Is there any other event in history as ironically tragic as the sinking of both the Titanic and Bittanic? Sister ships destined to the same watery grave. In The Deep, Alma Katsu the author of previously reviewed The Hunger, explores both tragedies and connects them in a ghostly manner.
The Deep is mostly about a young woman named Annie who is a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic and finds herself aboard the Brittanic, the hospital ship for those wounded in World War I. The story flashes between the times on the Titanic and times on the Brittanic both of which carry secrets and deception at each turn. Annie finds herself infatuated with a passenger aboard the Titanic named Mark and his infant daughter Ondine, but what she doesn’t know is that past and present will wind together in an eerie and earth-shattering way.
I’m going to start by saying that I really enjoyed this novel and it was honestly a lot different than The Hunger. The Deep feels more Lovecraftian at first and less horrifying than The Hunger. The ocean calls out to passengers in a way that I feel very much encapsulates Lovecraft’s writing style. “The call of the void.” is mentioned and it sent shivers down my spine because it made me reminisce on my readings of The Call of Cthulhu. The overall tone was very different than what I had previously read, and while I very much enjoyed The Hunger, The Deep is a very different and interesting beast.
Another well done piece of this story is the foreshadowing. In the very beginning, this is stated in comparison from the Brittanic to the Titanic,
This ship is much safer than the other one, they were assured. No need to be nervous.
And to me, someone who already knows the outcome of both the Titanic and Brittanic, it still sent a shiver down my spine and built the excitement. I had to know how Katsu decided to sink both ships and I wanted to know how she decided to tie them together. I had so many questions about an event I already knew about from history class. It was thrilling.
There was also another underlying theme that I found very interesting. That theme is motherhood. Aboard the Titanic, there is the young baby Ondine, her mother, and father, and there is also a pregnant woman aboard. Katsu does an excellent job of showing the struggles and the fear of being a new mother/father. I am a new mother and one quote stuck out to me,
“Ever since having his own child, he’d noticed he’d gotten more sensitive to mortality–he used to be aware of it brazenly so. Now it whispered to him, tapped his shoulder, and distracted him when things were quiet.”
This one quote is so accurate that it forced me to keep reading. Since having my son I find myself struggling with things I had never struggled with before. I cannot for the life of me watch a show where a baby’s life is at risk. It causes me to go into a full blown panic attack. For me, The Deep touched on this in a way that I didn’t expect but it was readable. I felt myself getting anxious but not so anxious I was forced to quit. It expressed parental anxiety very well. That previous quote is how I feel all the time.
My only disappointment with this novel is that I didn’t feel near as scared as I had thought I would be. I expected the paranormal aspect to start picking up and this one is a slow riser. I wanted to be afraid of “the monster” but even when the paranormal twist is revealed it didn’t frighten me so much. I expected more fear based off where I left after The Hunger, but you could chalk that up to me expecting it to be something that Katsu didn’t intend for it to be.
Overall I give The Deep a 4/5 stars. It’s a slow fright with relatable themes and semi-realistic frights. I definitely recommend The Deep along with its predecessor The Hunger. Now available for purchase, you have to pick this one up!