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.
This is the first Mermaid book I have read. I know there are a few of them around but I have always been a bit sceptical of them. Mostly, I have heard bad things about the genre so Lies Beneath was a real surprise to me because I really quite liked it.
I liked the idea of deadly and dangerous mermaids. Seductive, mesmerising, beautiful but treacherous. They were really quite horrible and it took me a little while to get used to them, but in the end I liked this take on mermaid mythology.
I thought the main characters were good. Lily was quirky and different. It was really nice to have a main character that didn’t worry about what she looked like or what she should be doing. She was different and a true individual and I loved that. What I also loved is that for a majority of the book Lily is really smart where Calder is concerned, he gets a bit stalkerish and she seriously backs away from him because of it. (like normal people would do.)
Calder was a good enough male lead. He was intriguing, cute, charming, cheeky and in the end loving. But he could come across as a little childish sometimes which was bizarre considering how old he is. What I really liked was that this book was told from his point of view, it was nice to hear a male voice in a Young adult romance book which, let’s face it, is predominately marketed towards women.
The secondary characters were unfortunately not as developed. Most were bland and unimportant. Calder’s sisters are an exception to this but the others were quite pointless. Jack seemed to half fill so many roles; he was part love interest, part friend and part villain. The problem is he just doesn’t actually do much in any of those characters.
There are times where you have to suspend reality quite heavily for this book to work. (I recommend you go into this with a an open mind) The reactions and actions of some of the characters are just not realistic at all. But somehow Lies Beneath gets away with it. (Probably because if you were looking for a book about reality, mermaids are about the last place you would look.)
Where this book really wins is in the descriptions of everything that happens underwater. It is a stunning world and it really came alive for me. Towards the end where the action really got going I found these scenes to get a little confusing but through the rest of the book it was just glorious.
My main problem with this book is a personal thing. It is not just Lies Beneath but any book that deals with a character tricking, or conning another character into having feelings for them for personal gain. I do not care if the person changes, if they become better to me it is completely unforgivable and I kind of hate it when this character is forgiven so easily. It is a pet peeve of mine and something I see so often in YA.
Other than that I thought this was a great read and I would recommend it if you are a fan of the mermaid genre or if you are interested in trying it for the first time.
Review by Kate Phillips
Published June 12th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers. A free copy was provided for review. Image courtesy of Goodreads
Review by Kate Phillips