The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie – Review





Author: Emily Skrutskie

Publisher: Flux

Format: Paperback, 273 pages

Published: February 8th 2016

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 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. 

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adri's review


Pirates, Sea monsters, Swoony f/f romance, POC characters and kick-ass female main characters. WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED???

What I liked :

  • Dark, gritty atmosphere. I really did not expect for this book to be this gritty. It’s not really gruesome or anything, but it had cursing and fighting and monsters breaking humans into half, which is a plus for me (but still unexpected).
  • The whole reckoner, sea monster-training aspect was so well done. The descriptions of the equipment and the methods are put in such detail that it feels real. The writing, especially when it comes to the monster training and fighting, is brilliant. It made the whole thing immersive and fun.
  • Cas, the main protagonist, was kick-ass. I loved her! It feels like there is more to her yet and I’m sure the next book will give us more action from her part. 
  • The hate-to-love romance was so well done. It didn’t feel like an icky captor-prisoner romance trope because they both acknowledged the difference in power and the author executed their relationship tastefully. There was chemistry between the two girls and their banters gave me life. I ship them so hard ❤

What I didn’t like :

  • The world-building was a bit weak. I wish there was more insight into the world other than just reckoners and sea-monsters. There was a point in the story where they take a stop at a town and that would’ve been a great opportunity to learn more about the people, the culture or a bit of backstory, but it fell short. 
  • The back and forth between Cas and Swift kinda put me off and at some point I found myself confused and frustrated. 
  • Some of the actions and decisions Cas made were unrealistic and some situations were resolved too conveniently (especially the way things wrapped up in the end).
  • There were some side characters (Swift’s crew) that were so interesting and I so badly wanted to see more of them. Unfortunately, they were two-dimensional and we don’t get much from them.  


about author


Emily Skrutskie

Emily Skrutskie is six feet tall. She was born in Massachusetts, raised in Virginia, and forged in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado. She holds a B.A. in Performing and Media Arts from Cornell University, where she studied an outrageous and demanding combination of film, computer science, and game design.
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