July’s Book Club: The Deep

A mermaid surrounded by whales.One of the reasons that I picked up The Deep was because the description reminded me so much of the Giver, which if you haven’t read that yet you totally should. There’s something intriguing about the idea of a world where everyone lives in complete ignorance by sacrificing one person. In the Deep, Yetu is plagued by the memories of her people. She physically suffers from it, her body wasting away as memory after memory takes hold of her.

Despite her pain and suffering, I struggled to find relief when Yetu ran away. I found myself disagreeing with Yetu as she tried to justify her journey to find herself — which is totally unfair because I am someone who left her family to find herself. As she regained her strength and fell in love, I couldn’t help wondering what happened to those in the Giver when Jonas ran away. Both Yetu and Jonas were considered vessels meant to hold memories, each losing their innocence in different ways. Both ran away. Jonas saved a little boy’s life, Yetu saved herself.

As I read The Deep, I kept flipping back and forth on whether or not Yetu was selfish when she ran away. Initially, I thought yes. How could someone leave her loved ones behind when she knew how much they would suffer without her? How could she leave them when the world would suffer? As I write this now, I suppose that was the point. What is more important, the individual or the tribe? How can you invoke change if one person fails to challenge everyone else? If Yetu hadn’t run away, she never would have shown her people the burden of what they asked her. They never would have agreed to share her burden if she had not run away. Nothing would have changed if she hadn’t run away.

So was running away selfish? Maybe, but it was mostly self-preservation. In the beginning, Yetu didn’t understand the point of the history. She needed to learn what it meant and why it was important. She needed to decide for herself that the history was bigger than she was and then determine how to support her people while supporting herself. In the end, this made her journey back to her people more noble. Yetu understood the freedom she faced if she stayed away, but she realized the burden was worth it to protect those she cared about. Though she didn’t have to take the history back, the sacrifice meant more because it was her choice and she chose to take it.

Many of us have spent the last few months rereading or rewatching Harry Potter. In honor of the children inside of us that long for Magic, August’s book club will be A Darker Shade Of Magic by V. E. Schwab. The New York Times (NYT) says “A Darker Shade of Magic has all the hallmarks of a classic work of fantasy. Its plot is gripping. Its characters are memorable. Its setting in four parallel, powerful Londons is otherworldly yet believable. Schwab has given us a gem of a tale that is original in its premise and compelling in its execution. This is a book to treasure.” While I tend to take NYT with a grain of salt, this one speaks to me, let’s see if they got it right!

A Darker Shade final for IreneKell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

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