'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Review: The Vanishing Deep

Imagine a world floating on water. Little land, few trees, endless oceans. Can you see it?

Can you see the floating communities trying to cobble together a city to sit atop the water? Can you see the owners of what land is left, standing on their shores, holding all the power?

Seventeen-year-old Tempest is a diver. She searches old-world ruins for things she can trade for notes — notes she can use to pay to have her sister, Elysea, resurrected.

One catch… the dead can only be resurrected for twenty-four hours.

And while most people want to bring back their loved ones to spend one last day with them, Tempest’s motive is slightly different: Tempest is resurrecting her sister to find out the secrets she took to her grave.

This isn’t only Tempest’s story, though. The story also belong to Lor — the boy who lives in the basement of the facility that will bring Elysea back to life, even if only temporarily.

Lor has his own secrets, and when his life entwines with Tempest’s and Elysea’s, those secrets won’t stay secret for long.

The Vanishing Deep is a story of family, love and loss. It’s about clawing back hope when there is none to be found. It’s about doing the thing that your heart tells you to do, even when you know the consequences could not be higher.

The novel shows a splash of a potential future — the drowning of the world we know and the emergence of a new world filled with survivors trying to make it a better place. This ocean world is there on every page, in the jobs of the people, in the things they say and the celebrations they hold. But the story isn’t really about this fascinating future world. Not really.

It’s about Tempest.

It’s about Lor.

It’s about all the things that make us human, about making choices and making sacrifices.

Tempest and Lor taught me not to hold onto grief and anger for too long — to let it go and enjoy what’s in front of me. Elysea showed me that beauty can be found in the smallest of things, if you only open your eyes a little wider. And they taught me these things — these characters who are not real people — because Scholte brings them to life on the page.

Like Scholte’s first YA dystopian, Four Dead Queens, The Vanishing Deep has rich, real and relatable characters that you get to know on such a personal level, you'll close the book believing they are people that you know. It's full immersion in Scholte's novels. It can be nothing else.

If you like dystopian or science fiction YA, this is definitely one to check out. Fans of Four Dead Queens will love it, as will fans of books like The Smoke Thieves and Scythe.

It’s a book that will make you evaluate yourself and your world, like all good dystopian and science fiction stories should.

Title: The Vanishing Deep
Author: Astrid Scholte
Publisher: Allen and Unwin, $19.99
Publication Date: 1 March 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760525576
For ages: 13+
Type: Young Adult Fiction