Sunday, July 13, 2014

Yay for YA: Promise Bound, by Anne Greenwood Brown

I am never quite comfortable with reviewing sequels.  If you've been reading my reviews for a while, you likely know I don't give spoilers, and do not appreciate spoilers.  Thus, to review something in a series after the first book is a bit difficult.  You either have to paint broad strokes about it and drop hints, or just say what happened in previous installments.

On the other hand, when I take the time to actually read through an entire series, I would like to give props to the author, because I don't typically indulge in reading to completion.  In this line of work, one needs to have a vast knowledge of what can be recommended to patrons, which does not bode well to moving beyond the first book of anything.

So, let me tell you about Promise Bound, the third in the Lies Beneath trilogy by Anne Greenwood Brown.  I'll also briefly touch on the second book, Deep Betrayal, as I read it while on hiatus.

Checkouts (series): 4 at the school library
Typical reader: Fans of the series
Source: Snowbound Books

Synopsis, Deep Betrayal: Told from Lily's perspective.  After graduating from high school, Lily returns to the lake to find Calder and her father spending too much time together, thanks to the events of the first book.  And someone - or something - is killing tourists and locals alike on the lake.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

Synopsis, Promise Bound: The chapters alternate between Lily and Calder's perspectives, plus additional voices near the end.  There are a lot of things going on in this one, with Lily dreaming of being Nadia, her grandmother (and Calder's adoptive mother), Calder's sisters vying for control, a mermaid's baby, and old promises that must be kept.  Will all the turmoil tear Lily and Calder apart?

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

Deep Betrayal pleased me.  Lily's voice was perfect in this book.  It was just as I would have imagined it.  The lore in this rendering of the world was explored more.  The thriller elements of the book stayed fresh and gripping.

Promise Bound had a lot going on, yet it also felt like a finisher for the trilogy.  It didn't really add to the experience, but wrapped things up - including elements added in this book.  There were a couple of points I want to address in it, though.

1. The plot twist halfway through the book.  Initially, I was shocked by what seemed like an odd, out of left field, crazy plot twist.  Lily makes Calder promise to do something that he doesn't want to or feel the need to do - but promising compels merfolk in this world, so then he has to.  It flummoxed me.  But I came to terms with it.  It did fit, somewhat.  While it was rash and impulsive, Lily is a teenager, and teens (perhaps especially Lily) can certainly be rash and impulsive.

2. I have a much harder time with the character of Chelsea.  Calder meets her at the reference desk of (a branch of) the Thunder Bay Public Library.  She should not exist.  Harsh, yes.  But what library lets high school students work the reference desk?!  You don't find that at a small town's reference desk, much less in a city of more than 150,000 residents.  She could have been a college student and I would have bought it.  But not a high school student.
And then what the heck is up with her not only giving Calder the addresses, let alone driving him to the addresses, of patrons?  It wasn't even as though he had used his powers on her.  She just up and violated patron confidentiality to an extreme.  I had a little conniption fit over that.

But, overall, I enjoyed this series.  It was a fresh, different take on merfolk, and offered elements of other genres beyond paranormal romance.  The protagonists were interesting, as was the world-building and lore.  And I appreciated the setting - not quite Michigan, sure, but Lake Superior is visible from my apartment.

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