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.
My thoughts on the book:
Promise Bound is an excellent conclusion to the Lies Beneath trilogy. Calder grows quite a bit, as does Lily, and Brown manages the alternating viewpoints in this novel like a pro. I could clearly hear every character's voice during their chapters. The characters are also faced with tons of challenges, which I liked. However, this book isn't perfect, and there are a few things that I would have liked to have seen, such as a clearer, more definite ending and more steady pacing. For the most part, though, I really enjoyed this novel.
Brown pulls out all of the stops when it comes to the characters in this installment. We get to hear from Calder, Lily, Maris, Pavati, and Daniel. Also, the reader gets to learn a lot from Nadia through Lily's dreams. This caused me to view all of the characters as more well-rounded and real. I could connect with, or at least understand the motives of, everyone after reading from all of these different perspectives. I know the last book was really Jason-heavy, and he wasn't as prominently featured in this novel. I would have liked to have learned a bit more about how he was dealing with being a mermaid. I also would have liked to have seen more of Sophie. It would have been nice to get at least a chapter from her perspective.
The pacing was pretty slow for part one of the book. The second part was a bit faster, and the third part flew by. I really liked the ending, but I feel that Brown left too many loose ends. I won't say what they are here because I don't want to spoil it for you. Also a couple of things could have been explained a bit more clearly. The plot itself was easy to follow, but there were a few twists at the end. Some of which I really liked and one of which didn't feel realistic to me. When there's a mystery being solved, a few clues should be dropped so it at least makes sense to the reader in the end. As it stood, things just felt too manipulated by the author for one event. Also, Calder didn't need to state he was fully evolved. That would have been better left unsaid. We could get that without being told.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but as I mentioned, some things were lacking. It held my interest to the very end, and while the conclusion isn't completely satisfying, it's not exactly unsatisfying, either. I'd recommend this series to anyone who likes good mermaid tales.
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