Book Review: The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

by - 4:10:00 AM

Title: The Abyss Surrounds Us
Author: Emily Skrutskie
Pages: 288
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Fantasy
Release Date: 08 February 2016

From Goodreads: "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."

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

I think it's safe to say that The Abyss Surrounds Us is probably one of my favorite books that I've read lately. It's got a spunky, strong heroine, a fresh plot, and is written with beautiful and descriptive words that instantly draw you in to the story from the very first page. By the end of the first chapter, I had already found myself attached to Cas and had a hard time putting this book down because I was already so invested in the story.

The plot was so different from anything I've read, and honestly, I was unsure if I would really end up liking this book or not. Pirates and sea monsters seemed like it would be interesting enough, so I took a chance. With the way that the author uses her words, she really brings Cas and her world to life. Everything flowed so nicely, and the pace that the story progressed really had me trying to sneak in a few more pages before bed each night. It only took me a few days to get through this title, but I believe I was trying to both read as much as I could at once and draw it out so that the story wouldn't have to end so soon!

All of the characters were very well written, even the minor ones. I immediately loved Cas and was so excited to be able to follow her on her journey through the book. Swift was another character that had me from the first time she was introduced, and to be honest, so did Santa Elena! I will go ahead and say it, I ship Cas and Swift so hard. I had a feeling early on that Cas was attracted to females and when it ended up being Swift that she liked, I think I did a little happy dance. Their relationship is rocky, complicated, sweet, tough, mean, and lovable all at the same time. While the relationship isn't the focal point of the story, I was glad that the author took the proper amount of time within the story to bring their relationship together. I was shipping those two the second that Cas came into contact with Swift and darnit, I will go down with that ship like a good captain does!

I really loved that the Reckoners had such a big part in the story. I mean, sea monsters that are trained to hunt pirate ships? How cool is that?! It's so new and different from a lot of the YA books that are out there these days, and it was refreshing to read something with such a unique concept that was so well written. I found myself loving Bao, despite Cas having to raise him for the pirates. I really hope that if there is a sequel (PLEASE LET THERE BE A SEQUEL!!!!!!) that we will be able to dive deeper into the Reckoners and how they came to be once the world changed.

Probably the only downside to this book was the lack of description about what happened to make Cas's world the way it is. They only slightly hint at it, calling it the Schism and saying that the world was fractured into many smaller nations when it happened. I would love to know what exactly caused the Schism and how Reckoners came into existance, so I'm holding out for another book that goes more into detail about these things!

All in all, this is one of my favorite books that I've had the opportunity to read in 2015 and I highly recommend this to any fans of fantasy or science fiction books!

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