24 junho 2012

Review: Lies Beneath (Anne Greenwood Brown)

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Publisher: Delacort Books (2012)
Format: Hardcover | 303 pages
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Description (GR): "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."
WARNING: Contains Spoilers
So. Another mermaid book. I was pretty excited about this one since it has a male POV (which is refreshing although it can go very wrong) and seemed to portray mermaids as evil, "alien-like" creatures (the way I like them).

But... I didn't like this book very much. It wasn't terrible, but it just didn't live up to my expectations, I guess. The story was a bit darker than your average YA paranormal romance but not by much. In the end the girl and the guy still got together and all that.

Although I couldn't pinpoint the problems I had with the book while I was reading it, I kind of compiled a list after I finished it.

One of the things that bothered me was that the story seemed... incomplete somehow. As if the characters didn't do all they had to do in order to advance the plot, but it still reached its conclusion. So basically the story needed better development. Plus there was some parts that were just too unrealistic for me to buy (like the fact that Jason Hancock didn't know that huge secret about himself. Just didn't seem possible.)

Another aspect that needed development: the characters. I simply couldn't connect to Lily or Calder, our protagonists. They lacked emotion and through all the dialogues they just seemed to go through the motions when they expressed feelings. Of course the whole romance between the two main characters seemed forced and unrealistic. Oh Lily was feisty a few times, called Calder "creepy" and "stalker" but she still seemed charmed by him. So she was all bark and no bite.

Lily and Calder are basically the only characters in the book. The rest of the cast barely characterizes as characters since they appear randomly only to further the plot. I know most other characters had a name, but I just can't remember them because they simply weren't important except as sources of information.
Calder's sisters are sort of the exception, since they appear a bit more. Still they were very cardboard villains, and could use a lot more characterization.

The word building had a few problems as well. The mermaids were supposedly strange and inhuman, lived in a cave and ate fish, but then they also went to the movies and liked to shop. I just think the author can't have it both ways. Either they are humanized merpeople that are very in tune with human culture or they are completely unaware of how humans behave. Calder used incorrect methods to seduce Lily because he didn't know what human girls liked, but then they go to the cinema and are into fashion? Hmm...

Overall I was not impressed with this book. The author had a good idea and the fact that merpeople lived in the Lake and were predators was really good. But then they also changed into humans and did all the things humans do. I just didn't think it was consistent. I also thought the story and the characters could use a bit more development. The ending didn't convince me at all... after reading the entire book I couldn't figure out how Calder was "redeemed". I don't think Lily taught him much. I think this stems from the writing style; it was emotionless and not very appellative. Another one of those "great idea, not very good execution" kind of books.

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