Review: The Abyss Surrounds us by Emily Skrutskie

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Abyss Surrounds us by Emily SkrutskieThe Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie
Series: The Abyss Surrounds Us #2
Published by Flux on February 8, 2016
Genres: Adventure, Science Fiction, Romance
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
AmazonThe Book Depository

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.

Without all of Dahlia’s pushing, I never would have picked this book up. I mean, the plot totally sounds like a Christina book, but holy hell this is one of the worst covers I’ve ever seen. Like, on top of being horribly photoshopped, the cover is whitewashed. But urging from trusted friends wins out over horrible cover design. The Abyss Surrounds Us is massive fun, and it’s got a fabulous f/f ship.

The world building in The Abyss Surrounds Us is a bit on the weaker side. I love that it’s a sci-fi that’s not in space, because it’s so rare to see any of those that aren’t dystopian or post-apocalyptic, but there’s very little foundation for the world as a whole. What is here, I do really like. I love that science has engineered these monsters of the deep to work along side ships and protect them from pirates. I’m always a sucker for human/animals bonds, and I felt every bit of Cas’ relationships with Durga and Bao.

Though I don’t know too much about this future world, aside from the Reckoners, I love how diverse and feminist it is. There’s never a moment where the characters comment on f/f like it’s a weird thing, or comment on race, or think it’s weird that a woman would be in a role of power. I love that. So often science fiction keeps the exact same societal biases that we have know, and I’m so happy that those aren’t the issues here. Hell yes to badass lady scientists, reckoner trainers, pirate captains, and gunners.

For all that The Abyss Surrounds Us is massively short, it actually doesn’t feel too short. Often, when genre novels are less than three hundred pages, the story suffers massively, cutting out world building or ending midway through the plot like you just slammed into a glass wall labeled THE END. That’s not the case here.

The characters are great. I really love Cas, and her emotional journey on this trip. Some of the pirates are awesome, and some are awful, but they’re all interesting and complex. My favorite thing about this book, I think, is that it’s all shades of grey. Cassandra came into this experience expecting to be the good guy captured by villlains, but, the more she gets to know the ship, she realizes how much more complicated the world is than she was ever taught. Depending on the view, they’re all villains or good guys. Cas’ emotional arc really works.

The ship also works, though it’s one of those rather torturous ones where you’re like JUST KISS ALREADY MY GOD. Cas and Swift have an awesome hate to love thing going, but it’s not easy in any way, and you just really want them to have a nice snugglebang in Swift’s cabin. I adore the fact that their inequality on the ship is called out, and that Cas refuses to enter into anything while that’s the case. Serious bossness in this book about consent and power.

The plot went places I wasn’t really expecting it to go, and I have absolutely no clue what’s going to happen in the next book. Skrutskie really dove into that gray area between right and wrong, and I just love it there. The battles and action sequences are all awesome too. The writing as a whole isn’t technically my favorite, but she does a great job making the action easy to picture and understand.

The Abyss Surrounds Us is such a quick, satisfying read that there’s really no reason for you not to read it. 😉

Favorite Quote:

“I’m not a mother,” I repeat.

“You’re living to keep something else alive, Cassandra. What else could that make you?”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif bloody pirates swann caribbean

6 responses to “Review: The Abyss Surrounds us by Emily Skrutskie”

  1. Pamela says:

    Yipes, I didn’t pick this one up because I had cover issues, too. Now I’m regretting that. This sounds interesting; I’ll see if I can track down a copy and read it!
    Pamela recently posted…Mini-Review: The Nameless CityMy Profile

  2. tonyalee says:

    Sadly, I would have passed this one up (almost skipped on my feed too!) But I LOVE the sound of it. Odd that it’s only 288 pages, but at least it didn’t FEEL too short.

  3. JoJo says:

    I feeeeeeeel like this is a thing I should read maydefinitely?

    • Christina Franke says:

      Fo sho. Unfortunately, I just had the egalley of it, so without loaning you my iPad which I need my ability to share is problematic.

      Maybe the public library has it?

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