Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

 Title: Lies Beneath

Author: Anne Greenwood Brown

Publishing Information: June 12th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Mermaids, Fantasy

Series information: Book 1 in the Lies Beneath Series

Format: Hardcover, 303 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher

Recommended For: Readers looking for a dark and interesting mermaid tale

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.

I have been dying for a good mermaid story since I read Lost Voices last year and so I was very excited when I was given the opportunity to download this from NetGalley.

These are not your typical Disney inspired mermaids. They are monsters. Evil, conniving and downright scary monsters that thrive off human essence much like a vampire thrives off human blood. However they are not all powerful. Like vampires are bound to walk only by night, these mermaids are bound to water. Though they have the ability to walk with two legs upon land they also must be near enough water so after a few hours they can submerge themselves and rejuvenate (for lack of a better word), if they are away from water for too long they will die.

Calder and his three sisters return to their home at Lake Superior yearly to stalk the home of The Hancock family. It is believed by the mermaids that this family is responsible for their mother’s death. Though Calder agrees with avenging his mother’s death, he is not like his sisters. Where they are cold creatures that kill mercilessly, Calder yearns for a solitary life away from them and finds other ways to survive instead of murdering innocents. His sisters tell him he is a freak for behaving this way and determine it must be because he was “made” a merman and not born one. His sister Maris puts him in charge of enacting a plan to kill Mr. Hancock. He is to seduce the eldest daughter and find a way to lure Mr. Hancock into the lake so that the three sisters can drag him in, torture, and kill him. As time progresses, Calder becomes mesmerized by Lily and eventually comes to a point where he must make a hard decision between his family and the girl he has unsuspectingly fallen for.

I was pleasantly surprised with this book, I really liked the characters and the story was nothing like I expected. I was somewhat annoyed by Lily at first but after a while she grew on me. I really liked that she didn’t immediately fall for Calder but instead was straight up like “Dude, you’re creepy and you stalk me so back off a little, k?” which really made me like her a bit more than some of the other female characters I have come across (I’m lookin’ at you, Bella Swan). Also Calder’s sisters were terrifying and beautiful and Brown wrote in a way that really made me loath them yet be drawn to them as Calder was. I was worried that I wouldn’t appreciate this book as much as I should because I tend to shy away from male narrators. However, I really kinda loved Calder and his somewhat confused, twisted personality.

The plot was very entertaining and I really loved how much the ending surprised me. I really did not enjoy the twist added with Tallulah but it was a small enough part that I was able to get over it in light of the whole story. As I read this book I wasn’t aware that it was the first in a series, though I can see how Brown set it up this way. I would have liked if Lies Beneath had been a standalone novel but I don’t think that will keep me from reading the sequel. Overall I think this was a great debut novel from Anne Greenwood Brown and I look forward to read what she writes next.


“Mother, may I go out to swim?

Yes, my darling daughter.
Fold your clothes up neat and trim,
But don’t go near the water.”
– Anonymous

Review: Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

LVTitle: Lost Voices

Author: Sarah Porter

Publishing Information: July 4, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mermaids, Paranormal

Series information: Book 1 in the Lies Beneath trilogy

Format: Hardcover, 291 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Recommended For: Readers looking for a mermaid tale focusing more on friendship than romance.

Fourteen-year-old Luce has had a tough life, but she reaches the depths of despair when she is assaulted and left on the cliffs outside of a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village. She expects to die when she tumbles into the icy waves below, but instead undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid. A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: the mermaids feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks. Luce possesses an extraordinary singing talent, which makes her important to the tribe—she may even have a shot at becoming their queen. However her struggle to retain her humanity puts her at odds with her new friends. Will Luce be pressured into committing mass murder?

Luce has hard life, she tries her best to fly under the radar and keep away from her abusive uncle as much as she can. Unfortunately, Luce is unable to stay invisible for long and she is abused to a breaking point and she decides to leave her “before” life forever. As she is running Luce falls and plummets off a high cliff into the icy water below. Instead of dying, however, Luce starts to transform. Soon after she is found by a group of mermaids that explain that she is a mermaid as well and has been turned into one because of the horror she experienced in her life as a human.

Luce begins learning the ways of the mermaid life and finds that she has one of the most beautiful voices any of the mermaids have ever heard. This is both a great compliment and a source of anxiety for Luce as a mermaids voice is also her weapon. Part of the mermaid lifestyle is to sing their beautiful song, making ship passengers become enraptured so they crash or fall to their death. Luce doesn’t want to hurt anyone but she fears rejection from her new family so she faces a very hard choice on how to live her new life.

This novel is a new twist on a somewhat warped coming of age story. Luce begins finding herself after a traumatic event spirals her into what she believes is a point of no return. A refreshing difference in this novel is that there is no romantic relationship; it is not a story that centers on a romance. Instead,the relationships are between the girls in the mermaid tribe and many characters are fleshed out enough that you learn to appreciate their individual characteristics. Sarah Porter’s debut novel is the first in a very promising new series; I can’t wait to see how Luce’s choices in Lost Voices affect her new life as a member of the mermaid tribe.