Remember Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte? Well, I gave that 5 stars. And it’s exactly the same situation for Scholte’s latest release The Vanishing Deep. But where Four Dead Queens was FAR from perfect, but got 5 stars for the enjoyability factor, The Vanishing Deep earned 5 stars the good old fashioned way. It wasn’t perfect, but it was amazing nonetheless. Also, read to the end for some fun bonus content!
The Vanishing Deep was one of those books that just snuck up on me! I remember seeing a lot about Four Dead Queens before it’s release, and that’s what had me hyped for it. But The Vanishing Deep just came out of nowhere! I only knew about it about a month before it’s release date!
But anyway, on to the plot. Before we start here’s a brief synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Tempe (Tempest) was born into a world of water because the Great Waves destroyed her planet. It meant that its people had to learn to survive living on the water, but the ruins of the cities below still called to Tempe. She dives daily, scavenging the ruins of a bygone era, searching for anything of value to trade for Notes (their currency). It isn’t food or clothing that she wants to buy, but her dead sister’s life.
How? Well, for a price, the research facility on the island of Palindromena will revive the deceased for twenty-four hours before they…well…become dead again. Tempe’s sister, 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. And you can bet your butt that Tempe wants to know why.
But once Elysea is revived she 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. And I’m gonna leave it at that – I personally think the official synopsis on Goodreads gives too much away.
So…what did I think? Well, obviously I loved it. But here’s why!
I loved the whole premise of a world drowned and people living on the water (albeit on makeshift raft cities) I thought it was an amazing concept! The world-building was absolutely phenomenal and coupled with the writing really helped paint a vivid picture in my head!
The writing is so beautiful – Astrid Scholte has such a way with words! Her descriptions are so lush and it makes experiencing her world-building an absolute delight. I genuinley believed in everything this world was throwing at me and everything seemed so real!
But let’s move on to the plot. Don’t let the synopsis fool you! The plot seems A-B in the run-down and descriptions, but that’s far from the truth! There is so much going on in The Vanishing Deep but it never seems jumbled or rushed. I’m so grateful too because there’s nothing worse than an interesting premise let down by a lack of things going on!
But there are plenty of plot points that all weave together flawlessly and never get side-tracked or overly favourited. It was really refreshing.
There were plenty of twists throughout the story, and I loved them. I do have one minor gripe though – (spoiler free, don’t worry). I wish that the story ended a little bit earlier than it did. I felt like the ‘false ending’ should have been the true ending. But that’s just me. I’m not saying the true ending was a bad one, I’m just saying I personally preferred the false one.
And that’s really the only negative I have.
The characters are absolutely phenomenal, I was SO invested in them and their stories. My heart swelled, broke, swelled again, broke again – what a ride! I don’t even have a clear favourite! Or even a Top 3 and there’s only really four main cast characters to choose from in the first place! Hell, even the supporting characters are amazing and believable!
Astrid Scholte has firmly cemented herself as an auto-buy author for me!
So, fun bonus content time! I actually tried to recreate the look on the finished cover of The Vanishing Deep whilst reviewing it during the early days of quarantine! Check it out below! (PS – the make-up meltdown happens at about 6 minutes in!)
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