24 Jun 2016

#Review: THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US by Emily Skrutskie


Author: Emily Skrutskie
Series: The Abyss Surrounds Us #1
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Publisher: Flux 
Publication Date: February 8, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars

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.
Read this as part of the #ReadProud Challenge as hosted by Julia Ember.

I really enjoyed reading this book and I liked the plot and the characters, but there was something that kept me from LOVING it. Do I still recommend it? Yes, absolutely. But there was just something that I can't quite put my finger on that made me just "really like" this one instead of "loving" this one.

I loved the world building -- and that my little town wasn't drowned in the re-configuring of the world, thanks Emily! I thought there was enough information for the story to make sense but not too much that it really deterred from my reading of the story. I would have liked just a tiny bit more in the sense of how the economics worked. I felt like the beginning was super quick to get us to action and then we learned little bits and pieces about how the Reckoners system came into play. However, when we learned where the stolen pup came from, it made sense but also didn't? It felt like a pretty quick reveal rather than telling us more of what we needed to know about how it could actually happen. It was too sudden and quick and I wanted to have more at the beginning about this so that it made more sense at this point. Cas doesn't even think too hard about it, just accepts it and moves on.

I really liked the romance because it was super acknowledged that Cas and Swift weren't equals and Cas was still "beneath" Swift since she was a prisoner. And I am glad it took them as long as it did for them to reach equal footing. At the beginning I was very nervous because I am not a fan of slave-master romances but that is not what this is at all, so don't worry if you have the same fears as me. Also I thought they did a god job of saving each other and saving themselves while still looking to the future. I am very excited to see where their story will go.

I thought the plot was believable and I really liked how it played out. I am very excited for the prospect of a sequel to see what Cas does and how she becomes who she is. I thought her character growth throughout the novel was really great -- and I also liked that she saw the Reckoners justice from both sides. I think it was intriguing to see it from the "opposite" side from what she was used to, but again, we saw bare minimum of the "good" side at the beginning so it didn't feel like Cas was converting to the dark side by training the pup and helping the pirates.

As well, it seemed that sometimes the prose was repeating itself. We would learn something and a couple paragraphs later it would be told to us again -- typically using the same words. It made me feel as though I was reading the same thing over and over and nothing really sunk in. But the flow was great, I thought it was easy to read, and it felt so raw and real to be in Cas's head. Also I loved the casual swearing. I'm about that life.

Basically what it comes down to is I wanted like 20 more pages at the beginning to explain more day to day Reckoner life to help me through the rest of the story. I really enjoyed Cas and I am a huge fan of Swift and that makes me like them together. I am excited to see where the story heads to next!


  1. This is one of my favourite books! I'm so happy you enjoyed it!

  2. I'm excited to read this one. We don't get to see many sea monster books.


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