The Abyss Surrounds Us, by Emily Skrutskie
Series: The Abyss Surrounds Us, #1
Release Date: February 8th 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
Enemies to Friends
I don’t know what I was expecting, beyond lesbians, when I started this book. But it very quickly became apparent through Emily’s writing style and the world she created that this was a very special and important book.
Of course, as the first one in a new series, it had a lot of setting up to do, but even that wasn’t quite as slow to get through as I’ve found in several other 1st-books-in-series. Cassandra is on her first mission with her own Reckoner, Durgo. Of course, as that’s basically the first part of the scene, things go predictably wrong there and she ends up in the hands of Santa Elena, and her sidekick Swift–who ends up being so much more than she seems.
This cast is incredibly diverse. So many of them are pirates, and pretty much all of them are doing bad things for questionably good? reasons. I didn’t particularly like Santa Elena, but I understood her motivations, as she has a son who she needs to protect. I think I would have liked to see that son on the page, however. It was pretty easy to forget him.
What starts out as reasonable animosity between Cas and Swift starts to become a bit complicated as their lives become tied to one another’s. Swift starts to become kinder to Cas, and Cas starts to understand the history that has led Swift to the choices she has made.
And then there is a very sad thing that happens at the end and sort of makes this a cliffhanger, but I can’t say anymore about that without giving away specifics. But suffice it to say it was enough to immediately make me want to read the next book in this series.
This is definitely a new author you want to keep an eye out for. She’s gonna make (pardon the pun) some real waves.
Emily Skrutskie is six feet tall. She was born in Massachusetts, raised in Virginia, and forged in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado. She holds a B.A. in Performing and Media Arts from Cornell University, where she studied an outrageous and demanding combination of film, computer science, and game design.
Her short fiction has been published by HarperTeen, and her debut novel, THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US, is now available. Its sequel, THE EDGE OF THE ABYSS, will hit shelves in Spring 2017.
You can purchase The Abyss Surrounds Us from:
Barnes & Noble
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.