Cover of LIES WE SING TO THE SEA: An iridescent cover of gold details and a deep blue background. A woman’s face in the top left corner looks out across the sea that is blended to look like her hair while a silver boat sails below her head. The title of the book “Lies We Sing to the Sea” is placed in the waves of hair/water. She has a noose earring and a hair band across her forehead.

About the Book

Title: Lies We Sing to the Sea
Published: 2023
Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Cover Story: What a Beaut
BFF Charm: Mixed Bag
Talky Talk: Smooth Jazz Radio
Bonus Factor: WATER MAGIC
Relationship Status: Struck by Cupid’s Arrow

Content Warning: This book contains sexual assault, violence, death, graphic injury, and suicide.

Cover Story: What a Beaut

This is a gorgeous cover. Everything is shiny, making my inner crow happy. The colours are rich and complement each other well. I didn’t even notice the noose earrings until I was done reading the book and staring at the cover, trying to process everything I just read. I appreciate them and need a pair.

The Deal

Ithaca has been cursed by the god Poseidon for centuries. In order to avoid his wrath, each year, 12 girls are marked with scales signifying that they are to be given to the sea by way of hanging. This fun task has been given to the royal family who round up the marked girls, say a little prayer, and send them into the depths of the sea.

Leto, a young girl and okayish oracle, has been marked. Unable to escape her fate, she is surprised when she wakes up on a mysterious island very much alive with a girl named Melantho. Confused and terrified, Leto listens as Melantho explains why she has been spared by Poseidon and the task that lays before them in order to break the curse.

Melantho has been trapped on Pandou for centuries. Each year, the bodies of the 12 hanged girls make their way to her island, where she blesses and buries them. When she finds Leto alive, she knows that this is her last chance to end the curse and save the girls of Ithaca from their unnecessary deaths.

Mathias, Prince of Ithaca, regrets the role he plays in blessing the marked girls before they are cut loose into the sea. Having lost a sister to the curse, he understands the anger of his people and the guilt of their deaths hangs (get it?) heavy on him. Mathias plans on breaking the curse, but he can’t do it alone.

The lives of Leto, Melatho, and Mathias intertwine beautifully, secrets are revealed, hearts are broken, and lives are altered forever.

BFF Charm: Mixed Bag

Brown paper bag filled with various BFF charms

I adore all the characters in this book. Each character is fully developed and strong willed, making for exciting interactions between them. I was completely invested in each of their lives, both romantic and day-to-day.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

I will only be reading books involving love triangles from now on, thank you very much. The tension and longing between Leto and Melantho made my heart skip. Couple that with the enemies-to-lovers vibe from Mathias and Leto, and I had most of my swoonworthy boxes ticked off. Underwood has a delicate and beautiful way of describing the romantic encounters between the three characters with enough teasing to keep you invested and longing for more.

Talky Talk: Smooth Jazz Radio

I snagged this book as soon as I heard “for fans of Circe and Song of Achilles”. I am a sucker for new takes on Greek mythology, and this did not disappoint. I have read some reviews that were upset that Underwood didn’t read the entirety of the Odyssey (if you have, kudos to you), but it’s not needed to enjoy this story. There is enough background information provided by various characters throughout the story to understand where the curse originated from and the roles each one of them plays.

I loved the alternating voices in this novel. There was no guessing about anyone’s feelings, and chapters picked off where the last one ended, saving me from the repeat nature of most multi point-of-view books. The way the characters interacted with each other felt real, and the dialogue flowed nicely. I cannot get over how lovely the prose is in this book; I was so excited to read it and find out what happened next. It is no wonder that this debut novel is in development for film. 

I even picked up the audiobook because it had three different voice actors (multiple voices on audiobooks is top tier). Their voices are beautiful and only enhance the story, breathing more life into the characters. 

Bonus Factor: WATER MAGIC 

Under water in a coral reef with fish and 2 scuba divers

Leto and Mylantho can control the sea water! They can manipulate the water in amazing and terrifying ways. Belonging to Poseidon has its perk. just the one.

Relationship Status: Struck by Cupid’s Arrow

I am totally in love with this book, and I’ll be recommending it to everyone. Fans of YA and adult fiction will love this book. I am enamored with Underwood’s writing style, and I cannot wait for her to get out some more books.

Literary Matchmaking

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

More girls being shipped off to appease some sea man in The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh.

In Other Lands

Need some magical creatures in a contemporary setting? Check out In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan.

The Love Interest

Itching for another high stakes love triangle? Then read The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received this book from HarperCollins Teen and have not received payment for this review and I will be constantly checking the internet for casting updates for the film adaption. Lies We Sing to the Sea is out now.

Amanda Bell (she/her) is a planner of events, reader (and listener) of books, a consumer of pizza and a crafter of all things! Propelled by caffeine and carbs – she found her love of reading again when she started a book club with her friends in 2019. Since then, books have consumed her life and her TBR pile is outta control. Amanda resides in Edmonton with her husband and daughter.