Book Review: The Deep by Rivers Solomon

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

Rating:  ★★★★

The Deep is kind of unique in that it is a book inspired by a song: “The Deep” by clipping..  I’ve included it below in case you’d like to take a listen.  The Deep is about Yetu, who belongs to a race of creatures that live beneath the surface of the sea, the Wajinru.  They are descendants of pregnant African slave women who were thrown overboard by slave owners.

The pain of the Wajinru people goes so deep, they cannot bear to remember these events more than once a year, at an event they call The Remembering.  In the mean time, the memories are held by one single Wajinru, the Historian.  For now, that historian is Yetu.

But Yetu is overwhelmed by these memories.  They are drowning her, killing her, even with how painful they are.  Sometimes she becomes so lost in these memories she cannot eat, she cannot sleep.  She wishes she were dead.  Yetu is determined to get rid of the memories.

The writing is beautiful.  The way the world beneath the surface of the sea is described is perfectly haunting, the cold currents, the whale song, the way the light pierces the surface.  It’s everything I would hope for in a book that is set in the sea.

I also loved the world building and history of the Wajinru people.  How they learned language, how they rescued their kin from the water, how they explored the sea and passed along their memories.  Although this novella is relatively short, there is a lot to digest.

At it’s core, it’s a story about memory and history.  How important it is to carry on those memories, to not forget about where you come from.  How memories outlive us and persist beyond time, how an entire culture can be erased with no one to remember it.

Despite it’s dark premise, The Deep was a story full of hope.  People uniting, overcoming a painful history together, sharing the burden.  I read The Deep in just a day, and I’d recommend the story to anyone interested in the premise.

The Deep released on November 5, 2019 and can be found on GoodReads or ordered on Amazon. Thank you to Saga Press and NetGalley for the eARC provided in exchange for review.

clipping. – “The Deep”

Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Deep by Rivers Solomon

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This is the first time I’ve done one of these posts.  Usually if there’s a new release I’m going to get excited about, I’m the last to know, but I’m currently working my way through all 800 pages of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, so I figured I’d give Can’t Wait Wednesday a try.

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Published by: Saga Press

Length: 176 Pages

Description: Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

Why I’m excited for it: The wonderful members of the Sci Fi Fantasy Book Club on GoodReads did a buddy read for Solomon’s other work, An Unkindness of Ghosts, and though I didn’t partake in that particular buddy read, the feedback overall seemed very positive.

I would like to check that one out at some point, but when I saw the description for The Deep I was enthralled by the premise.  It seems like at least some of it will be set underwater, which is one of my favorite settings for books.  The deeper you go, the less the world knows about life under the sea, so it’s always appealed to me as one of those settings where anything could happen.

It seems like it’s going to have merpeople of a sort.  I read Mira Grant’s (Seanan McGuire) Into the Drowning Deep last year and while it read like a B-movie horror flick, that’s sort of my jam, and I enjoyed the ride.  I’m fascinated by reports of the Fiji mermaid, especially those documentaries similar to Josh Gate’s expedition on Destination Truth.

But most of all it’s own voices, and it will explore the world and it’s history from a perspective we don’t get to see enough.  I’ve already planned the buddy read for release day, and I honestly can’t wait.

The Deep can be found on GoodReads here, or preordered on Amazon here.