Author: Astrid Scholte
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Released: March 3rd, 2020
Warnings: Drowning, sibling death
I received a copy of The Vanishing Deep through BookishFirst in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Vanishing Deep is Astrid Scholte’s second novel, and it is another standalone novel. Though it will surprise fans, for it is quite different from Four Dead Queens. This is a tale of the dead, and how family can get their loved ones back – but only for 24 hours.
This is a world of water. The Great Waves came long ago, and they destroyed nearly everything. Now humanity survives on man-made structures, and the few small islands that are still available to them. All while diving and living off of what survived.
This is the only world that Tempe has ever known. She loves the water, and she loves to dive. But she can’t deny that the water has also taken much from her. Including her parents. Including her sister.
Now she’s going to make use of the technology that is available to her. She’s going to bring her sister back from the dead – a feat that will only last a day. She has only 24 hours to get the truth from Elysea, and with it, a sense of peace and understanding.
“Twenty-four hours with your loved one didn’t make it any easier to say goodbye, no matter what Palindromena promised. There was no closure. There never would be.”
Warnings: The Vanishing Deep contains several darker subjects that are worth warning about. Though some of them will be easy to guess if you’ve read the description. This novel contains subjects of drowning and sibling death. There are also descriptions of bodies and preservation techniques.
The Vanishing Deep was a truly enchanting read. It was intense and emotional, with Tempe’s pain and determination dominating the pages. The events that unfolded were impossible to look away from, and I found myself reading this entire book in one sitting.
I fell in love with Scholte’s writing from the moment I picked up Four Dead Queens. So I knew that I was going to enjoy The Vanishing Deep. But I don’t think I was quite prepared for what was in store for me here.
You see, The Vanishing Deep is well and truly its own monster. It is raw and emotional and is utterly unafraid to be itself. The fact that is has more of a science fiction leaning is more evidence for how different these two novels are.
The world created here is both similar and new, all in one. We’ve all seen stories that involved a water world – a world where Earth (or a planet like Earth) has been flooded. Yet Scholte made the concept feel new and alive, adding her own twists as she went.
I should probably mention that this novel is actually told through two perspectives. One I already mentioned up above, Tempe. And the other, Lor. Through them we are allowed to see two totally different sides of the same situation, using their experiences from the past to filter in new information about the world – and the risks for what they are trying to do. It was an ideal way of unfolding this story, for more than one reason.
Tempe’s story was a fascinating one. She was so driven and determined, yet so wounded and emotional. I love that she was able to be all of these things, while feeling free to speak her mind. It made her feel more human, even as she dealt with the strangest things we can imagine (like talking to her dead sister).
Lor’s story was a bit more complex, in many ways. Yes, Tempe had to go through hurdles and dig through many layers of truth to find what was real. But Lor…he himself was a mystery. One that took the entirety of the novel to solve.
The ending was unexpected…and if I’m being honest, I’m still processing a lot of what happened. I’ll probably be processing that for quite some time. I know the odds are good that this is a standalone novel, but part of me almost wishes that there would be another book or two. Ironically, given some of the themes in this novel, I almost feel like I need an opportunity for closure.
I really did enjoy The Vanishing Deep. So much so that it surprised me. You can officially consider me a fan of Astrid Scholte, as she’s proven she can write complex novels that are dramatically different in subject and theme. I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.