Title: The Vanishing Deep
Author: Astrid Scholte
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: March 3rd, 2020 (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Tempe was born into a world of water. When the Great Waves destroyed her planet, its people had to learn to survive living on the water, but the ruins of the cities below still called. Tempe dives daily, scavenging the ruins of a bygone era, searching for anything of value to trade for Notes. It isn’t food or clothing that she wants to buy, but her dead sister’s life. For a price, the research facility on the island of Palindromena will revive the dearly departed for twenty-four hours before returning them to death. It isn’t a heartfelt reunion that Tempe is after; she wants answers. Elysea died keeping a terrible secret, one that has ignited an unquenchable fury in Tempe: Her beloved sister was responsible for the death of their parents. Tempe wants to know why.
But once revived, Elysea has other plans. She doesn’t want to spend her last day in a cold room accounting for a crime she insists she didn’t commit. Elysea wants her freedom and one final glimpse at the life that was stolen from her. She persuades Tempe to break her out of the facility, and they embark on a dangerous journey to discover the truth about their parents’ death and mend their broken bond. But they’re pursued every step of the way by two Palindromena employees desperate to find them before Elysea’s time is up–and before the secret behind the revival process and the true cost of restored life is revealed.
A huge thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
The Vanishing Deep is set in a future where nearly all land has been submerged due to the Great Waves. One of many now surviving in floating cities built on reefs, Tempe is a diver who searches the ruins of the sunken cities for things she can sell, and ever since her sister Elysea died, she has been saving up for a very expensive program that will revive her for a single day so that she can discover the truth of what really happened to her parents. Elysea has other plans once revived though and she and Tempe break out of the facility on Palindromena in search of answers. Two employees are not far behind though. Lor and Raylan know they must get Elysea back before the twenty four hours are up or the consequences will be disastrous – for more than just Elysea, because the true cost of the revival process is a dark secret Palindromena has guarded all these years.
What a unique concept! I found the world in this book to be very fascinating, where humanity is surviving on the ocean, quite literally, after the Old World, referring to the continents, sunk to the bottom of the seas. It was so intriguing, and the author has done a marvellous job with the world building and feel of the setting in the limited time that a standalone novel provides. The narration from both Tempe and Lor’s POVs provide a way to see things from the perspectives of two people who lead very different lives in this changed world. When it comes to what is essentially the necromancy aspect, this was my first time seeing it in a non-magical setting, and I found it to be quite interesting, if a little disconcerting. It would have been nice to actually see the revival process as it is such an important aspect of this story. As far as characters go, I definitely enjoyed Lor’s POV over Tempe’s, though it’s impossible not to root for Tempe as the story goes along, and for her to be reunited with her family.
The one thing I didn’t like was the ending, particularly how Elysea’s storyline was resolved which I thought was unfair compared to what happened to Lor. The story feels somewhat incomplete, but it’s not set up for the possibility of a sequel either. Also, considering how much happens in this book, I found it hard to believe that everything happened in the span of twenty four hours. This is a rich world with a complex enough storyline that it could have been a duology at least. There was certainly enough mystery and twists in the tale for that.
To be honest, when I read the author’s previous book, Four Dead Queens, last year, I wasn’t that impressed and for me, it didn’t live up to the hype. I approached this book with caution, and while the synopsis had me curious, this turned out to be way better than I expected. The Vanishing Deep is a marked improvement on many points and I liked it much better than Four Dead Queens. Fans of both dystopian and fantasy novels are sure to enjoy this intriguing and fast paced read. Definitely recommended!
The Vanishing Deep releases on March 3rd, 2020.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!