Thursday, 25 June 2020

Deeplight by Frances Hardinge - Review by Kelly McCaughrain

This was a bit of a departure for me because I’m not a big fantasy reader at all. I typically find fantasy novels very long, plot-heavy, detail-heavy and lacking in humour (total opposite of all my fav things), so I generally avoid them. I was given a copy of Deeplight by Frances Hardinge at a conference and I admit I probably wouldn’t have read it except that I’ve heard such amazing things about her writing, and then lockdown started and it seemed like a good time to try something different.

Boy am I glad I did! I absolutely loved this. The writing was a pleasure, the characters were so believable and relatable, the concept was fascinating, the plot was exciting without being overcomplicated, the world was fully realised without becoming overly detailed, and I was completely rooting for the main characters. I thought the relationship between Hark and his best friend really gave the book heart and emotional depth and that kept me hooked all the way through.

14 year old Hark lives in a world that was ruled by gods, until the gods destroyed each other, and now his island community lives on the proceeds of ‘godware’, the detritus of their corpses salvaged from the sea.

Hark is an orphaned, homeless, petty criminal, surviving on his wits and protected by a best friend, Jelt, whom he doesn’t completely trust. When Jelt gets him arrested and sentenced to indentured servitude to a godware scientist, it might be a new start for Hark. If only Jelt would leave him out of the extremely dangerous plan he has for the godware he’s stolen from the scariest woman in the criminal underworld…

I will definitely be reading more of Hardinge’s books, and I really recommend this for a riveting summer read. If you can’t get to the beach, the island chain of Myriad is a worthy substitute!

Kelly McCaughrain is the author of the Children's Books Ireland Book of the Year,

She is the Children's Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland #CWFNI

She also blogs at The Blank Page


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