The Reading Room- The Deep by Alma Katsu

Posted March 28, 2020 by stuckint in The Reading Room / 0 Comments

Welcome back to The Reading Room, where we share our thoughts about the books we’ve read recently. On deck today is our gushing review of the The Deep by Alma Katsu, the latest historical horror from the same author as The Hunger which is a retelling of the Donner Party tragedy with a horrific twist.

*We received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are our own and do not reflect the personal beliefs of the publisher or author.

About the Book

The Reading Room– The Deep by Alma KatsuThe Deep by Alma Katsu
on March 10, 2020

Someone, or something, is haunting the Titanic.
This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the ship from the moment they set sail: mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths. Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner's illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers - including millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, the maid Annie Hebbley and Mark Fletcher - are convinced that something sinister is going on . . . And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes.
Years later and the world is at war. And a survivor of that fateful night, Annie, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic's sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Plagued by the demons of her doomed first and near fatal journey across the Atlantic, Annie comes across an unconscious soldier she recognises while doing her rounds. It is the young man Mark. And she is convinced that he did not - could not - have survived the sinking of the Titanic . . . Brilliantly combining fact and fiction, the historical and the horrific, The Deep reveals a chilling truth in an unputdownable narrative full of unnerving moments and with a growing, inexorable sense of foreboding.

About the Author

Alma Katsu is the author of The Hunger, The Taker, The Reckoning, and The Descent. She has been a signature reviewer for Publishers Weekly and a contributor to The Huffington Post. She is a graduate of the master’s writing program at the Johns Hopkins University and received her bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University. Prior to the publication of her first novel, Katsu had a long career as a senior intelligence analyst for several U.S. agencies. She lives outside of Washington, D.C., with her husband.

Our Thoughts

Alma Katsu’s latest historical horror novel is atmospheric and eerie in all the right ways. True to form, Katsu couples slow burning dread with her trademark attention to historical detail. Katsu tells the stories of the Titanic and the Britannic in dual timeliness which run parallel to each other. Katsu sprinkles her plot with a touch of the supernatural and thus runs this mysterious tale that adds a paranormal twist to one of the the world’s most famous tragedies.

Our main character is Annie Hebbley, who has the misfortune of somehow working on both ships. On the Titanic, she works as a stewardess to the first class passengers and on the Britannic she finds herself nursing those wounded at war. Annie is a fictional character but her friend Violet Jessop, and many of the other people that Annie interacts with throughout the novel were real people who’s existences are corroborated by historical records and documents.

What Katsu does well is fleshed out characters. Ever character has their flaws and opinions and we get a handful of POVS that make the reader care about the characters beyond Annie. However, many of these characters frequently make terrible choices and its not a spoiler to say that most of these characters end up dead by the end of the novel.

If I had one complaint about this book it would be that at times the novel was quite slow and a lot quieter than I was expecting. Meaning, when I first became aware of this novel and heard it billed as horrific spin on the Titanic I expected more bumps in the night. I know the slow burn mystery/horror is Katsu’s staple so I am definitely at fault for assuming this book would be different.

With all that said overall, I gave this book 4/5 stars and would recommend it to people looking to try horror novels but are a little hesitant to dip their toe in. I would describe this one as a historical fiction novel with horror/paranormal elements, making it subsequently accessible to those with a low horror threshold.

What About You?

Have you read the Deep? What did you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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