Member Reviews

I love any kind of mythological revisitations, but this book simply did not rise up for me. I appreciate the work of multiple protagonists and perspectives, but it's incredibly hard to do successfully.

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I think this book really suffers from being marketed as a Greek mythology retelling. It’s really more of a separate story inspired by a minor character from the Odyssey. The mentions of events of the Odyssey are vague and changed to fit the story.

I think this story does some things well. I enjoyed the characters and the prose, and some aspects of the story were intriguing. Introducing sapphic and bisexual elements to the story was also nice to see, even though the common troupe of making the character choose between a male and a female love interest was a bit disappointing.

But the story was also inconsistent at times and often just unbelievable. The prince focuses on Leto during the execution, but less than a year later she reappears pretending to be someone else, accidentally introduces herself by her real name, playing it off as a nickname, and he doesn’t recognize her or have any suspicion at all. The details of the curse and how it works was also very inconsistent and confusing.

Overall this was a fun easy read, but it doesn’t hold up to closer scrutiny of the story. You might enjoy this if you like the historical or mythological vibe without caring too much about the source material or understanding how the magic of it works.

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I couldn't get into this story after a few chapters so I unfortunately had to DNF. For me personally, I don't usually enjoy third person or shifting POVs as I feel they are disorienting.

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This novel felt under-researched. It was really just a love triangle story with a setting in Greece rather than a Greek retelling.

However, the plot lacks internal logic for why and when things happen except that it’s convenient for whatever scene is currently playing out. The premise and exposition explicitly states that Poseidon was offended by the unnecessary murder of Penelope’s twelve maids three hundred years ago and his punishment is to curse Ithaca and to demand as punishment? Twelve more innocent girls are to be hanged and sacrificed every year to his waters. It is never explained how exactly the murder of more girls is meant to absolve Ithaca of its crimes. The exact parameters of the curse are never explained and while it is implied the yearly sacrifice keeps Poseidon appeased, it doesn’t really elaborate on why Ithaca still suffers (in the vaguest terms, we know the kingdom lacks money and food, but this is never truly investigated.

Overall, the story needed some heavy editing. 2.5/5

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Thanks to NetGalley and HarperTeen for the digital galley of this book.

Each spring, Poseidon demands a sacrifice of twelve maidens on Ithaca for Queen Penelope’s twelve maids. They are hanged and thrown into the sea. This year, fate has come for Leto. Hanged and tossed in the sea, she washes up ashore, alive and meets Melantho, who says that they can stop the curse. The two hatch a plot that involves deception and the murder of a king in order to save the coming generations of young women from the fate of death.

This book was intricate and long. There was a bit of a love triangle that I didn’t appreciate (not my trope), but it was well-done for what it was, and I really enjoyed the relationship between Melantho and Leto. I’m a sucker for retellings, particularly feminist ones (and bonus points if they are queer). But be warned, this book will wreck you. It left me in shambles, but in a good way. Definitely recommend.

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2.5/5 stars

Thank you to Netgalley, the publishers, and Sarah Underwood for allowing me to read and review this book.

Sadly, this was not the book for me. I tried so hard to get into the storyline and like the characters, but I just could not. This does not mean that it was a bad book or badly written. It just was not for me. But I do encourage everyone to determine that for themselves. If this seems like a book you would be interested in, please read this book and form you own opinions.

This book follows two POVs and is a mythological retelling. The two main characters are Leto and Melantho, both of which are forced to be servants of Poseidon. Fate and Poseidon's wrath force the main characters to follow in the steps of the women before them to end a centuries old curse, or more women will continue to be sacrificed for Ithica.

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Lies We Sing to the Sea was one of my most anticipated releases and read of 2023. As someone who is deeply enchanted by Greek mythology but no true foundation to gauge whether or not a myth is misrepresented, this book was great for me.

The opening chapter did what it was supposed to do: it had me hooked and invested in Leto’s fate. Leto was pretty likeable as a main character, if not a little shallow at times. I was intrigued enough by her to overlook the redundancy of her character’s actions later on. I was (mostly) on her side and found her to be an easy main character to follow through the changing POVs. Underwood could benefit from fleshing her characters out just a little more so they feel more three dimensional as opposed to exclusively tied to the main plot and/or conflict (re Alexios, Olympia, the Queen).

As mentioned, I am not overly familiar with Greek myths and legends. I struggled to really understand the concept of the curse and didn’t think too hard about the plot’s execution. At one point, I had to reread the same section twice to realise it was a brand new chapter and not accidentally repeated.

I did really like Underwood’s writing and writing style. She had some beautiful prose that had me wanting more in terms of the relationships and dynamics they pertained to. Along that same line of thought, I was heartbroken in the end—I wanted a better execution of the romance to really feel like that heartbreak was justified.

Thank you Sarah Underwood, HarperTeen, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.

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Unfortunately, I couldn't get into this one. I really liked the premise but the execution fell a bit flat for me.

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I did not like this book at all. I don't think it was worth the time I gave it to read it. I read it in a book club among close friends and most of them DNF'd it. I think the (trigger warning!) sexual assault bit was random and it felt thrown in last minute. As a victim myself, I thought it entirely unnecessary and it honestly pissed me off. I think the back and forth cheating of the main character was also uncalled for but here we are. A lack luster book with a poor ending.

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I enjoyed this book overall. It kept me entertained and interested. However, I didn’t love any of the characters. Given that I’m a reader who likes to root for characters, or feel connected to characters, my review is low. I love that this was a story in the theme of Greek classics.

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I really wanted to love Lies We Sing to the Sea, but I couldn't quite get there. I think Underwoods prose is beautiful, and I love the way that the events of The Odyssey informed her plot, which - contrary to early descriptions of the book before its release - is not a direct adapation of Homer's epic but rather a sequel, determined to engage with a complicated and brutal moment in the original story: the unpunished massacre of the slave girls by Odysseus' son Telemachus. I'd definitely recommed the book to fans of Greek Mythology-adjacent books, and to fans of The Odyssey itself, as I think it was well written and the premise is intriguing. It just didn't work for me. I think it was because I found myself easily predicting turns in the plot, and I just didn't feel intrigued enough to keep reading.

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Rating 2.5 Over all this book was ok pacing has a bit slow and plot was drawn out. Also disappointed author did not read The Odyssey prior to undertaking creating a retelling based on it. Thankfully the events take place many decades after The Odyssey but the killing of the 12 maids of Queen Penelope is the reason for this story existing. Also wish Leto, Selene, and Hecete had different names. Get they bare names from other Greek myths/goddesses but seemed unnecessary.

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This book is absolutely beautiful and I love the concept, but I was a little disappointed in the story itself and ended up DNF-ing.

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I love reading Greek retellings and this one did not disappoint —I’m shocked this was Underwood’s first book.
You don’t need to know anything about mythology or The Odyssey to understand the story, which is awesome, because not everyone who enjoys Greek myths will have read the source material.

I loved Leto and Melantho, and their love that they have for each other. Seriously, I found every part of this book to be exciting and Poseidon is one of my favorite gods.

I’m giving 4.5 stars to Lies We Sing to the Sea and will recommend it to others who enjoy this genre.

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This is just so far off the mark. And then I looked at other reviews to see if I could figure out what the deal was with this book and then I saw the author hasn't actually read The Odyssey and then it all made sense. It felt like such a game of telephone with these characters rather than a cutting and incisive book like Circe or Song of Achilles. I honestly don't know what Underwood was trying to accomplish here but she didn't.

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Very loosely based of the aednid, I usually find myself engrossed with greek mythology and retellings. As much as I anticipated this book, it was just not for me.

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I really enjoyed this book. The story is a fresh take on an old idea. The writing is well done. I heard the negative attention it was getting and I thought it was ridiculous. The author was inspired by an idea. If I were writing something based on a classic I would probably read the whole classic but it was the idea that inspired her. The heat just seemed a bit ridiculous. It is a good book.

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I was first apprehensive about starting this book in the beginning because some reviews made it seen like I needed to read the Odyssey first (I was not going to do that). So after watching a 40 min Youtube summary as prep for my read. Now that I am finished this book, I now know I wasted 40 mins.

Lies We Sing to the Sea was wonderful and can be enjoyed without previous knowledge of the Odyssey.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me access to the free advanced digital copy of this book.

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4 Stars!

The novel begins with our main character’s death… already I’m sucked in. From there, we see Leto be granted a second chance at life to end the curse that claimed her life and thousands of other innocent women. There’s so much to love about this book. The magic was interesting to see, lying about being a princess to sneak into a castle in order to murder a prince, trying to avoid getting murdered by a secret assassin. It was all really gripping and high-paced.

I didn’t always love the way the romance was portrayed. Leto has feelings for two people simultaneously and it was frustrating to read at times. I will say the author did a good job with handling such a complicated emotion. I liked both love interests equally and believed Leto’s feelings about both of them. Still, I wish the ending was a little more final in regards to the romance, but at the same time it feels the most realistic. You can’t just shut your feelings off for a person instantly.

I definitely recommend this read. It was my first mythology novel, and I am excited to read more. Song of Achilles has been sitting on my shelf for too long. I have noticed the overwhelmingly negative reviews given to this book, a lot by people who haven’t even read it, because apparently this author hasn’t read The Odyssey in full before writing this spin off novel. In my opinion, the great thing about fiction is that you can make it whatever you want to be. It's why I love to write, and it's why I love to read.

Thank you Netgalley and HarperCollins for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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