Book Review: “The Vanishing Deep”

The Vanishing Deep” by Astrid Scholte

Source: PenguinTeen in exchange for an honest review

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy


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 went into The Vanishing Deep expecting a fun journey/adventure with maybe a few mysterious elements thrown in. I was not expecting my heart to be broken. Astrid, you are cruel.

The Vanish Deep does present an adventure. Slowly over the course of the story, the world building it put into place. It was an interesting blend of a harsh & unforgiving world since much of the world is underwater and shiny, new technology on Palindromena. It was like the best of both worlds.

Loved the countdown. The story itself was exciting enough and moved along at a great pace. Having that count at the start of each chapter really adds to the tension.

Hurray for there really not being a love story. Sure, the story takes place over roughly 24 hours so there’s not that much time for things to happen. Our characters do (eventually) grow fond of each other and something may eventually have happened but romantic love isn’t the focus here.

I loved the twist of medical ethics thrown in. No spoilers but it presents some tough questions. It really makes the reader think about what they’d do in the situation. It reminded me of Unwind and the question of how far you’d go to save someone.

I should have known there be some twists in there but man, they were PACKED at the end. As the story starts winding down, you think there can’t be another wrench thrown in but they just keep coming. I did appreciate that this story is a stand alone though. No need to keep stringing things along.

Another stellar book from Scholte.

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