Sarah Underwood

Författare till Lies We Sing to the Sea

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Verk av Sarah Underwood


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This is a let down, save yourself the bother. The blurb compares it to Madeline Miller's Circe and Song of Achilles, trust me when I say it is nowhere near that league on any level.
This takes two short lines from The Odyssey, where one of the 12 maids who are hanged by Odysseus is named as Melantho, the only one who is given a name. From this, the author invents what might have happened next. In this case she invents a curse on Ithaca, where they hang 12 girls every year at the Spring equinox in order to placate the sea god. The girls are marked by a ring of black scales around their necks and if they aren't hanged, the sea comes and gets them anyway.
Leto tried to get away from the hanging, but was hanged anyway, and finds herself on the island of Pandu, where Melantho has lived for 3 centuries or so. Every now and then, Poseidon gives back one of the hanged girls, who takes power form the sea and goes back to Ithaca to kill a Prince of Odysseus' line, 12 of them have to die to break the curse. Let is the 12th girl who Poseidon has given back.
Leto & Melantho go to Ithaca and find Mathias, the current Prince of ithaca, and things become complicated when Leto falls in love with him too.
The problem with this is that it is all very amateur. There is little to no character development, the emotions displayed are childish and immature, swinging wildly from extremes - and yet you never actually feel that they are doing anything more than playacting. the romantic interludes do little to develop the character or advance the plot.
The language also suffers from being used unimaginatively, all the characters are beautiful as if that's the only adjective the author knows. It becomes very repetitive on that basis, limited vocabulary used in a book that is overlong.
I'm not sure that the 3 voice structure added anything to the book (apart from unnecessary length). Telling the story from 3 voices that all sound the same adds nothing in terms of the dramatic potential, especially not when all 3 adopt the same childish tone. There are lots of huffs and sulks when people don't listen o make themselves clear.
There are some good elements, The idea is inventive. Both the start and end are strong, it's the overlong middle that lets it down. One the better chapters was the one when Melantho explains how the curse came into being, had the book been more in this style, it may have been a better experience.
It reads a lot like a book aimed at a teen market and I think they're being sold a dud - there are much better books in this vein out there.
… (mer)
Helenliz | 7 andra recensioner | Apr 25, 2024 |
Penelope’s twelve maids of were slaughtered at the return of King Odysseus. Poseidon was furious with the discovery of forlorn bodies consumed by the sea. Thus creating the curse of Ithaca; annually the king must order the murder of the 12 maids marked by Poseidon, or Poseidon will drown Ithaca.

Leto was marked, hanged, and then saved because of Poseidon. She wakes in the waters of Pandou to be greeted by Melantho. With a year until the next hanging, Leto trains to end the curse. What will end it? The death of Prince Mathias.

Lies We Sing to the Sea is woven with secrets, romance, and magic. It is a reimagining of the Ancient Greek Odyssey. Sarah Underwood has produced a captivating easy read with tasteful amounts of foreshadowing and flashbacks. Narrators animated the joys, sorrows, and fears the characters experienced. Lies We Sing to the Sea is a delightful book for people who enjoyed the Percy Jackson series.
… (mer)
RandyMorgan | 7 andra recensioner | Jul 12, 2023 |
No, just no.
This book has so many troubles I don't even know on where to start.
The language is even for a YA most of the times really simple, which leads to the fact that there is no atmosphere whatsoever coming up.
It is supposed to play in Greece? Ja, no, not feeling it at all, the story could have played anywhere there was nothing screaming Mediterranean to me.

The character development was sloppy, which can be linked as well to the limited writing skills.
When the characters are not acting like spoiled brats, they act irrational and/or confusing.
Besides that they do not "act" in a way one would expect to be fitting for the time the story plays in, they also do not speak in that way.
Instead of having the feeling to be somewhere on an isolated Greek island with sunshine, a couple of centuries ago, I got the feeling that some Middle schoolers reluctantly tried to put on a play with a very tight budget in a damp gym somewhere in a rainy village in Britain.
Also, why the frell do you name the main guy Mathias in a story that supposedly takes place in ancient Greece? The name choices in general were very often questionable as well, as if there was no research done at all. (Well, looking over the whole work, I guess there wasn't really any research done.)

Going back to the writing style, there was so much repetition! The book could have been done in half the time if the author would not have repeated herself constantly. Which was especially bad in the chapters about Melantho, which I guess was the attempt to build up suspense about her history, but which ended up only as extremely annoying and boring.

The idea of the story by itself sounded interesting, but the execution was mainly chaotic. Especially the giant confusing plot hole about the fate of the 12 girls that are getting killed every year. On one page it is said "No one of the people knows what's happening to them" only to get contradicted on the next page as "The girls are marked and getting ratted out by villagers".

I had hopes after the first chapter which was good, but the longer the story went on the more angrier I got with it, in the end I "hate finished" it (should have DNF'd, but oh well, now I wasted time on a bad book).
At least the end was good again as it was the only time where the author dared to do something which was in the tradition of Greek dramas, can't make up though for the utter train wreck the rest of the book it.
It might have been a good idea to shelf this and come back to it later with more research and more experience in writing.

A hat tip to the agent though who was able to get this published and if the rumors are true, getting a film deal out of it, well, I at least know that I won't watch it.
… (mer)
Black-Lilly | 7 andra recensioner | May 25, 2023 |
A complicated tale set in a complicated world. It has plenty of intrigue, interesting characters, some likable, others not, a reveal that unfolds slowly, but in a far from boring way and the ultimate in bittersweet endings. Altogether a terrific story from a new writer that I hope continues creating more dive-into stories.
sennebec | 7 andra recensioner | Apr 2, 2023 |



½ 3.3

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