Author: Emily Skrutskie
Publication Date: 8. February 2016
Rating: 5./5. Stars
Diversity: LGBT Characters, PoC
TW: discussion of suicide
Summary: 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.
So I’ve heard a lot about The Abyss Surrounds Us. A lot. All of it good. And now I’ve finally gotten around to reading it. And I can promise you: it is amazing!
The story is about Cassandra Leung, who after training for many years, finally gets send on her first Solo-Mission. It’s supposed to be easy, just taking care of a cruise ship, but pirates under the lead of Santa Elena destroy everything she’s ever dreamed off. After killing her Reckoner, they force her to help them raise their own beast. Not only could a pirate owned Reckoner easily become a huge threat to ships on the pacific, if there’s more of them, they could also destroy the Neo-Pacific eco-system, causing the death of lots of people.
Do you like the sea? Read this book. Do you like well-developed enemies/unlikely allies to friends to lovers stories? Read this book. Do you like Pacific Rim? Read this book. Do you like pirates? Read this book. Are you looking for a fun Sci-Fi novel with a lesbian relationship and action and friendship and character development and betrayal and terrifying sea monsters that can also be super cute but are still terrifying? READ THIS BOOK!
The characters are amazingly well written, full of morally ambiguous characters, some darker, some lighter, but all very understandable. And the character development y’all! Especially Cas’ character arc kept me hooked to the story and honestly? I loved it so much! But of course Swift is great as well and I really love her lot, though not so much in the beginning, but her background story and the character development!!! So good! Oh, and the Reckoners are amazing too! Sea Monsters (some nicer than others) that can tear ships apart and are also super terrifying. But great. Damn, I Love Them.
The world building is awesome! The politics of it are very well thought out and there’s an awesome map in the beginning of the book. While I would have liked a tad more information about the rebellion that lead to the development of the Neo-Pacific, the rest of it was amazingly well done and I enjoyed every second.
While there are some problems with a bit of info dumping at the beginning of the story, I’ll chalk it up to a beginners mistake. And honestly, this world is so well thought out and interesting, set in the future on the sea with amazing politics and so much great world building, I couldn’t help but love it.
Honestly, my only real problem with the book was how short it was. But there’s always something going on and the pacing is really well done (kind of fast, but I was so intrigued I couldn’t put that book down!) And oh my god, there’s an evil cliff-hanger at the end. All in all, I think this is one of my favorite books this year and I can honestly just recommend you to read it. And hey, the sequel is also out now, so get on that and read this wonderful Duology!