When the bully Logan’s antics sends Nico over the edge of a cliff and into Still Cove, Nico and his friends find an island that no one knew about. Thinking they found something special, Nico, Emma, Tyler, and Opal hide it for themselves, not realizing exactly how dangerous it really was.
Why this book?: It looked right up my alley–creepy, supernatural middle grade.
I would like to thank the people at Bloomsbury Children’s Books for allowing me to have an ARC of this book via NetGalley.
One of the most annoying and difficult things I’ve had to deal with as a book blogger is inaccurate summaries. I don’t know why people do this, or what they get out of it, but every once and a while I’ll start reading a book based off of an amazing summary, only to find out that the book is only barely reminiscent of the provided summary. The Darkdeep is one of those books, and not only is it as frustrating as I remember it to be, but this one probably ruined the book for me.
At first, I wasn’t thinking that The Darkdeep was a bad book. Really, I didn’t. But as the story continued, and what I was led to believe in the summary proved to be not true, I progressively grew more and more frustrated. The way the summary came off to me was that the four kids–Nico, Emma, Tyler, and Opal–made their way into Still Cove, landed on this island, and for the entire book they were running from unknown monsters and trying to get off the island. That sounds like an AMAZING story. But what really happened is that they found the island, got off of it nearly immediately, and then proceeded to go back to the island many times, and screwed with things that weren’t theirs. They screwed a few things up, and that’s what caused the monsters to appear. They created the problems, they got themselves into trouble. And why would I root for these kids that got themselves into the problem to begin with?
But what was more frustrating was the characters. Nico and Opal, the two POV characters, were terribly underdeveloped and boring. All we really knew about Nico was that he was bullied because of something his father did with owls. All we knew about Opal was that she and Nico used to be friends, but weren’t anymore because Opal was ‘popular’ and hung out with the bullies. And don’t even get me started on Tyler and Emma–they were just there, not even doing anything besides being there for comedic relief or to get the group into more trouble. Even worse is that the authors tried to force romance into this book. Romance. In a middle grade horror book. It was hinted at between Opal and Nico, as well as between Emma and Tyler. Why? Good question.
Another piece on the characters were that some parts just didn’t make any sense. Opal was complaining about this festival for the whole book, but near the end her motivation to help was because the festival was being ruined? And then there were constant fights between the group members, specifically about Opal. Nico didn’t trust her, and so every chance he got, he blamed something on her. But the very, very, VERY worst part? The 50-page redemption arc for the bully after he bullied Nico and his friends relentlessly for who-knows-how-long. Nico and his friends basically forgot about this torment when they realized the bully would help them.
Not everything about this book annoyed me, either. I really enjoyed the parts with the island, and all of the lore created behind it. I wish we knew more about it, because it was barely brushed on in the book itself. We only learned a few key components about the island and the Darkdeep, because the book itself seemed to want to focus on the bland characters and the bickering that more often than not went on between them.
Final Rating: ★★☆☆☆
This book could have been a new favorite, but instead I was just constantly annoyed with parts of this book. The bickering between Opal and Nico, the blandness of the characters, the inconsistencies of the plot, as well as the misleading summary, all lead me to nearly hating this book. But as I mentioned above, I didn’t hate everything. There were parts I liked. They just weren’t that common.
Would I Recommend?
Only if you know what you’re going into. I feel like the fact that I thought the summary was going another direction was what really threw me off. I also wasn’t all that impressed with the writing–it was just as bland and forgetful as the characters.
Published: October 2nd, 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Page Count: 272
Genre: Middle Grade/Fantasy/Horror
Synopsis: via Goodreads
When a bullying incident sends twelve-year-old Nico Holland over the edge of a cliff into the icy waters of Still Cove, where no one ever goes, friends Tyler and Ella – and even ‘cool kid’ Opal -rush to his rescue… only to discover an island hidden in the swirling mists below.
Shrouded by dense trees and murky tides, the island appears uninhabited, although the kids can’t quite shake the feeling that something about it is off. Their suspicions grow when they stumble upon an abandoned houseboat with an array of curiosities inside: odd-looking weapons, unnerving portraits, maps to places they’ve never heard of, and a glass jar containing something completely unidentifiable.
As the group delves deeper into the unknown, their discoveries – and their lives -begin to intertwine in weird and creepy ways. Something ancient has awakened… and it knows their wishes and dreams – and their darkest, most terrible secrets. Do they have what it takes to face the shadowy things that lurk within their own hearts?