Book Review: The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte (ARC)

The Vanishing Deep

Author: Astrid Scholte

Publication Date: 03 March 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 432

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons for Young Readers

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.

I’ll be honest, when I read the premise for this one and saw the cover, I couldn’t get my hands on this one fast enough. Luckily, I was able to win this one on BookishFirst.

Tempest has spent the last two years diving for anything that she can sell for notes. With enough money, Tempest can go to a research facility called Palindromena, which specializes in resurrecting the dead for 24 hours. Tempest plans to resurrect her sister Elysea in order to finally get her sister to confess to the the death of their parents.

Everything about the resurrection process is wrong. The warden who resurrects Elysea is not exactly who he says he is. Tempest is supposed to convince Elysea that she’s been in a medically induced coma, but of course, Elysea quickly catches on to her untimely surmise. Elysea knows how to get answers surrounding their parents, but it entails the two of them breaking her out of the facility and embarking on a dangerous mission.

I admired the depths of sisterhood between Tempest and Elysea. Even though so much pain exists between them, neither one is willing to give up on the other. We alternate POVs between Tempest and Lor (the lying Warden), but I would’ve much preferred alternating POVs between Tempest and Elysea. I am also still on the fence with Lor, but I will let you decide that for yourselves.

I am also still very confused about how the whole magic behind the resurrection happens. The research facility developed this technology to resurrect someone for 24 hours without any memory of harm or showing any signs of injury, and their lives are tied to that of the Warden who resurrects them. The big picture behind this sort of makes sense, but the rules behind this magic system are never properly explained or flushed out.

I would also classify this book as a book that definitely feels very YA. Since the crux of this story deals with death and resurrection, I was expecting something much darker akin to blood magic, but I felt that this story just skimmed the surface. The author could’ve taken the opportunity to delve into something much darker and complex, but I felt that she was a bit safe in that regard.

Thank you to BookishFirst and Penguin Teen for my giveaway win. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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