See my review of this book, and many more, at Tales from the Great East Road.
There have always been legends about monsters living in Lake Superior, but no-one really believes them. People still take boats out and swim in the water. For some that will be the last mistake they’ll ever make, for that is where Calder White and his sister live. Their beauty and charm will draw you close as they pull you under until the bubbles stop.
Calder has never fully felt a part of his mermaid family, but he cannot resist their mental connection. He struggles as the killing to survive and yearly migrations to Lake Superior take their toll. This year his sister, Maris, the head of the family, has offered him a deal he can’t refuse: seduce Lily Hancock, and use her to lure her father out into the lake where his sister can kill him. Calder agrees as his desire for revenge on the man responsible for his mother’s death has consumed him for years, but he didn’t expect to come to care for Lily so much. Now he must choose between love and revenge, and fast because his sisters refuse to wait forever.
The mermaids in Lies Beneath are easily the best part of this book: beautiful and chillingly lethal. The murder scenes are exciting and creepy, and the descriptions of their appearance and their journey through the lake is alluring. This was an area that should have been further explored, as the mythology was limited to Calder’s family and his own personal knowledge, and even he confesses that there is much he doesn’t know.The romance, however, was fairly lacklustre. Before Calder reveals what he is, Lily seems a little too accepting of the very few answers she is given. This is a troupe that has been over-used in Young Adult novels: one character acts very strangely, but the other ignores it because it severs the plot to have them oblivious until the “big reveal” scene. Lily does ask a few questions, but acts in an unrealistically trusting way towards Calder. As characters, both Lily and Calder are non-offensive but slightly dull. Lily seems to be slightly quirky and weird to make her seem more interesting, but it doesn’t really work. There is an almost love-triangle that feels kind of pointless as it dies off fairly quickly.
The ending was a pleasant surprise: it was not the typical neat and happy ending that is often used in Young Adult books. It leaves the story open for further books, where hopefully the idea of the mermaids themselves will be explored in greater detail. Still, the book as a whole was pleasant but bland; it was interesting whilst being read but ultimately fairly forgettable.