Fierce, determined, proud, and furious, Leto wants to be remembered as extraordinary. Instead, at seventeen years old, she becomes one of the twelve girls sacrificed to appease the raging sea and to abate Poseidon’s wrath so that others in Ithaca can prosper.
Only, Leto doesn’t die. She washes up on the shores of the island Pandou where Melantho introduces her to a mission: In order to break the curse and to save other girls from the annual hanging ritual, the Prince of Ithaca—who gives the orders for the deaths—must die.
However, once Leto and Melantho reach the shores of Itaca under a ruse, they discover that Prince Mathias is not selfish, ruthless, and cowardly but kind, gentle, and good-humored. In fact, he is searching for a way to break the curse himself. It will be for the reader to discover whether the trio will work together or at cross purposes.
Although the Percy Jackson books target middle grade readers, the debut novel Lies We Sing to the Sea by Sarah Underwood is designed for more mature readers. More than a fractured tale about Greek gods and goddesses, it is an extension and a redemptive retelling.
Along the way, the reader learns many lessons— about the power of love, about the unfairness of life, fate, and destiny, about the effects of desperation and how guilt and grief and hate do peculiar things to people, just as our best intentions do not always matter.
Underwood also asks important questions about whether fate decides the circumstances of our lives and deaths or whether action and purpose play the impactful role. On this subject, Leto proclaims: “We are more than our actions. We are the way we love others and the way they love us back” (259). Readers further wonder whether unfairness should be tolerated or expected.
Finally, Underwood explores human nature. At one particularly artful spot in her story, she writes: “I reserve the right to dislike you because you are an adult. You make your own decisions. You have the potential for rational, measured thought. Even if you do not always use it” (318).
- Posted by Donna