Stranger Things Vibes | The Darkdeep by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Darkdeep by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Publication Date: 10/2/18
Pages: 272
Source: BookExpo (Thanks, Bloomsbury!)
When a bullying incident sends twelve-year-old Nico Holland over the edge of a cliff into the icy waters of Still Cove, where no one ever goes, friends Tyler and Ella - and even 'cool kid' Opal -rush to his rescue... only to discover an island hidden in the swirling mists below. Shrouded by dense trees and murky tides, the island appears uninhabited, although the kids can't quite shake the feeling that something about it is off. Their suspicions grow when they stumble upon an abandoned houseboat with an array of curiosities inside: odd-looking weapons, unnerving portraits, maps to places they've never heard of, and a glass jar containing something completely unidentifiable. As the group delves deeper into the unknown, their discoveries - and their lives -begin to intertwine in weird and creepy ways. Something ancient has awakened... and it knows their wishes and dreams - and their darkest, most terrible secrets. Do they have what it takes to face the shadowy things that lurk within their own hearts?
When a group of bullies fly Nico’s expensive drone into Still Cove, he has no choice but to go and find it. Legends shroud the area in mystery and the thick fog that surrounds the place makes it impossible to tell what lurks beyond. Nico and his friends unearth something ancient that seems to know their dreams… and nightmares. The Darkdeep is the first in a new series by author duo, Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs. Reichs makes his middle grade debut with this atmospheric novel that is perfect for Halloween.

  • The backwoods setting and the group of young kids definitely give readers Stranger Things vibes. The similarities stops there, however. Readers will find that the Darkdeep, itself, is nothing as sinister as the Upside Down. Still, the uninhabited island the book is set easily gives you the chills. On top of that and the misty lake, the setting is so important that it feels like a character itself. Legend has it that several people have disappeared in the area. The layers of depth the setting adds to the story builds a sense of foreboding that will stay with you throughout the story. 
excited finn wolfhard GIF by Stranger Things
  • This novel is not only great for Halloween but would be even better if read aloud with friends to truly up the scare factor. It is a short book, less than 300 pages, and would be perfect for a camping trip with friends.
  • The Darkdeep is told in two perspectives, alternating chapters. Nico is the clichéd responsible kid—the one who always has to fend for himself. His background was interesting but The Darkdeep has only scratched the surface of his character. Opal is the character all readers will want to be friends with. She seems older than the others. However, they were all in the same grade. With parental expectations and choosing the right friend group, her backstory is relatable. The other characters, especially Tyler and Emma, were fun to get know. Hopefully, in the next book in the series, we can expect a bit more depth from them too. 
  • The Darkdeep lacks an action-packed plot. The story was fun and intriguing. It gives you a bitesize look into what's to come from this new series. However, after the initial introduction of the darkdeep, there was a lot of playing around with it rather than figuring out the mystery of the island. It wasn’t until the 75% mark where things start to move again. The investigation takes on new heights when the kids find something they cannot ignore. 
GIF by Stranger Things
  • Town pride plays a significant role in the book. This serves as a message to all readers, that community matters. Even though the message revolves around a funny festival, the characters still show their appreciation in some form. The Darkdeep unpacks an endearing message for readers to remember.
  • The ending opened a whole new door that will certainly get the readers excited for the next installment. Condie and Reichs leave several questions unexplored, giving readers the chance to come to their own conclusions.
The Darkdeep will quite literally grab you in with its promising beginning, an amazing friend group, and Stranger Things vibes. This new series is off to a great start, building a story that is sure to get better with each book.

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