Review of The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie

26219455The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie. ★★★★

The Edge of the Abyss is the high octane sequel to the fabulous The Abyss Surrounds Us. Bad news? You have to read the books in order. So if you aren’t familiar with The Abyss Surrounds Us, grab yourself a copy before diving into The Edge of the Abyss. And do pick up a copy, particularly if sea monsters, pirates and f/f romance sound at all up your alley.

Also, spoilers will follow for The Abyss Surrounds Us. So beware!

At the end of The Abyss Surrounds Us, Cassandra Leung chose the pirate captain Santa Elena over her former loyalties on the shore. She is shaken and adrift, and it isn’t helping that her relationship with Swift is rocky since Santa Elena told her that Swift killed Durga, the sea monster Cas grew up with. But Cas has bigger problems than her personal life. Turns out, many of the stolen Reckoner pups have survived and thrived on their own, endangering the entire ecosystem of the NeoPacific and every ship who travels its waters.

The Edge of the Abyss grabbed me from the get go, with a stunning attack from a rogue Reckoner. The pacing stayed fast and the action consistently pleasing. However, the romance drama did start to wear on me. The relationship between Cas and Swift is obviously complicated, but at some point I started to get tired of the back and forth. It felt like there always had to be new hurdles to them being together, which is something pretty common in a lot of stories. Thankfully, just when I was thinking I couldn’t take much more of the romance angst, the sea monster angst took precedence.

Aside from some of her deliberating over Swift, I did like Cas’s arc here. A lot of it was with her dealing with the fall out of her decision at the end of the last book. Where is she going now? What is her place in the world? Plus, she’s feeling like she’s betrayed her family and lost them forever. It felt like her connection to her family was more prominent here than in the first book.

Cas’s connection to her family actually ties into one of the larger themes of The Edge of the Abyss – community and interdependence. The rouge Reckoners are a threat to the entire Neopacific and all the different cultures and communities that rely on it, both land and shore. The pirates and the shore-dwellers might be at odds, but their survival comes from the same place. Can Cas convince the pirates to deal with the threat for the good of everyone? And can she herself destroy sea monsters when she’s spent her life raising them?

See, this is one of the things I love about this duology. It’s a ton of fun but it also manages to be deep and meaningful. It’s a rare book that manages to strike that balance, but The Edge of the Abyss does it in spades. This duology has been one of the best YA series I’ve encountered in years, and I totally recommend it!

Aside from getting worn out by the romance drama, I only have one criticism. It’s a huge spoiler, but I couldn’t live with myself if I published a review that didn’t discuss it. Don’t read any farther in this review if you don’t want to see it.

All, right are all the spoiler adverse people gone? Yes? Okay, so here it is. Santa Elena dies during the climax of the novel. Her death feels tragically random, which I believe is the point, but some things about it didn’t sit right with me. Mostly, it felt like she was dying so that Swift could take center stage as a leader and eventually the new captain of the Minnow. Which basically meant that a WOC was dying so that a white girl could take her place. Yikes.

I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

 

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Tammy says:

    So glad you enjoyed this. I loved the first book in the series, but just had too many review books to fit this in. Too bad about Santa Elena! I see your point…

    1. Oh, I know how having too many review books goes. I hope you’ll be able to catch this one at a later date!

  2. Hahahaha, welp, I was all prepared to need to say yikes about one of the queer girls dying, and then BAM it was the woman of color dying so the white girl could get her job. Thanks for warning me, at least! Always good to have advance warning, since I have been super anticipating this book. (Still am, mostly.)

    1. No problem! That’s what reviews are for. 🙂

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