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The Darkdeep

Review

The Darkdeep

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 DARKDEEP will quite literally grab you in with its promising beginning, an amazing friend group....This new series is off to a great start, building a story that is sure to get better with each book."

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 in 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.

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 book 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, Opal's 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.

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.

Reviewed by Jeanna Michel on October 25, 2018

The Darkdeep
(The Darkdeep #1)
by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs