Title: The Vanishing Deep
Author: Astrid Sholte
Intended audience: YA
Date Read: 27/04/2021 – 02/05/2021
Please be warned, this review may be a bit spoilery at the end.
Last year, I tried reading Astrid Scholte’s Four Dead Queens but decided to DNF it. At the time I though it was a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”, but now I’m thinking maybe me and Astrid Scholte’s writing just don’t mix.
Some of it is personal preference, like the dual first person narratives, something I am never a fan of. At first, I didn’t even realise I’d switched to another character’s POV and was very confused.
I never particularly warmed to the two main characters, which made it really hard to be invested in the book at all. I really didn’t care for their romance, which I was supposed to believe took place in a single 24-hour period. I can understand being attracted to someone immediately, but the whole “I can’t get her out of my head” and “she’s so beautiful”… eh.
I especially had trouble with Lor, his one bit of angst got so repetitive! And the twist about him at the end wasn’t a surprise to him, so it felt odd that everything had been told to me in just such a fashion to not point me in that direction.
At least with Tempest, I could at least admire her devotion to her sister and family, even if I didn’t really like her.
The other problem I had was the world-building. None of it really made much sense (this was the same issue I had with Four Dead Queens). I could buy that the resurrected person was linked to their Warden via the Warden’s heartbeat, but given that the whole issue was the dead person’s heart was weakened and they could only be revived once, it didn’t make any sense that just stopping the Warden’s heartbeat instead would mean that the resurrected person could go on living after their twenty-four hours. And I had other issues, too, but that was the main one.
On top of all this, the ending felt quite flat with a unimpressive villain who disappeared without a word at the end. I wanted to really like this one but there were too many things that didn’t work for me.
This review is part of my 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.