Book Review: The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

AbyssSurroundsUsThe Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

Published by Flux on February 8, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction, LGBT

Pages: 273 Format: Paperback Source: Library

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

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.


 In The Abyss Surrounds Us, Emily Skrutskie weaves an emotional tale of survival in a world where governments have collapsed and condensed and pirates roam freely across the open waters. Cassandra Leung has been training Reckoners her whole life but now she’s in uncharted territory after her ship is attacked and she’s captured by Santa Elena. It’s a perfect fast paced adventure on the high seas.

9 Reasons I Loved The Abyss Surrounds Us

  • That title though! Honestly I’m in love with it. It’s so haunting, epic, and intriguing. Pulled me in for sure!
  • Cas and Swift! Cas and Swift! They were so at odds and yet understood each other. Both of them trying to survive in their own way, making difficult decisions, and having to live with the consequences.
  • Reckoners: Massive sea creatures that are born and raised to protect vessels and destroy their enemies. Sign me up!
  • Plus they have trainers which was giving me these strange inverted Pacific Rim vibes.
  • Bao, the little shit terrapoid. I just loved watching him grow and all of his training. It was fascinating.
  • Worldbuilding!!!! There weren’t any heavy info drops or lengthy descriptions to drag down the narrative. It all flowed so freely yet still created a rich setting.
  • F/F Romance! I think this might be the first book I’ve read with the main romance being two women and I absolutely loved it. I need to read more LGBT titles in general but I want some recs with F/F relationships.
  • Skrutskie wove such excellent diversity into this story and I loved the myriad cast of characters that came from all walks of life.
  • Pirates, Pirates, and More Pirates!!! Black Sails has really gotten me on a pirate kick this year and I just cannot stop!
  • And there’s more to come!!! I need the sequel ASAP and to see where Cas and Swift’s story goes from here.

Overall I absolutely loved Emily Skrutskie’s The Abyss Surrounds Us. It was an intense rollercoaster of action and emotion with commanding pirates, massive sea monsters, and plenty of backstabbing and betrayal. Cas and Swift were so compelling both as individuals  and together. I’d highly recommend this one to pretty much everybody and hope that more people discover this wonderful adventure.

So have you read The Abyss Surrounds Us? Did you find the Reckoners fascinating? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!

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