Sunday, November 10, 2019

Book Review: Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

Title: Deeplight
Author: Frances Hardinge
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Genres: Young adult, Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: October 31st 2019
Pages: 437

Synopsis (Goodreads): For centuries the gods of the Undersea ruled the islands of the Myriad through awe and terror: they were very real, and very dangerous. Sacrifices were hurled into the waters to appease them, and every boat was painted with pleading eyes to entreat their mercy. They were served, feared and adored. Then, thirty years ago, the gods rose up in madness and tore each other apart.

Now, none remain. The islands have recovered and the people have patched their battered ships and moved on.

On one of these islands live Hark and his best friend Jelt. To them, the gods are nothing but a collection of valuable scraps to be scavenged from the ocean and sold.

But now something is pulsing beneath the waves, calling to someone brave enough to retrieve it.


My rating: 5 / 5 ★

Deeplight is a strange yet mysteriously beautiful story of the wonders that the sea can offer, and the dangers lurking deep beneath the surface of the waves.

This is the second book written by Frances Hardinge that I've read (the other book being The Lie Tree), and there seemed to be a pattern of my reading habits for both books: I couldn't read them quick enough. Her story lines are more than intriguing for me, and honestly, I wouldn't say they were a heavy read either, but there was a certain complexity in the way Hardinge chose her words that I find myself needing a longer time to digest them well. In the early pages of Deeplight (and also The Lie Tree), there was a point where I felt lost; I couldn't see where the story was leading towards to and I almost gave up my read—but they kept nagging at me in my mind so I pushed forward, and I'm beyond grateful than I read them till the end.

Deeplight is set in a place where the Gods have died; the Gods all lived in the sea. Hark, the boy that I felt should be older than he was supposed to be, was a boy who was enchanted by tales and stories about the Gods, despite never living during the time when they were still around. He struggles to make a living through the visitors of their island, but I would say that his biggest trouble source was Jelt, his best friend. Greed and manipulative relationships were some of the main points of the story; it somehow hurt me beyond the core of they way Hark and Jelt's friendship folded out. It made me question myself about my own treatment towards my friends, for fear that I have this manipulative trait in me as well.

Hark's character development was truly something that I enjoyed through reading this book. In the early parts of the story, he seemed to me to be a lost boy, who yearned for the Gods without knowing exactly the meaning of his life. But as the story progresses, he grew more mature and was able to stand on his own. I love the friendship he formed unwillingly with Selphin–a very badass and strong character, who's not afraid of expressing what she feels–and how they worked together to make things right. Quest is also another character that I liked reading about; he has this charm despite being an old priest, and he too was not afraid to say what he wanted to say.

The way each God was carved out in the story were astounding, and just as I had titled this post, the breathe in your fear. The more you fear them, the stronger they become—which is how things actually worked in reality. If you don't face your fears, they will eat you alive.

Deeplight is the kind of book that is hard to be put in words, there are just too many things to say about it. It's complex; it's beautiful; it's eye-opening in regards of what creatures that could be lurking deep down on the ocean floor—or way beneath that; it's a book that I don't think I'll ever read again, but it will stay in my mind for a very long time.

Many thanks to Pansing for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Deeplight is now available in all good bookstores!

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'


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