The Deep by Alma Katsu is a slow-burning, goosebump-inducing, dread-filled historical horror novel of heartbreak and hauntings on the sea.
Classism, confinement, death, infidelity, self harm, suicide attempt, drug use, etc.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on The Deep by Alma Katsu
I will start my notes by saying that the sinking of the Titanic has always been an event that absolutely guts me each and every time I think about it. I was born and raised on an island that you could only get to by boat, so I had a special relationship with the ocean and still say to this day, that the salt water runs in my veins.
Knowing Alma’s work from The Fervor, and the care that she puts in to ensure there’s a perfect balance of the historical, the terror, and then a little something extra, I was excited but also so nervous to see where this story would go.
Organized in a dual timeline, readers will follow each storyline, looking for answers as the time jumps between 1912 and 1916.
In 1912, we meet Annie Hebbley, a young woman with a spotty memory of her past that boarded the Titanic to work as a maid to a group of first class passengers. She’s immediately drawn to one of the passengers, Mark Fletcher, but even more so to his daughter, Odine.
In 1916, Annie has been convinced by a friend, and fellow survivor from the Titanic, Violet Jessop, to board the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic. When Annie see’s one of the wounded that is brought on board, she thinks there’s no way it’s someone she knows. But it is. However, this reunion isn’t about to be as pleasant as she had dreamed it would be.
There was a passage in this tale that read: “There is no fighting the ocean. Only a fool would try.” In this case, the characters are fighting in more ways than one…
My copy of this novel had 432 pages, and that was 432 pages that were near impossible to stop flipping. The dual narrative works so well here. Even while I was deeply captivated by one timeline, I also couldn’t wait to jump back to the other. There was so much going on at all times, and I loved the way the overall narrative slowly steered readers toward the big reveal.
I was also very impressed with the number of characters that were introduced and how well they all instantly became memorable in their own way. Even if time spent with some of them had my blood boiling more than others, I couldn’t wait to see what they would get up to next!
As usual, Alma’s writing totally sucked me in. There were so many passages that I marked to highlight, but many were spoilers, so I will keep the next section light.
My Favorite Passages from The Deep
The most excellent thing about being a kid was that no one paid any attention. And no one paying any attention meant you could mostly do what you wanted, no matter your station, just so long as you didn’t get caught.
And Teddy was most excellent at not getting caught.
“So, this is where he- where it happened,” Dai said, not wanting to bring the word died into the room with him, as if it might leave a stain.
There was something standing in the way of her memory, like a curtain, hiding whatever stood on the other side.
But that was modern life: full of impossibilities.
And if life was a series of impossibilities… Annie shivered. It meant anything was possible, that you could be haunted or pursued, or succumb to madness at any given moment. All or none of those things might be true.
There is no fighting the ocean. Only a fool would try.
He had become an imposter in his own life, in his own skin. His former self had died a long time ago – perhaps before he’d even set foot on the ship. He didn’t know who he’d become. Maybe he was a ghost, and this was all a version of purgatory.
My Final Thoughts on The Deep
The Deep is definitely one I would recommend to fans of historical horror. But please note that Alma does not shy away from the horror here, per usual. Not even necessarily just the actual horror of the event themselves, but in the smaller, everyday details as well. The horror is soaked deep into these pages.
This story is sure to leave you chilled.
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