Unfortunately, that's really the extent of things I liked about this book. The problems I had with this novel definitely outweigh anything I liked about it. First, the whole biology of the mermaids made no sense and I felt it wasn’t very thought out or explained very well. For all I know it was well thought out but I was so confused through most of it because of the lack of explanation.

Second the motivations of the characters were hard to figure out. I had no idea why Calder and his sisters had this crazy need to kill his man. It felt like a compulsion merpeople have but they explained that it was just for revenge. Also, I thought that since mermaids couldn’t have any positive emotions than the personalities of the characters were off. Calder and his sisters definitely felt moments of happiness without having to kill anything. I just felt like the rules of merpeople were there to move the story forward but weren’t actually incorporated into what the characters were like.

I can deal with some major plot holes if I really like the male character ( for example Patch in Hush, Hush) but Calder wasn’t redeemable.  The Ohhh and Ahhhh factor missing with Calder is just one. HE IS A COLD BLOODED KILLER! These women that rationalize these male characters who kill people are beyond me. No matter how many times they say they want to kill someone near you or you, you run into their arms like that’s the dreamiest thing you’ve ever heard. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the girl reforming the bad boy. But girl reforming the serial killer? Not my taste.

I did like Calder and his love interests interactions but it was insta-love and I just couldn't feel anything for them or any of the other characters.


It has a great open line and an interesting premise but really fell short in characterization and plot for me ---3.5 out of 10.