Book Reviews

Review: Desdemona and the Deep by C.S.E. Cooney

Desdemona and the Deep is an eerie story about family, sacrifice, and the faerie. Haunting and lyrical, this novella features our heroine Desdemona as she is tested beyond what she could even imagine. In a world of dreams and bargains, will Desdemona emerge the same?


In Desdemona and the Deep, the spoiled daughter of a rich mining family must retrieve the tithe of men her father promised to the world below.

On the surface, her world is rife with industrial pollution that ruins the health of poor factory workers while the idle rich indulge themselves in unheard-of luxury. Below are goblins, mysterious kingdoms, and an entirely different hierarchy.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Desdemona and the Deep is a story about righting our family’s wrongs. It’s a story featuring a cast of queer characters mixing goblin market vibes and a 1920s setting. You will feel the darkness of the shadows, the luxurious feel of silk, and the eeriness from each page. Living a life of privilege, one day Desdemona uncovers the skeletons in her house. The costs of her glittering dresses and lacquered houses. It’s about a moment where we realize our complicity. The blood that drips from our jewels and necklaces, running into our crystal goblets.

Gorgeously lyrical, the words roll of your tongue. Disguising their sharpened edges. I’m not sure how all the characters would identify because a lot of their actions are cloaked in implications or not directly identified on page. But they are there. Desdemona and the Deep is wonderfully eerie in the faerie and otherworldly creatures. The way the words slip over your skin leaving behind a whisper of something more, something indistinguishable.

It asks us what we will sacrifice in order to get what we want. When the sacrifices don’t matter if it isn’t our blood. But will we all be content to accept our success on the backs of those around us?

Find Desdemona and the Deep on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite story about featuring faeries?

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