Author: Gill Arbuthnott
Publisher: KelpiesTeen Floris Books
Jess thought the old tales of dangerous creatures living beneath the water were just crazy stories, until her friend Freya was stolen. To rescue her Jess must capture one of them- a shapeshifter, a kelpie- but he's nothing like she imagined. Finn sees her in ways that on one ever has. Not even Magnus, who's known her all her life. Caught between two worlds, Jess must choose between what she's always known and what lies... Beneath.
Let me start this out by saying that Gill Arbuthnott has the ability to tell a story very well. She was able to describe the scenes and characters with such detail that I was able to picture everything clearly and very vividly. While I feel that Gill did an amazing job at telling this story I can't help but feel that it was intended for a slightly younger crowd than myself, maybe kids of the middle school age. Now I'm not saying that Beneath wasn't good or entertaining, it was actually the opposite, I enjoyed reading it. Arbuthnott has packed this book with plenty of adventure and action. Although the romance aspect of it was a little bit PG 13 I feel it was fitting because of the era in which the story takes place.
Jess is the main character and the story is told mostly from her point of view. The story takes place in the year 1577, in a small town called Kirriemuir in Scottland. Jess lives on a small farm with her mother Martha, father Ian, grandmother Ellen, and younger brother Ashe. Jess' best friend is Freya, the local beauty and she knows it too. Magnus is Freya's cousin and he has a thing for Jess.
Jess and Freya are out in the woods one day collecting mushrooms and brambles when Freya ends up getting taken by a kelpie named Finn. Jess tries to tell her family and Freya's father that she saw a black horse with blue eyes take her into the lake but they don't believe her. They try to convince her that she is mistaken and that Freya drowned but Jess knows better. The only one that believes her is her grandmother Ellen. Ellen tells her there might be a way to get Freya back. Jess is determined to find her best friend and goes into the kelpie world to get her. She forces Finn to help her get Freya back home and in the process finds out that Finn really meant to take her and not Freya. Instead of being freaked by all of this Jess is intrigued and it is the beginning of a very odd love triangle.
Now don't get me wrong I enjoy a good love triangle just as much as the next person, soap operas use them all the time, but this one was just a little awkward for me. I absolutely could not stand Magnus. I kept screaming in my head for him to just go away. Sure he was a good guy and had only the best intentions but he was always getting in the way and making things worse. I got a little agitated with Jess for not making a decision up until one was kind of thrust upon her because she had to choose which world she wanted to live in.
The way the book ended definitely threw me for a loop. If I had been the author I would have given it a different ending but she made it work. I feel that this book could easily have been turned into a series. It had all the makings for it. All in all I feel that Gill Arbuthnott did a really good job in writing this book and I was captivated from the beginning. I would recommend reading this book to anyone who is into the fantasy and mythological genres. Beneath does seem to be geared to the tween to early teenage ages but it is no less entertaining for an adult to read.
(c) 2015 Andrea Hatfield All Rights Reserved