Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Promise Bound by Anne Greenwood Brown

Calder and Lily never imagined falling in love would mean breaking apart. But ever since Lily started wearing a glass pendant that once belonged to Nadia, Calder's adoptive mother, she's been having vivid dreams of what life was like for the mermaid matriarch. In fact, she's been dreaming as if she were Nadia! And Nadia, it seems, made a promise before her death. A promise to reunite Calder's biological mother with her son. Lily knows merfolk are bound to keep their promises. Calder's not buying into it, though. He chalks up the dreams to stress. He wants Lily to focus on the future—their future, not the past. Which forces Lily to send Calder away. Calder goes, feeling rejected and more than a little tempted to revert to his hunting ways. 

What both of them overlook is the present: Calder's sisters, Maris and Pavati, are fighting for control of the mermaid clan, and now that Lily and her dad have transformed into mer-creatures, both mermaids vie for daughter and father as allies. Which of the two mermaids can be trusted? Will Lily make costly mistakes, forcing her to descend to the depths of Lake Superior? And if Calder returns, will he be the same merman Lily grew to love? The stakes are high, with many lives at risk, but Calder and Lily must confront the past as well as their darkest impulses if they want a chance at being together.
~Goodreads
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Number of Pages: 368

Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Rachel, age 18

If you've been following this blog for a couple years now, you know that Anne Greenwood Brown's mermaids are my absolute favorite. The Lies Beneath trilogy has a lot to offer, with its themes of family, evolution and temptation. 

Being a Minnesotan, the setting near Lake Superior drew me in. I enjoyed the small town vibe and the Minnesota weather. But beyond the setting, what truly brings this story to life for me are the characters and Brown's spin on mermaids. 

Nearly every character in these novels, and especially in Promise Bound, deserve their own story. They are each intriguing and well thought out. Some of them are mermaids and mermen--and I haven't read a book with mermaids quite like these. For these reasons--including the setting because not many books are set in Minnesota--this trilogy feels unique. 

I really enjoyed the elements of Promise Bound. Subplots I'd seen build up throughout each preceding novel finally came to fruition in the final installment. The only trouble I had was at the turning point of the novel. I really didn't agree with Lily's decision that threatened her and Calder's relationship. I saw many ways around it, and so her actions seemed more mean/stupid than tough-loving/brave. 

However, I got over that bump and accepted it. The last fifty pages or so of this novel are intense and suspenseful. Each character is up to something, and almost all of them get their own chapter in the final pages. Brown weaved their stories together very cleverly. It was quite the ending, and I devoured it. 

However, one thing bugged me about it: the loose ends. And I know, books are supposed to leave with loose ends. It wouldn't be fun if nothing was left to the imagination. But at the same time, there was such a layered plot with Gabby Pettit, Lily's mother, and Maris. Each of them, in my opinion, had unfulfilling endings because their stories had been so central in the plot of Promise Bound and their problems weren't ever resolved. 

Having said all that, I still really enjoyed Promise Bound--I enjoyed the whole trilogy. My all-time favorite would have to be Lies Beneath, because I love Calder's point of view--and having spoken with Anne Greenwood Brown, that makes sense because she's told me numerous times that Calder was the easiest point of view to write--but it was a near tie with Deep Betrayal, which is in Lily's point of view. Parts of Promise Bound fell short with me, but nonetheless it was still rich with the characters and mermaids I've loved from the beginning. 

This is an awesome, midwestern-set trilogy about lethal mermaids bound by promises, secrets and temptation and who cope with love, forgiveness and family. You should check it out! 

Buy Hardcover | $17.99
This book is on shelves now! 

Happy reading!
Rachel, age 18

1 comment:

  1. Ahh, so you finished! Interesting that your favorite was Lies Beneath - I definitely enjoyed reading that one in Calder's POV, but I didn't really like Lily, so that's one of the biggest reasons why I didn't read Deep Betrayal.

    I'm sorry to hear that some parts of Promise Bound weren't amazing! I absolutely hate loose ends - especially with conclusion novels. Like, abstract endings are one thing, but straight-up loose ends are another. I'm not a huge fan of endings being open to interpretation.

    BUT, I'm glad that you enjoyed this one overall! And the series as well. I might go back and read this one, I might not. Either way, I'm glad it's a satisfactory series!

    Fabulous review, Rachel!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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