Very original and fun, I enjoyed every minute of it
Seeing as how this was my first “mermaid” book, I’d have to say I’m impressed and definitely want to read more books like this. I loved that it was told from a “merman’s” perspective, you know how I love those male POVs, and the fact that they’re portrayed as villains who kill humans makes it even better! I think Anne put in a good mix of mermaid stuff and human interactions so the reader won’t feel like it’s one-sided either way. I loved his interactions with his sisters – Pavati being my favorite because she plays seductive mermaid oh so well. It’s also very cute the way Calder tries to grab Lily’s attention and ultimately, how they fall for each other is very sweet and gradual.
I love Anne’s take on mermaids, it’s not at all how you think it is, especially the change from human to mermaid form; and I like that she took a different approach to it. Calder’s story is particularly special, as you’ll see, and he makes for a great and sexy male lead. Mystery, allure, action, and love – all the ingredients to a perfect story, that’s what you’ll find in Lies Beneath. Loved it and can’t wait for the next one!
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
ARC received by Delacorte Books for Young Readers via Netgalley
Release Date: 6-12-12
Reviewed by: Jennifer McCoy
The Sisters Say: Seductive, Sinister, and Spine-tingling
Where you ever afraid to go into the water when you were young? I know I was terrified—even of the deep end of the swimming pool where you could see all the way to the bottom. Was this just an irrational fear? Forget all your Ariel notions of mermaids and dive straight into your childhood phobia! After reading Anne Greenwood Brown’s Lies Beneath, you will never look at mermaids the same again.
I’ve seen quite a few mixed reviews about this book, comparing the plotline to Twilight but just with mermaids. I absolutely disagree! There was nothing in this book that screamed Edward to me. From Chapter 1, I was mesmerized by the idea of these monstrous mermaids. It was like stepping through the looking glass hoping to find a beautiful wonderland, but instead falling into a dark, ominous fantasy full of deadly creatures. I really enjoyed Brown’s macabre underwater world, in fact, I was in the middle of reading this when a tornado outbreak was starting to occur (I live in Tornado Alley), and instead of hiding in a safe room below the stairs, I stayed on the couch and read, determined to fight down any tornadoes that might impede my finishing the book! (I’m not crazy, promise.)
I really enjoyed the character development—even the evil characters. Calder White and his sisters are out for revenge on Jack Hancock, and even though Calder is one of the bad guys (or just in a Catch-22 situation), I felt myself rooting for him. He’s gorgeous, mysterious, arrogant, and dark—a wonderful combination in a young adult guy. And I love him even more as he starts to fall for Lily and we begin to see a different side of the monster.
Calder’s three sisters are perhaps my favorite characters. While you would think that mermaids would be similar (at least in some regards) to humans, but these three are truly inhuman, capable of the most treacherous evil. However, there is something about them that I found intriguing, and I can’t wait to see more of them in the next installment.
And then there’s the damsel in distress, Lily, who proves to be anything but “in distress.” She’s calculating and doesn’t fall for the gorgeous guy right away. It isn’t some “love at first sight” type of thing, which is a nice change of pace. We get to see Lily’s strengths and flaws, which makes her a great heroine.
With the enormous amounts of paranormal romance novels out there, it is nice to see something fresh and different. Brown takes the perfect fantasy world, the one where we all pretended we were Ariel on the side of the pool and would shoot up out of the water singing, “Part of Your World,” and she completely turns it upside down, adding hatred, revenge, murder, and deceit.
There's something about mermaids and the suspension of disbelief that is harder than other paranormal literary endeavors. Despite that, mermaids are absolutely in right now. They have been for a while (ever since, I believe, Stephenie Meyer announced she'd been sitting on a thousand page mermaid manuscript at home), and the YA market is thoroughly suited for it. I've been meaning to read one of these new mermaid books for a while, and I'm glad that, in the end, I chose this one in particular.
LIES BENEATH, by Anne Greenwood Brown, begins in the Caribbean. That's where Calder escapes to when the waters of Lake Superior get too cold. It's the only time he's able to leave his adopted sisters, Maris, Pavati, and Tallulah, to whom he is bound whether he likes it or not, pulled by a migratory instinct back into their waters every year as the cold gives way to summer.
He's gone about six months without killing anyone, which is some kind of record. Mermaids (and mermen, of course) are predators, after all. Not for meat, but for human emotion. They cannot find happiness on their own, so they must take it from others. But the act kills, and Calder is tired of being a killer.
When Maris calls to tell him to come back home, he would like to ignore her. But beyond the migratory pull, the unbreakable link between him and his sisters, there's only one other thing that would bring him back. They've found Hancock, the son of the man responsible for their mother's death, the man who owes them the debt of his own life, the one man Calder could kill - and will kill - with pleasure.
So begins this particular mermaid story. Returning as quickly as he can to the waters of his first transformation, Calder rejoins his sisters to plot Hancock's death. But his plans quickly unravel when he meets Hancock's daughter. Lily is nothing like anyone Calder has ever met. She's loyal and fierce and quirky and beautiful ? and she's not buying a single inch of his charm.
LIES BENEATH somehow manages to overcome the peculiar difficulty mermaid stories have of suspending disbelief. Mermaids, after all, belong to the world of fairy tales and sailor stories. They don't do well on land. But the novel overcomes this by developing two excellent characters in Lily and Calder. Tentative at first, it's worth pushing past the first introductory chapters till the narrative gets going. There are awkward moments at first: The description of Lily when we first meet her doesn't entirely mesh with her character after she warms to Calder, the moments when Calder has to dash from the car to the water sans clothing seem like they'd be trickier than they are, and anyone getting caught stealing pastries probably wouldn't get hired by the person who caught them a few days later ? even with paranormal charm. But these moments aren't much more than awkwardnesses, and they're overcome by the progression of the love story which draws beautifully on the poetic tradition of Tennyson and Yeats.
That is the strength of the book, in fact, those moments that drop into Victorian poetic allusion. And perhaps this is just because of my fondness for Tennyson, and Elaine of Astolat in particular, but the scenes that reference his "Lady of Shallott" are darling and precious. And the use of his mermaid poems are more than clever. They give the whole novel a richer heart. Here's part of one to leave you with:
Low adown, low adown,
From under my starry sea-bud crown
Low adown and around,
And I should look like a fountain of gold
With a shrill inner sound,
Over the throne
In the midst of the hall;
Till that great sea-snake under the sea
From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps
Would slowly trail himself sevenfold
Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate
With his large calm eyes for the love of me.
And all the mermen under the sea
Would feel their immortality
Die in their hearts for the love of me.
First of all, what a beautiful cover!! Secondly, Lies Beneath was my first book about mermaids ever, so I had no idea what to expect. I have never given much attention to mermaids, the only mermaid thing I have ever seen on TV in Disney's the Little Mermaid and the movie Aquamerine. I was expecting all mermaids to be like Ariel, all nice and friendly and girly, but only after reading the first chapters I was sure I was 100% wrong about them. They were badass killer mermaids!
Right after opening this book I was sucked into the story, told from Calder's -a merman- point of view. Calder was a great character, although he reminded me of Edward from the Twilight Saga at some parts of the book. The only thing he does is lying, not because he wants to, but for his sisters, who are definitely more kick-ass than he is. I absolutly love the whole woman on top thing :) Maris is the kind of annoying, but also the most dangerous of the mermaids. She wants to avenge her mother's death, and is prepared to do everything for that. Then there is the sweet one of the 3 sisters, Tallulah, and to me she seemed a porcelain doll, breakable but extremely beautiful.
The plot of this stories was very original. Killer mermaids, teenage romance, family drama, the whole package! Some passages made me smile, others made me sad. But at the end some of them just made no sense, and even annoyed me. I can't say much about it without spoiling, so I won't... But I was not very happy about it.
Anne Greenwood Brown's writing style is not very special, but pleasant to read. It was not extremely hard, so I didn't have to pick up a dictionary every minute, and it had little pieces of poetry in it. I really love poetry, although I am really bad at understanding it... Furthermore, it was written from a single POV, which I really liked. Most of the books I read are written from multiple points of view, which sometimes confuses me.
I give 3.5 stars to Lies Beneath, a very original YA romance with something for everyone, which I would recommend especially to people who have already read some other mermaid books and are looking for another gread mermaid book.
*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. This was done via Netgalley, an organization that connects readers with publishers and distrubutes eGalleys. I did not recieve any money or other payment for this review.*
This book did not disappoint. I had such high hopes for Calder's story, and this book did not let me down. Loved. It.
First off, how can you not love a killer mermaid story told from a merman's point of view? C'mon! That is awesomeness in the making. Period. The mermaids in Lies Beneath are not your typical merfolk. There are no Disney mermaids here, folks. These are the cold-hearted killers of mythology. I thought it was brilliant that the author took one of the lesser-known mermaid tales and incorporated it into her story. The mermaids of Lake Superior do not lure boaters to their deaths like sirens. Instead, they are lonely, miserable creatures that feed off of human emotions. Positive emotions actually. There is a systematic targeting of happy people throughout the book, except for Calder. He's different.
Maybe it's the fact that he wasn't born into the life of a mermaid but was created instead? That could be one of the things that marks him as different. But I like to think of it in a deeper sense. Like other "monster" books, you have to ask yourself: Is evil a trait that you are born with, or is it something you learn? Ask yourself that as you read this book and let me know what you think.
I'm inserting my tangent here about innate vs created evil so you can follow my thought process with this book. The best literary example is that of Frankenstein's monster. When he was created, he was not evil. He was in fact a gentle creature desperate for his creator's attention. But as the story progresses, he experiences rejection, humiliation, and the lack of love. All of these negative experiences drive him to eventually commit the ultimate act of evil. Which (I think) proves that evil is created.
Calder's life seems to confirm my views on that topic, especially when you compare him to his sisters. Throughout the entire book, Calder struggles with finding his humanity. Although it's never mentioned in that sense, that's exactly what's he's doing... and I must admit the ending was very surprising!
I think as this series continues, it's going to be even more amazing. I cannot wait to see what Calder becomes. I have my thoughts as to how future characters will further develop (and complicate) this plot, but I am going to have to wait to see if I'm correct.
If you couldn't tell, I think this book is one of the summer's must reads. I loved it. If you're a mermaid fan then this is a no-brainer. You will be reading this book. This book would lead to so many great discussions. The mythology behind the mermaids , the struggle to retain/find one's humanity, and the Victorian poetry used throughout the story are only the beginning!
A whirlwind tale of revenge and romance, Lies Beneath is the gripping tale of Calder White - a boy looking for revenge for the death of his mother, who finds forgiveness and love in the arms of the daughter of the man he's sworn to kill.
I absolutely loved reading from a male PoV - it was a refreshing change and definitely added to my ability to really enjoy this book. Calder White is arrogant, blunt and completely unfamiliar with how to properly converse with humans. Having spent most of his life using his powers of persuasion to lure unsuspecting humans into the water, he's completely out of touch with how to hold a proper conversation. Being tasked with woo-ing Jason Hancock's daughter, Calder figures Lily will easily succumb to his hypnotic ways and he'll finally be able to seek his revenge and gain his freedom. Unfortunately for Calder, Lily seems almost immune to his regular tactics, and he begins to realize it's going to take a lot more then a few witty one-liners to gain her affections.
I loved watching Calder try to figure out Lily! She frustrated him to no end and her ability to reject his imposition on her mind had him stumbling for what to say. I enjoyed watching him squirm under her observant gaze as he tried to explain why he was suddenly everywhere she went, and I liked that Lily admitted that he made her nervous, rather then having her fall inexplicably and instantaneously in love with him. His constant watch over Lily went from creepy-serial killer-ish to creepy-stalkerish to kind of romantic (but still slightly creepy) and I loved watching him struggle with his growing emotions that he found both foreign and confusing. His erratic behaviour would have been enough to cause me concern, and Lily's willingness to forgive his transgressions was a little strange. Then again, if he was the only person who might be able to answer my questions, I might be more willing to turn a blind eye to his weird behaviour.
I loved Lily. She's so different from any other female YA character that I've ever read about! She's a little quirky, choosing to dress how she thinks the poets of the Victorian era would dress now if they were still alive, and she has a healthy amount of fear for strangers. Knowing that something wasn't quite normal with Calder didn't have Lily jumping in to his waiting arms - it had her keeping him at a safe distance until his persistence (and slight charm) slowly broke down her defences. She stuck to her beliefs, even though similar beliefs had her grandfather deemed insane by the rest of the family, and she was smart enough to put together the pieces for herself.
I would have liked to see more from Calder's sisters. Dark, twisted and fascinatingly creepy, I was surprised by how little they made an appearance. And while I understood Calder's rationale behind getting close to Jason's daughter in order to get close to him, I was also surprised by how little interaction there was between Calder and Jason. After being unable to shake his hand, I figured Calder would admit they needed to come up with a different plan because he couldn't stomach to be near Jason. It just seemed like a lot of unnecessary work, especially when an impulsive decision by one of Calder's sisters towards the end accomplished in one moment what Calder had spent weeks trying for. I disliked Calder's breakdown at the end - it was poorly explained and I didn't understand why he was punishing himself that way - but it didn't last too long, so it's not a huge complaint.
A strong male protagonist, complimented by an eerily dangerous atmosphere makes Lies Beneath a suspenseful and fast-paced read. Calder's inexperience with humans makes his moments of socially unaccepted behaviours endearing, and his emotional torment over where his loyalties laid was heartbreaking.
First of all, I’m highly annoyed there’s a mermaid on the cover. Sure, I can understand that a merman doesn’t have quite the same draw, but that’s not the point. Boy narrator should equal boy on cover (if there must be a person). It’s just a simple fact.
Maybe it’s due to my ragey mood lately, but my past few reads have all managed to leave me with a vaguely annoyed and angry feel, and sadly Lies Beneath is no exception. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, though. In fact, I finished it in somewhere around 24 hours which is pretty rare for me. Basically I liked the core of the story, but a bunch of little things annoyed me.
1) Transitions. Maybe I just wasn’t paying close enough attention, but I found myself going “wait, he’s wearing clothes now?” and “when did THEY get there?” pretty often. I don’t enjoy feeling lost when it’s unintentional.
2) I feel like the mermaid lore should’ve been explained long before it was. Heck, when it WAS explained I still had a lot of questions. At the beginning all this stuff is just thrown at the reader like they’re supposed to know what it means already and the rest f the book continues on in a similar fashion, at least where mermaids are concerned.
3) What’s with all the hate?! I mean, I know the hate and gloom and doom are part of their nature, but I couldn’t get on board with it. I couldn’t connect with it, so I was just left sitting here wanting to punch Calder and his sisters in the nose.
4) Really, Calder, you couldn’t see that way Tallulah felt about you?
All that aside, I really liked Calder and Lily’s relationship. In the beginning you can tell he’s just using her by his snarky arrogance and willingness to manipulate her. But then he slowly starts to warm up to her and despite how much he tried to deny it, ends up really caring for her
Then there’s Lily. When she’s first introduced I thought she was just going to be an annoying, depressed artsy girl but she definitely wasn’t. Instead of being all aloof and mysterious she straight-up tells Calder he makes her nervous. Plus, she basically tells him he’s a weirdo (which, considering his actions, is fair) over and over again. I also liked that though she starts t let him in she doesn’t fully accept him until near the end.
The Nutshell Lies Beneath had its annoyances for me, but I still found it to be an enjoyable read. The mermaid lore isn’t my favorite, but it’s worth reading for Calder and Lily’s relationship.
This is not the first mermaid book I've read, but this is the first mermaid book where they aren't singing on rocks and rescuing prince's from sunken ships. These mermaids are dangerous. They are murders. Jealous creatures that drown their victims when they are at their peek of happiness so they can absorb said happiness into themselves. Fun bunch, right?
Calder and his sisters have been searching for Jason Hancock for decades. He is responsible for the death of their mother and they are desperate for revenge. When they finally find him and his family, they devise a plan to get Hancock out into the water once Calder gets close to one of his daughters, either Lily or Sophie. Originally planning to use Sophie, Calder changes his mind to Lily after seeing the bond between her and Hancock.
Anne is a talented writer using both clear descriptions and engrossing main characters. I wish the secondary characters had a bit more depth to them as they all seemed a bit flat and, for some of them, I didn't really see their importance. They were just kind of . . . there.
The romance doesn't become a factor until closer to the end of the novel. What I enjoy about this romance is that Lily doesn't immediately fall for Calder. She knows there is something off about him and avoids him, trusting her gut and not falling for the creepy stalker. It takes him a while to gain her trust, even after he proves it to an exceptional degree.
Lies Beneath is dark. These mermaids are out for revenge, for blood, and their own personal brand of justice. Anne's take on mermaid mythology is wonderfully different. She explains that ever gnawing question of just how mercreatures are born, gives them the ability to walk on land while giving them the need to be in water, and gives them the perfect mix of beauty and danger.
What I did like about Lies Beneath quite a bit was the writing. Anne Greenwood Brown definitely has talent. I like the way she puts her sentences together. She doesn't write down to teens at all, which I'm always happy to see. I also really loved the usage of the poetry in the book.
Now, let's talk about the romance. I'm really not entirely sure how I feel about it. On the surface (water pun!), Lily and Calder's relationship falls into the typical YA paranormal relationship: dangerous paranormal boy and the girl who cannot resist him because he's oh so pretty. Not to mention the fact that I was a little uncomfortable with how young Lily seemed, especially when paired with the fact that Calder is who knows how old and a killer merman.
However, there was another side to their romance that was a bit more unique that makes me somewhat okay with it. Lily, though she is attracted to Calder, does not immediately give into that. She hides it successfully for a while. It takes her some time to trust him. She confronts him openly and repeatedly about what his deal is and why he's following her around. That, I liked. In the end, though, she still goes for him, and isn't particularly angry to learn that he's lied to her or tried to kill her dad. Considering that she loves her family, her reaction was completely unbelievable.
The real problem I had with Lies Beneath, though, was the world building. Basically, I cannot fathom (another water pun!) how mermaid respiration works. I can totally accept that they shift into their mermaid forms. When human, they breathe like people do; as mermaids, they can breath underwater. What I don't get is why they can breathe underwater AND above the water in their mermaid forms.
Fish breathe via their gills. Do the mermaids have gills on their tails? That would explain why they can breathe with their heads out of the water, since the tail would still be submerged. Unfortunately, that does not explain how Calder was able to breathe oxygen into Lily's mouth while they swam around. Even if he does breathe through his human mouth, he wouldn't be exhaling oxygen. Humans don't exhale oxygen and neither do fish. I guess he could be processing the water into oxygen and immediately passing it to her, but I just had trouble with the whole thing.
If you're a reader that is frustrated by little details, like I am, you may want to try another book. However, if you're note, Lies Beneath is a well-written paranormal romance novel.