Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Title: Lies Beneath
Author: Anne Greenwood Brown
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Release Date:
June 12, 2012

Lies Beneath is the debut novel of Anne Greenwood Brown. It is a young adult novel that is told from the viewpoint of a male mermaid and is set in and around Lake Superior.

When some people think about mermaids, Disney's The Little Mermaid comes to mind. However, the only similarity you will find between Calder White and Ariel are the fins.You see, he is a cold-blooded killer who hunts humans for sustenance and survival. Where reptiles need heat to moderate their body temperature, mermaids need positive emotions to maintain their mental stability. One of Calder's favorite places to hunt humans is in the Caribbean, where the story opens. Despite his urgent, ever-present need to feed, Calder is experimenting on how long he can keep that driving force at bay. Unfortunately, his sisters call him home before he can refuel his emotions. An even stronger force than hunger or family beckons him back to Lake Superior - revenge.

The writing of Lies Beneath has a very literary feel to it and is probably my favorite thing about the book. Not only is it very well-written, it pays homage to quite a few different poets and poems from the Victorian era. There may be a few more that were sneaked in there, but I will reread before I say for sure. I did not see it as a hard read, but I would be interested in seeing how teenagers react to literature being woven into the story. Additionally, I was reading the ARC and saw no glaring grammatical errors. (They usually have flashing lights on them.) 5/5

I had no problems with the world-building in this novel. Other than the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, this is the only mermaid story that I can remember reading. Due to that and my extensive reading of mythology, I did not have an Ariel-esque image planted in my head. I was able to take on Anne Greenwood Brown's unique creatures with a fairly clear mind. I am completely okay with merpeople being a little bit scary - I've always been afraid of what swims in the water. (If there's no cement in the bottom, you can count me out.) Therefore, murderous and vengeful creatures aren't really a stretch from what I already think "lies beneath". I would have liked the mermaids to be a little more fleshed out (and I don't mean under the seashells), but this was Brown's debut and the first in a trilogy. Hopefully the next two books will give me what I was wishing for in this one. 4/5

The pace of the book was average, as far as young adult novels are concerned. I wasn't clinging to the pages as I was whipped along a roller coaster story, but neither was I twiddling my thumbs in the park. It was a water book, and it flowed nicely. (Oh, come on! I had to say it.) I can't imagine teen readers getting bored. 3/5

Since this was a part of an ARC tour, my attention span could be interpreted as being skewed. I had two ARCs here at the same time, and both had to be read within a week. However, I think I would have read this book just as quickly if I was reading it at my own leisure. Calder was a fun character to live through, and I never lost interest in his metamorphosis. 4/5

The extra magic in this book was just how intelligent it is. I don't want to say too much that will give away the story, but there is more to it under the surface. (Alright, alright, I'll stop.) 4/5

Everything adds up to 4 Stars in my new system, which pretty fairly reflects where I would have put it without the math. Lies Beneath is a well-written, enjoyable book that I think will appeal to both male and female teenagers (and teens at heart). Anyone with a bit of an English or literary background will especially appreciate this book.

The Debut Author Challenge ARC Tours ladies were kind enough to allow me participate in the tour for this book. The book was likely provided to the tour either by the publisher or author, which has had no effect on the outcome of the review. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.

This book counts toward my completion of the Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren.


  1. I liked this book, but I thought it was a shame that I couldn't connect with the characters :( Still, very cool that the mermaids were murderous creatures :D

  2. Maybe we'll get more in the next one. :-)

  3. First timer at this blog. Love the background and the Alice in Wonderland-themed header image!

    Haven't read this yet but it's pretty cool how you've broken apart and given a rating to each category!

    P.S. The flashing light comment...LOL

    Ana @ BookSpark

  4. I'm so glad that you stopped by Ana, and thank you! I look forward to reading your own review when you read Lies Beneath. :-D


You are going to put words in my box?! *squeezes you* Now I shall stalk YOUR blog!