Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Format: E-ARC from Net Galley
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars


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 irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting 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.

It started with a barter; a life for a life. It ended with death and a promise of revenge. Lies Beneath takes the merfolks mythology into the dark recesses Lake Superior; where the White siblings feast on human emotions, draining the lives of their unsuspecting victims while they bide their time to avenge the death of their mother.
Calder White, the only male mer in the family was given the task to lure Jason Hancock into his watery grave. What was usually an easy undertaking turned out to be a complicated job as Calder got close to Lily Hancock, Jason’s daughter. Burdened with a choice between saving Lily and facing the wrath of his murderous sisters, Calder soon realized that to exact his revenge would mean hurting the only person he cared for in a while.
The book has its charms – a story of revenge and forbidden love. It could’ve been so good. But what didn’t work for me is the innate coldness of the characters.  Calder White seemed like an automaton as he spoke from his point of view. And while I can hazard a guess that it’s how the author would like to perceive these creatures’ personalities, I can’t love a book if I’m unable to feel anything for its characters. I don’t read just for the heck of it, I need to actually aquaint myself with the characters of the book. And these people made it darn hard to form any sort of attraction. The mer myth is also something that hasn’t done well in my shelves. I just haven’t been wowed by any of the books that I’ve read so far.
I don’t understand how this book would fail romance-wise, but it did. It’s a great angle but somehow, it just didn’t deliver. It’s not like it was forced; in fact, I liked how the female lead didn’t really fall as fast and as hard as one would for the seductive merman. I mean, isn’t that the primary pull of the sirens? Their natural ability to seduce and allure?
VERDICT: Cold characters or not, Anne Greenwood Brown wrote an ingenuous mer tale reeking of murderous, borderline psychotic merfolks. I’m interested enough to see where this series would go.
Are mermaids salt water creatures? If they are, then I don’t know how they could survive the fresh waters of Lake Superior. 🙂

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