by Emily Skrutskie
Series: The Abyss Surrounds Us #2
Published on April 18, 2017 by Flux
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Three weeks have passed since Cassandra Leung pledged her allegiance to ruthless pirate-queen Santa Elena and set free Bao, the sea monster Reckoner she'd been forced to train. The days as a pirate trainee are long and grueling, but it's not the physical pain that Cas dreads most. It's being forced to work with Swift, the pirate girl who broke her heart. But Cas has even bigger problems when she discovers Boa is not the only a monster swimming free. Other Reckoners illegally sold to pirates have escaped their captors and are taking the NeoPacific by storm, attacking ships at random and ruining the ocean ecosystem. As a Reckoner trainer, Cas might be the only one who can stop them. But how can she take up arms against the creatures she used to care for and protect? Will Cas embrace the murky morals that life as a pirate brings or perish in the dark waters of the NeoPacific?
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This is a duology that needs to be on everybody’s radar! I started with The Abyss Surrounds Us last month, hooked on the promise of sea monsters (yep, that’s all it takes to grab my attention) and fell in love with the characters and world.
Cas is a former Reckoner trainer. Basically she played with massive sea monsters that were bred to destroy ships. How cool is that?! And last time around her loyalties were seriously tested but she’s chillin’ with the pirates now and her maybe-girlfriend Swift.
In terms of the story, this one moved a bit slower than the last for me. There’s a lot of action but it’s segmented and I was jolted back and forth between those quicker scenes and the rest of the story building up the relationship between Cas and Swift, Cas and the crew, and Cas and her role in the grand scheme of the sea. I didn’t get through this in one shot, putting it down during these slower parts. Yet I loved the story, and it wraps up neatly with potential for a future book if the author felt like writing one while also leaving me satisfied with each of the storylines.
Cas has become one of my favorite characters. She’s beautifully flawed and a lot of fun to follow from a reader’s perspective. One of the things I loved about this book was how Cas didn’t have to sacrifice vulnerability to be a strong heroine. I feel like, so often, the characters who are “strong” in books can’t be anything else. That’s the category they’re thrown into and it limits their growth.
Skrutskie threw that out the window and wrote a character who was strong, resourceful, uncertain, stubborn, smart, passionate, vulnerable… the list goes on. You get all sides of Cas and I tried to think of other books where that stood out to me and I can’t. It’s crazy, because I love so many books and so many characters but when I starting thinking about it, I couldn’t think of one that compared to Cas in multi-dimensional-ness. At least not in the span of two books.
Not to mention I ship Cas and Swift so hard, and Swift is another one of those intricately written characters I’ve fallen in love with. Their romance is so raw and real. The uncertainty of the future, the conflicting emotions and loyalties to themselves, each other, and the crew. Each part of their lives impacted their relationship in the way that these things do and I think it made it all the better.
In short, a fantastic story of loyalty and personal strength about a girl who trains sea monsters and her life as a pirate. Awesome futuristic world, F/F romance, (once more for the people in the back) SEA MONSTERS. Yeah, get excited. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, grab yourself a copy of The Abyss Surrounds Us and The Edge of the Abyss!