I absolutely loved the world building in The Vanishing Deep. You tell me a group of people who live on water, and I’m practically guaranteed to pick it up. Then you add in the idea of resurrecting our dead for a day to say goodbye and I knew I had to track down The Vanishing Deep. Read my full review to see what I thought about this strong world building YA book!
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the Bookish First. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
The Vanishing Deep‘s world building hooked me from the beginning. Archaeological scavenging underwater? The desire to talk to our dead again? Count me in! As someone who is slightly freaked out about swimming and also being stored in tanks, you might wonder why I’d love this world building so much. But it’s a testament to the well-thought out world of Scholte – the weight limits of the societies are a harsh but necessary precaution. The way Scholte talks about burial practices and privilege – since the cost of burying and resurrection is costly. I loved the world building so much! (There’s also an aro side character)
The Vanishing Deep is dual POV and while I normally adore dual or muliple POV, I had a hard time enjoying Lor’s POV. Maybe it’s because the themes of sisterhood were so strong with Tempest’s POV – which is one of my all time favorite elements – but Lor’s POV paled in contrast. It just meant I felt like I was reading his chapters to get back to Tempest. Her bond with her sister was so complex. Our feelings towards the ones we love who have left us. The anger, the guilt, the pain, and the love all wrapped up together. How would you feel if you had 24 hours with someone you lost?
It’s such a fascinating idea and that intrigue was able to propel me through The Vanishing Deep as the clock ticks down. Grief is a force of nature. Do we allow it to erode us until we are a shadow of what we used to be? Do we let is harden us to anything else? The Vanishing Deep asks interesting questions about immortality. About death, closure, and moving on. Lor’s POV felt almost like a piece of the story that propels the plot, but not a character I got to know. The ending is a total curve ball, and I’m so excited to see what people think of The Vanishing Deep.