When someone mentions mermaids, I immediately think of The Little Mermaid. I can’t help it. Disney has ingrained a certain preconception of what mermaids would be, with their very successful and lovely animated film. To be honest, I was never very interested mermaids, outside of The Little Mermaid. You can only imagine my reaction to the first chapter of Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown. Let’s just say the mermaids of Lies Beneath aren’t like Ariel. While the book follows a merfolk lore that I’m unfamiliar with and find intriguing, the plot and characters aren’t as new or exciting.
The story is told in Calder White’s perspective, a young merman, hanging out in the Caribbean, killing and sucking the happiness out of vacationers. When his sisters call on him, he can’t resist the urge to head home to the cold waters of Lake Superior. When he arrives back, his sisters tell him that they have found Hancock, the man they must kill in revenge for their mother’s death. They find out that Hancock has moved into town with his wife and two daughters. It is Calder’s mission to earn Hancock’s trust by befriending one of the daughters. Ultimately, he chooses Lily, the poetic, free-thinking teenage daughter. As he gets to know her, he can’t help but form an attachment to her, which isn’t a good thing because he has to kill her father.
Obviously Calder is in a predicament, and you can see this situation coming from the moment Lily is introduced in the story. Calder is this tortured supernatural being, and Lily is this sweet and inquisitive teenage girl. Doesn’t this all sound familiar? That was my immediate reaction. This is almost like Twilight but with mermaids! Yeah, it’s not exactly the same storyline, but definitely the same kind of characters and vibe. Calder hasn’t killed any humans in a long time to show off willpower or whatever, and Lily is so intrigued by Calder that she doesn’t care if he’s dangerous. However, one thing the story has going for it is the fact that it’s in Calder’s perspective. In most YA books, we usually get the girl’s perspective and it was refreshing to see what the guy was thinking for once!
As for the plot, it wasn’t too exciting. I found much of it to be predictable. The whole take on mermaids I found to be fascinating. I kind of wish it delved into that a little further. Like get some more backstory, why are merpeople the way they are, etc. Don’t get me wrong, it does answer some questions; I was just curious for some more. Back to the plot, it’s pretty basic, linear. I will say that there is a good twist at the end. I definitely didn’t predict that, and it makes me a wee bit more interested in reading a sequel.
Lies Beneath had its pros and cons. It introduced me to a new world of mermaids, way outside of The Little Mermaid. I just wish the story stood out more. The ending left me hopeful for a unique turn in the story, and I hope that carries on into the second book. But for now, I say it is worth giving Lies Beneath a chance.
Rating: 3/5 stars
Lies Beneath will hit bookstores June 12th. You can pre-order it at our TYF Store, powered by Amazon.
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (June 12, 2012)
Length: 320 pages, Hardcover
Series: Book 1 of ?
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Mermaids, Supernatural
Completed: March 2012