Review #17 // The Abyss Surrounds Us (The Abyss Surrounds Us #1) – Emily Skrutskie


During Cas’ first solo mission as a Reckoner trainer-in-training, Pirate Queen Santa Elena kidnaps her, and orders her to train a Reckoner pup to fight for her ship-or Cas would be the next to die.

Why this book?: needed to break a reading slump I was in, but wanted something with LGBT+ rep-and was directed towards this book. Needless to say, I was excited when I read the summary.

Going into this book, I was just hoping for something that would pick me up out of an ill-timed reading slump. I needed something fast-paced, but still something that would catch my attention and be new. Not to mention, I wanted LGBT+ representation. And BOY, did I get what I was looking for.

Pirate queens, sea monsters, and women loving women

I was ecstatic hearing about this book. Pirate queens?? Sea monsters?? All with sapphic romance thrown in? Sign me the fuck up. This book delivers all and more-not only was it wrought in emotion (I was crying at page 15-ish), but there is such a spectrum of all emotions that this book was a roller coaster for me. I was laughing, crying, screaming, and I may or may not have thrown the book.

The world building that went into this was amazing. The hints towards what was called The Schism, nothing too over-dramatic but still interesting. Nothing was every shoved into your face, or overwhelming. It was always presented to you in a natural way that just made it seem so much more enthralling that nothing was boring.

The descriptions were always left to the imagination as well, carving a thin outline of a character, and leaving the rest to the imagination of the reader. I especially loved how the Reckoners were described, giving small nods to other, normal creatures like turtles, squids, and even monkeys.

Amazing, genuine representation

Something else I loved was how certain aspects were added in seamlessly. No characters thought it was weird or surprising that Swift likes girls, and it was added without a second thought that Cas has had girlfriends while she was in school. In fact, it was normalized so much that I was confused as to where all of the hetero relationships were, until I realized that they were also brushed over so much that everything just fell together easily.

I’m also pretty sure most if not all characters were POC or in a normally marginalized group. There were constant hints that Cas was Asian, Santa Elena was black, and there were constant other characters that were described as non-white. And it just felt so refreshing but so normal.

Nothing about this book was a disappointment, and I loved it so much. The story was original, the characters diverse. The Reckoners were amazing, and every battle scene that was described with Bao (the Reckoner) had me glued to the page.

Final Rating: ★★★★★


This book is my new favorite. It was amazingly diverse and interesting, so life-like and just flawless. I won’t go to say that it was absolutely perfect, but it was pretty close to it. I can’t wait for the next book to see how everything pans out.

Would I Recommend?

YES!! I utterly and completely recommend this book to anyone looking for a unique sci-fi with an amazing diverse cast of characters. You will not be disappointed with this book-also, it’s a great reading slump breaker-I’m already vying to jump into another diverse read!

24790901Additional Information:

Published: February 8th, 2016

Publisher: Flux

Page Count: 273

Genre: YA/Science Fiction/Romance


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.

4 thoughts on “Review #17 // The Abyss Surrounds Us (The Abyss Surrounds Us #1) – Emily Skrutskie