Fear the Drowning Deepby Sarah Glenn Marsh
Published by Sky Pony Press on October 4th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.
Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.
Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.
I had been waiting for this book since December of 2015. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. The cover caught my eye but it was the synopsis that nabbed me and reeled me in. And as readers, we’re surprised when a book turns out a little bit different than what we expected, whether for the good or the bad. Okay, maybe you aren’t but I am, every time it happens to me.
I thought the story in Fear the Drowning Deep would be centered around Bridey’s apprenticeship with the island’s resident witch. The story really isn’t all about that, it’s sooo much more. It’s more a tale about life in 1913 on the Isle of Man and how one girl’s belief in the monsters surrounding the island may be the only thing that saves the residents on the island. Even if they don’t believe Bridey.
You see, when Bridey was a young girl, she witnessed her beloved grandfather happily jump off a cliff into the water below to never be seen again. And Bridey to swears she saw a ghost or something out in the water when her grandfather jumped. No one believed Bridey then and none of the villagers believe her now when she swears she sees the same apparition just before another person goes missing.
What I most enjoyed about this story (and kept me reading it) was the Manx folklore that Ms. Marsh based the story around. First, the setting is 1913 on the Isle of Man so it’s an interesting period of time on an island that I really didn’t know much about before I started Googling like mad during my reading. Second, Manx folklore is very close to Celtic. There are “little folk” that the villagers leave milk and food out for to ensure the little folk don’t play tricks on the them. Ms. Marsh also used the Glashtyn (which you’ll definitely want to look up) and a sea serpent that I couldn’t find a name for. These last two “beasts” provide the plot it’s conflict and an awesome climax with an epic struggle, lots of fighting, and bloodshed!
On the softer side, there is a love interest in the story. Although I had an issue with one aspect to Bridey and Fynn’s relationship, I kind of just shrugged my shoulders and thought, “oh, those crazy kids of the 1913s.” There’s also nice depth to Bridey’s family – each one of them is thoroughly fleshed out and “alive”. Everything worked storywise for me.
Where I had some trouble was the transitions. Granted, I was reading an eARC so it may have been a problem with my early copy, but the transitions from one scene to the next was too abrupt for me. I was sometimes tossed from one scene to the next without so much as a brief sensory break. I sometimes need a break from book noise. 🙂
Overall, this was a story that kept my interest, despite some problems with it’s overall execution.