Think you're not a fan of fantasy-world plot lines? Set aside that mind set and read THE VANISHING DEEP. This compelling story combines vintage science fiction "Soylent Green"-type food shortages, along with murder mystery, YA angst, and the unique problems of a "Waterworld" civilization. I must admit I did not begin reading this book with the expectation that hours later I would still be in my favorite chair, turning pages as fast as I could read them, but nineteen-year-old protagonist Tempest Alerin (aka Tempe) is an interesting character with understandable emotions. She has the opportunity to revive her dead sister with the meaningful name of Elysea. Even though the dead can be revived in this futuristic world, there is a strict time limit: only twenty-four hours. Still, what reader out there does not miss a parent, a sibling, a friend, a grandparent and sometimes wish they could see and talk to that loved one again? Even if it's just for a few minutes, the ability to truly say goodbye and express your love is priceless. Of course, in this problematic water-covered planet, this priceless experience comes at a staggering cost. Tempe risks her life to raise the money, and she is motivated by more than just missing her sister who was two years older; Elysea might have been responsible for the death of their parents who held important jobs in this sea-covered world. The tension is further heightened by the fact that both of these girls know the way the facility of Palindromena operates. The revival warden and family member (someone who must be able to afford the cost of this high-ticket item) have detailed and carefully outlined stories to follow. These are intended to allay any doubts or questions. But if the revived person is brought back with the mindset they had at the time of death, then will they notice changes in the loved one in front of them? Elysea has been gone for quite a long time. Her boyfriend is hers no longer. Won't she wonder why he is not there with her sister? Will Elysea wonder if she is simply revived for 24 hours and not recuperating from a two-day coma?
The doubts and fears and emotions are captured so well that I was able to feel immersed in this futuristic society. I enjoyed this story and found it to be an easy, fast-moving read. Fantasy is not my automatic first choice in books, but I gave this one a 5. This is my honest opinion in exchange for the ARC from Penguin Random House books.