Friday, June 15, 2012

ARC Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 12th, 2012

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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I was really excited when I got the opportunity to review Lies Beneath. I like mermaid stories, I thought the cover was great, and I am a total sucker for books told from a male POV. Win on all accounts, right? Not quite. First I should comment on the cover... Um,the protagonist is a merMAN, so why is a merMAID on the cover? That little discrepancy made me dislike a cover that I initially really, REALLY liked. Now that that's covered (no pun intended), let's move on to the important stuff...

I started out really loving this book...  I plowed through the first half with gusto, not able to put it down, but toward the middle it kind of sputtered for me.  It did redeem itself somewhat in the end, with its unexpected conclusion, but there were 70 or so pages where it dragged somewhat, and that sort of tainted it for me...  That said, I will tell you that if you are into lengthy descriptions of how the bad boy nefariously woos the good girl, accidentally falling in love with her, then the parts of the book that bugged me won't bug you.  You'll love it!  The story was good; quite different from the other mermaid stories I've read.  You see, mermaids are cold-blooded creatures, supposedly incapable of feeling positive emotions on their own.  Feelings like joy, happiness, elation?  Not in their emotional spectrum.  The only way they can feel these much craved emotions are by absorbing them from their "prey", human victims, who they kill by draining, then hide at the bottom of deep water; they are consummate predators.  This all comes into play when Calder, our main character, and his three sisters prepare to collect on an old life-debt, and need pretty Lily Hancock to get close to their target, her father.  Should be a piece of cake for hottie Calder, right?  Not so much...

I like my bad boys, but Calder didn't really do it for me.  He was kind of creepy, if I'm being honest.  When I was reading the book, I couldn't help thinking that he thought more like a girl than a guy.  On the surface he was cocky as they come, but he was actually pretty insecure.  Add to that the fact that he was essentially a stalker, and I just couldn't find him appealing.  He made me think better of him by end of the book, winning me over to a point, but he's just not a "swoon-worthy" leading man by my terms.  Lily, on the hand, was great.  She's the type of girl I wouldn't mind having for a daughter.  Headstrong, but not to a fault, responsible, smart, and principled.  Definitely too good for Calder... The sisters were great too; I actually consider Pavati a favorite character, but I didn't feel like they were used enough in the story (it isn't coincidence that the parts of the story I liked best heavily involved them).  They really added the sinister element to the story that set it apart from other mer-tales I've read.  They were what they were supposed to be- cold-blooded predators- and that is something I can respect, even if I don't necessarily like it.

Lies Beneath is the first book in a series (Deep Betrayal comes out next year), and I will probably read it.  I'm curious as to what Anne Greenwood Brown has in mind since I felt like the story wrapped up quite neatly.  I really did love the ending; it took me by surprise and it was quite well thought out.  If the entire book read as well as the ending, this would have been a five-star book for me, but alas, it didn't.  I enjoyed it, it just wasn't a favorite.  If you're a fan of Paranormal Romance  novels, if you're a fan of the Twilight series, or if you love merpeople, you will love it more than I did.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½ 

Grade Level Recommendation:  There was some teen drinking, talk of seduction, and a few swears, but nothing over the top.  This is fine for grades 6 and up (ages 11+).


  1. I think that "on the surface he was cocky but actually he was pretty insecure" describes most teen's just not usually the way they are depicted in fiction. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I really liked this book too.

  2. Too bad you didn't like it!! I'm not a huge can of mermaid books, so this book was never on my TBR list. I do have to disagree with you about the cover, though!! I really like it. Happy Reading!!! :)

  3. I love mermaid stories and this one has been on my TBR for awhile. I still plan to read it, but after reading your review, I'm not quite as excited about getting to it. Thanks for the warning., At least I'll know to trudge through the boring part because it gets better again.


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