Book Provided by NetGalley and Random House Children’s Books
Release date: June 12, 2012
Genre: Young Adult
AH’s Review – 3.5 Skulls – B+
Now this was a very different take on mermaids. Step aside Ariel and let author Anne Greenwood Brown tell us all about her mermaids. Lies Beneath’s mermaids are predators that feed upon humans’ positive emotions, leaving shriveled husks of their prey behind. These mermaids have special abilities: they are able to communicate telepathically with other animals, they have speed, they have beauty, they are able to compel and persuade, and they are able to transform into human form and walk among us.
Set in Lake Superior, near the Apostle Islands off Wisconsin, Lies Beneath borrows from the Manitou legends and lore of the Native Indians of that region. The rugged beauty of the area and its remoteness create a wonderful backdrop for this tale. (No pun intended).
The story is narrated by Calder, a merman who is compelled to leave the warmth of the Caribbean and migrate to join his sisters Maris, Pavati, and Tallulah up north in Lake Superior. They have summoned Calder back to Lake Superior to avenge their mother’s death. Calder’s migration used all modes of transport – by water, by plane, and stolen car. Yes, these mermaids have a kind of outlaw feel to them.
Maris is particularly ruthless, carrying a grudge for long periods of time. Pavati uses her beauty to acquire necessities for her family as well as prey. Pavati loves to “play” with her food. Tallulah is the more happy-go-lucky sister who cares deeply for Calder. Tallulah wants to be free of Maris’ control.
Calder’s character both intrigued and repulsed me. It’s not often that I read books about mermaids and his perspective was new for me. Calder was different from his sisters – he preferred the warmth of the Caribbean to Lake Superior (completely understandable). He also viewed his sisters’ feeding habits with disdain; he had not fed from a human in months. I was a little creeped out by Calder’s stalker tendencies, more so because he was behaving as a predator which was his nature. Calder did have some cool abilities. He had a strong electric charge which made him handy as a bug zapper.
There’s lots to like about Lily. Lily is a bit of a free spirit, a poet at heart. The oldest daughter of Jason Hancock, Lily was responsible for her younger sister Sophie. Lily does not fall head over heels for Calder at first – in fact she is quite wary of him, and rightfully so. Lily is smart and resourceful and handles herself well in difficult situations.
I liked how the author includes poetry about mermaids into the narrative. Lily even sports her favorite line of poetry as a tattoo.
Lies Beneath is not without a few little problems. Lake Superior would be way too cold for swimming, especially in April unless one is a fish. Aside from that, and perhaps a few stalkerish moments, I found Lies Beneath to be an enjoyable read and an exciting new take on mermaids.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s Books for a review copy of this book.
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