Catch Lili Too is an urban fantasy featuring a depressed, asexual siren unwillingly enlisted to solve a murder case. It features an incredibly diverse cast, a fun sense of humour, and great found family vibe! I did find it pretty clunky, especially at the beginning and end. Sometimes events would happen out of nowhere, and I’d get a bit lost. Another round of editing might have been helpful, but it was still an enjoyable read!
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.
I loved how much representation was in this book! Lili is a siren, and being asexual she struggles with that. Everyone expects her to want to be physically intimate when she’s not into it. It also addresses how much immortality can impact mental health which is a topic often ignored in books! The side characters had incredibly varied identities. We’ve got a trans man character, lesbian characters, bisexual characters, lots of BIPOC, and a varied group of immortal creatures!
The dialogue is a bit stilted. Over time I started to enjoy it as it added humour to the book and matched the tone well, but it took a while to get used to. There’s a scene where two characters announce their identity to each other, and as much as I appreciated people being so open it was a bit startling as that doesn’t happen so spontaneously in real life. I found that once I dropped the idea that I should be taking things seriously I enjoyed this book a lot more.
Along that line, I loved the tone of this book. There was a lot of great humour to it, and I found myself smiling throughout. We’ve got some people called the Sweeney’s, and their dad’s name is Todd. We’ve got zombies called Frank, a dead poet called Byron, lots of references to pop culture, and a quirky cast that add a great flavour to the book. My favourite parts were when the gang was all together, making jokes in the face of danger.
The found family aspect was amazing, slowly adding more and more people to create one of the strangest families I’ve ever seen. They’re all very sweet characters. They understand our main character’s mental health problems; they protect each other and throw themselves into danger, so no one has to do it alone. I’m a huge fan of this trope, so I’m glad to see it in the book.
Towards the end, I thought the cast was getting a bit too large. I wish we’d had more time to focus on the development of characters, instead of consistently adding new ones. Some of the characters became redundant after their plot points were over, and a tighter cast would have prevented characters becoming purposeless.
The plot also seemed like it had a bit too much thrown in. Sometimes an event would happen out of nowhere, and I’d be pulled out of the story trying to figure out what was going on. There were lots of interesting ideas here, but they weren’t developed as strongly as they needed to be throughout.
The issues I had are pretty typical of small indie published work, so if you get along with those releases I’d definitely recommend you give this a go. Although I can see areas where development or extra editing would be helpful, this author has a lot of potential. Catch Lili Too has all the elements I love in a book, and if the author keeps writing things like this I’m going to be keeping an eye on them!
CW: death, violence, suicide mention, minor gore
Recommend for: People who enjoy urban fantasy murder mysteries with a large cast, people who enjoy indie pub books, people who want a book with a very diverse cast, people who love a book that has quirky humour.
(Thanks to the author for providing an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review)
About The Author
Sophie Whittemore is a Dartmouth Film/Digital Arts major with a mom from Indonesia and a dad from Minnesota. They’re known for their Gamin Immortal series (Catch Lili Too) and Legends of Rahasia series, specifically, the viral publication Priestess for the Blind God. Their writing career kicked off with the whimsical Impetus Rising collection, published at age 17.
They grew up in Chicago and live a life of thoroughly unexpected adventures and a dash of mayhem: whether that’s making video games or short films, scripting for a webcomic, or writing about all the punk-rock antiheroes we should give another chance (and subsequently blogging about them).
Sophie’s been featured as a Standout in the Daily Herald and makes animated-live action films on the side. Their queer-gamer film “IRL – In Real Life” won in the Freedom & Unity Young Filmmaker Contest (JAMIE KANZLER AWARDS Second Prize; ADULT: Personal Stories, Third Prize) and was a Semifinalist at the NYC Rainbow Cinema Film Festival.
Their prior works include “A Clock’s Work” in a Handersen Publishing magazine, “Blind Man’s Bluff” in Parallel Ink, a Staff Writer for AsAm News (covering the comic book convention was a dream), and numerous articles as an HXCampus Dartmouth Correspondent. Ultimately, Sophie lives life with these ideas: 1) live your truth unapologetically and 2) don’t make bets with supernatural creatures.
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I’d recommend checking out your local indie bookshop!