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review 2020-04-27 06:16
Review: Deeplight by Frances Hardinge
Deeplight - Frances Hardinge

 This book drew me in with its cover, as is often the case. I was intrigued by the synopsis. And several reviews of it called it a merging of Frakenstein, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde, and that left me even more interested. Normally with that much hype surrounding a book it is bound to disappoint, at least a little bit, but this book was fantastic.

 

Hark was a fabulous character. He was uncertain and timid but trying to find a foothold in the world. He could see that his friendship with Jelt was changing but admitting it to himself meant that nothing would be the same. He broke my heart and left me cheering him on. He had a great story arc. Through the course of the story he was forced from being a little boy running a small time con to a man who takes responsibility for his own story.

 

I had a hard time feeling too much sympathy for Jelt because he was pretty mean to Hark from the moment we met him. But, despite that, I felt tremendous sympathy for how Hark dealt with the changes in his friend.

 

The gods were presented as monsters first, deities almost by accident, and I liked that approach. The idea of monster gods is appealing to me and this was the perfect blend of monster and majesty to suit me. The world this book was set in was also beautifully detailed. I could feel the undulating waves of the Undersea. The permeating fear of it that fed the gods for thousands of years. It was a beautifully written story. My only complaint was that the ending when Hark is going after the heart dragged on for a bit too long. After about 50 pages my mind started to wander and I wished we could stop describing everything so thoroughly and move on with the action a bit quicker. But the ending was compelling, as was the epilogue. I read the last thirty pages or so with tears streaming down my face, my heart breaking and cheering for Hark all at the same time. In the end this was a story about the power of stories, and it had a profound power all its own.

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text 2020-03-26 14:24
Deeplight
Deeplight - Frances Hardinge

by Frances Hardinge

 

Hark and his best friend Jelt scavenge a living in whatever ways they can, especially if they can acquire some of the artefacts of the dead gods from before the cataclysm.

 

The world building in this one is fantastic. A group of islands that form the Myriad has a well-developed society, including old priests who remember the gods from just 30 years ago.

 

However, hints that the gods still have influence begin fairly early in the story. Subtle physical changes on those who deal closely with 'godware' or anything to do with the gods suggest potentially sinister undertones.

 

I got caught up in the action of this one very soon. The characters flesh out a little slowly, but there is enough going on to carry the story forward and Hark's character development makes noticeable strides by about a third through.

 

The story is very imaginative and I was particularly intrigued by the 'undersea', a sinister, magical ocean beneath the regular ocean where the 'gods' gain power. Near the end a lot of 'and this is what happened' information got dumped, but there was still plenty going on to reach a satisfying conclusion. A very enjoyable read.

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