Monday, November 2, 2020

The Vanishing Deep - Astrid Scholte

Summary: 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.
  (Summary and pic from

My Review: Sometimes when I’m going along and living in a pandemic and my kids have school online and that sucks and ya know, the normal 2020 stuff, I just decide that I want to check out and read some good ole dystopian YA fic. I don’t know about you, but I feel like if the book is decently written and the premise is somewhat interesting and fun, I can tear through that book like it’s no big thang and be grateful for the distraction. Because I read several books at a time, sometimes I like to have a little dystopian YA fic to give me a break from more serious reading. It’s also a good stop gap when I’m feeling a reading struggle—like the book I’m reading isn’t really grasping my attention and I’m having to force myself to read. A dystopian fic can snap me out of that.

So let’s get to Vanishing Deep, shall we? The premise of this book was spooky—a world covered in water because of the Great Waves, and in some ways I liked this. While of course the oceans really are rising due to global warming, and there is a very real possibility that some land will no longer exist because of it, the idea of Great Waves coming to take over almost all land on earth is not as possible as other things and therefore not as scary. As it’s 2020 and we’ve already lived/are living through some pretty scary things, I’m okay with something that isn’t completely imminent feeling. Dystopia with just enough reality to be interesting and applicable, but not enough reality to be actually frighteningly scary. That’s my kind of dystopia at this point.

I liked the story and the characters in the book. The characters weren’t as fleshed out as some I’ve read, but they were real enough that I felt like I could relate to them. They had some really interesting back stories, which I think were addressed well enough that I felt like we cared about what happened to them. There was also room for adjacent or companion books, which is always nice. I feel like characters should be interesting enough that they could have their own book in the world as well. The story was a fun adventure as well, and tragic in its own right. It had enough pirates, peril, and adventure to keep me reading right to the end! I read this book quickly—in just a few days, and enjoyed it.

I don’t know how much reality and feasibility you expect, but I just read Shadow Divers and these girls are divers as well (which makes sense since they live in a world of water), but obviously Scholte hadn’t taken any deep dives (har har) into diving because there was barely surface level (har har) knowledge of it and what it would take to actually dive like they were doing, some of which was impossible anyway. That’s okay, though. I wasn’t reading it for the reality of the diving.

If you’re into dystopian fiction and looking for a fun quick read and a good diversion from All Things 2020, you should check this out.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

For the sensitive reader: There are a few swear words, mostly for shock value, and really no discussion of sex. There is some light teen romance and kissing. 

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