Book Review: The Deep by Alma Katsu

The Deep

I am drawn to any retelling of the sinking of the Titanic. When I saw this book coming out, which takes a more supernatural twist on the real-life tragedy, I felt I had to read it. And, while my feelings were mixed, I did find it to be a creepy and interesting novel.

Release: March 10, 2020

Page Count: 432

Format: Audiobook

Synopsis: On the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic, the passengers begin to experience strange, almost otherworldly happenings as if by a haunting, including stewardess Annie Hebbley and 1st class passenger Mark Fletcher. But soon the passengers realize that something darker is happening on this ship, which will lead to tragedy. Four years later, Annie takes a job on the Titanic‘s sister ship the Britannic. But it too is headed towards disaster, prompted by some evil and dark force.

Non-Spoiler Review

There are many things I liked about the book. There is this constant creepy atmosphere, making you question everything you know about the characters and reality. It is filled with themes of insanity, superstition, and truth/lies. On one hand, there wasn’t really a character that I liked. In fact, all the characters were kind of horrible people, each for their own reasons. However, I could also understand them and why they did what they did. I know that this book was touted as a horror, but I never found it really scary, just more mysterious. There was this constant question of whether some characters were just mentally disturbed or if there was something supernatural going on. I also was happy with the ending. Saying that, there were a lot of side plots that seemed to be going nowhere and then kind of got forgotten by the end. I just thought the writing could have been tighter and not quite as meandering, but I still enjoyed the story.

The book starts off in 1916, with Annie in an asylum for mentally disturbed people, clearly traumatized by her past, especially the incident on the Titanic. She then is written by a friend of hers and other survivor of the Titanic, who suggests she get a job on a Britannic, the sister ship of the Titanic. Obviously, if you know about the history of these two ships, you will already know the Titanic sunk due to hitting an iceberg, and the Britannic sunk four years later during WWI after hitting German mines in the water. The book jumps from perspective to perspective, dividing between the voyage of the Titanic and Britannic.

In my opinion, there were way too many characters and things going on to make it entirely enjoyable. We had the wealthy class like Mark and his wife, the Astors, and Guggenheim (a man connected to spirits who conducts seances). You have the lower class people, like two boxers, Annie and the other maids, and other workers we run into. And everything is interconnected. There is points when too many twists are brought into it, and it starts to just feel convenient and uninteresting. One brilliant twist is great, two is interesting, but two dozen twists just becomes expected. Saying that, some of the twists were good, but the high amount of them started to decrease the impact that each had.

Now, I want to get into the ending but only briefly, so big SPOILER WARNING for just this paragraph. It is revealed in the end that Mark’s girlfriend Lillian (she just had a baby) killed herself by jumping into the water after she found out Mark was leaving her for another woman. She makes a pact with some strange ghost/demon (we never learn what) that she will possess another girl if she will give her baby to the ghost. She agrees, and her soul ends up possesses Annie and it is her soul who has caused on this terror. Mark finds out in 1916 and runs the Britannic into the mines purposefully, killing himself and Annie (with Lillian’s spirit still inside her) so they can be together forever but their child will be safe from the ghost. So, there was a supernatural twist, and while I wasn’t entirely happy with it, I preferred that ending over a vague ending.

Saying that, I did enjoy this book. It’s an interesting twist on the Titanic tragedy, and it took its time to increase the suspense. Not perfect, but still good.

Have you read this book? Does it look interesting to you? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Madame Writer

4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Deep by Alma Katsu

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