E-ARC, 288 pages
Published by Flux
Publication Date: February 8th, 2016
For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.
There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.
But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she's not about to stop.
I really enjoyed The Abyss Surrounds Us, and would love to see more of its captivating world! The history, living conditions, and even the food chains were all explained perfectly, so that I really know and understand the backstory. Pirates and sea monsters instantly had me interested in this book, which managed to be unique, and simultaneously so well-written that it was easy to imagine.
While reading, I was constantly struggling with who to root for, and even Cassandra—the main character—made plenty of difficult and complicated decisions. However this only made the book even more intriguing, and added to the characters’ realism. In life, people aren't ever all good or bad, and this book portrayed that perfectly. All of the characters were multi-dimensional with their own problems and issues, but they also had struggles and moral dilemmas to deal with.
Also, if you’re looking for girl power, this book has PLENTY of it! There were so many strong girls who didn’t need rescuing and fought for themselves—I loved it! I am glad I read this book, and I really recommend it—especially for anyone interested in amazingly well-rounded characters, strong female leads, action, pirates and floating cities. And come on, who doesn't like that?!
1) I loved the world introduced in The Abyss Surrounds Us. I know so much about it, because the science, history, and politics were all well explained. I mean—sea monsters, pirates, and huge turtles...how often do you see that?
2) This entire book had me confused about who to root for, which is awesome! Even the protagonist Cassandra is forced to make difficult choices that I sometimes disagreed with, but in the end it only made the book better.
3) Hello, GIRL POWER! There were so many fierce girls in this story, it was so refreshing to see!
4) The characters were all realistic, because I could love them one minute and them be terribly frustrated and annoyed with them the next.
1) Even though some of what I learned about the world was interesting, some things I felt were unnecessary. As interesting as the food chains of the NeoPacific are, too many details like these occasionally got in the way of the plot for me.
“Welcome back to the land of the living,” Varma says, grinning extra wide as I slide onto the bench next to Swift. The guy probably gets kicked out of funerals for looking too pleased with himself.”