This is a spoiler-free review.
Catch Lili Too by Sophie Wittemore
Gamin Immortals, Book 1
Published November 16th, 2020 by NineStar Press.
Lili is a Mesopotamian siren, and life as an immortal being is hard enough as it is. She’s asexual (which is incredibly difficult to reconcile if your entire point as a mythical being is to seduce people to death). She’s also struggling with depression from being alive for so long.
Lili is an absolutely shoddy improv-detective trying to track down a serial killer so ruthless that it makes even her murderous soul uneasy. However, there’s something larger at work than just one serial killer. A small town is hiding an even deadlier, global-scale secret. Forget Area 51 conspiracies. This one beats them all. With magic.
So, what better way to spice up her eternal life than being hired as a vigilante detective to stop a serial killer? Anything, literally anything. She’d trade her left lung to get out of this. Or, perhaps, somebody else’s.
Click for Content Warnings:
graphic descriptions of violence, death, suicide, murder, cancer, mental illness
Thank you to the author, Sophie Wittemore, for providing me with a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
I got a ton of “Buffy” vibes while reading the premise of this novel, and that immediately piqued my interest. I was also super excited about the idea of an urban fantasy that included non-Western myths and legends, and very intrigued by the concept of a depressed, asexual siren.
Catch Lili Too is a paranormal thriller, and tells the story of Lili, an immortal siren, who gets roped into trying to catch a serial killer terrorizing Gamin, the town she’s passing through. Along the way she manages to find herself a group of comrades, including ghosts, necromancers, vampires and more.
The representation in this book is really great, with many LGBTQ+ characters and even a couple queer romances. I also really enjoyed the diversity of paranormal creatures that made an appearance in this novel. Some were based on myths and legends I had never even heard of before, which was cool to learn about while reading!
Unfortunately, while the premise and diversity in this book really gripped me initially, I found the plot itself lost steam, and some aspects of the story just didn’t end up working for me.
Specifically, I knew this story featured found family dynamics before reading it – a trope that I’m usually a sucker for – so I guess I had some expectations going into it. I found for a big part of the storyline the characters who were meant to be that found family were notably hostile towards each other. For longer than I really think was necessary? So when the narration made comments about them being a family – at times when they obviously still hadn’t developed any trust for each other yet – it felt abrupt, and took me out of the story.
This also made it hard to get behind their chemistry as a group for a good part of the book. I guess I just would have preferred more of the relationships that were built at the end of the story to have been present earlier on. Because once those were more developed, they had a pretty good group dynamic. I just wish I could have seen more of it!
I also struggled to understand a lot of the characters’ motives throughout the novel. I found the lead, Lili, to be very passive during the majority of the story, which may have made sense given her character, but also made for a frustrating protagonist to read from the perspective of. That being said, I really enjoyed both Jo and Byron’s characters a lot, and thought they were great additions!
I thought the reveal at the end was interesting, but with so many questions left unanswered, I couldn’t help feeling a little unsatisfied too. (As a side note, this is the first instalment of a series, so likely those questions will be answered in the forthcoming sequel.)
Nevertheless, if you’re a fan of urban fantasies and paranormal thrillers, this is a book I think would be worth checking out for yourself! While it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I think this unique story could be really enjoyable for the right reader.
Have you read Catch Lili Too?
If so, what did you think of it?
Let me know!