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The Abyss Surrounds Us

(The Abyss Surrounds Us #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  5,884 ratings  ·  1,105 reviews
Cas has fought pirates her entire life. But can she survive living among them?

For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops i
Paperback, 273 pages
Published February 8th 2016 by Flux
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Elle (ellexamines)
But she underestimated me. I played my cards, I lay in wait, I let myself be beaten and manipulated. If she keeps that promise she made to me, I’ll show her the truth I’ve learned on her boat. I don’t just raise monsters. I am one.

So like, I know that I boost my review of this book every day and it’s annoying, but every single time there is someone who says they haven’t read it, or worse yet, have NOT HEARD OF IT. Which is a travesty, because The Abyss Surrounds Us is one of my perso
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melanie by: Elle (ellexamines)
“I don’t just raise monsters. I am one.”

One of the best book recommendations I’ve received to date is Elise recommending me The Abyss Surrounds Us. Friends, I fell totally in love with this story and it surpassed every high expectation I had for it. The writing is addicting, the story is so unique, and this book holds my now favorite enemies to lovers, angst-filled relationship of all time. Oh, and it’s between two girl pirates. Sold yet? You should be. This book was a gift.

First of
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
Hi, yes, I would like to place a call to Hollywood to demand why they haven't made this into the world's best movie yet. They're sleeping on pure gold here. ...more
Whitney Atkinson
4.5 stars

This book, I swear to God, could've been (could be?) the next big thing in YA if there were a different (*cough* better) cover and if there could be ~100 more pages of description and character development. The bones for an amazing story are here, and as is, it's a great book. But the concept of this and the characters and the moral dilemma were all SO good that for this book to be less than 300 pages seems like such a wasted opportunity to really draw out the story.

I LOVED the main cha
Feb 01, 2015 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
This is my debut novel. It's a book about sea monsters, pirates, the future, girls with edges, hard choices, fast boats, and big turtles. It's big and wild, and I love it. I hope you guys do too. ...more
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
goodbye, I'm going to rob a ship and sail the seas as a lesbian pirate.

(review to come)
prag ♻
We need more books like this. We need more books with morally grey areas and lesbian pirates. Why, you ask?

Reason #1: The Romance

● they sleep on the same bed
somehow, they wake up tangled together
● they’re enemies at this point
● did I mention it’s enemies to lovers aka my second favourite trope
● “equal footing”
● y’all don’t know power dynamics till you’ve read this book

My heart is still pounding in my chest, and it takes me a few seconds to realize that I’m clutching her hand as if it’
may ➹
wow. I adored this. the morally grey gay pirate girls were my favorite thing ever and I fell in love with a stupid killing machine monster creature. y’all are sleeping on this but you SHOULDN’T

// buddy read with the purest angel


huh. so no one thought to tell me that the protagonist of this was Asian??? literally all I heard was that she was lesbian. aaaaaand nothing else

this was already high on my TBR, and I was sure I would find my sapphic self in these sapphic
amy ☂︎
Reasons why you need Cas and Swift in your life (+iconic moments):

• The Banter™
• cas being really angry about falling in love with swift and saying she has "stupid" or "idiotic" hair
• swift taking off her shirt and cas literally going "oh no"
• they were literally handcuffed to each other at some point
• did i mention that they have to sleep in the same bed
• "I'd go wherever you'd run to."
• they would literally die for each other

✨    jamieson   ✨
But she underestimated me. I played my cards, I laid in wait, I let myself be beaten and manipulated. If she keeps that promise she made to me, I’ll show her the truth I’ve learned on her boat. I don’t just raise monsters. I am one.

I can't even remember the last time I read a book this fast THAT is how much I absolutely adored this book. It literally has everything. Sea monsters, pirates, morally ambiguous characters, fantasy and lesbians in love. my gay ass is thriving

The Abyss Surrounds Us
Update: oops. It's been a while since I've done a NetGalley review. Anyway -
A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No external considerations went into this review.

This book is everything, everything that I wanted it to be - and more.

I've been excited about it since the cover was first released, and I actually overhauled my entire NetGalley profile specifically to request it. Being that invested in the potential of a book is risky,
Buddy read with this beautiful soul who deserves all the cakes in the world

4,5 stars

My real review:

My proper review because I feel like such a Fake on goodreads lately:
I legit lost the ability for words and my friends have all reviewed this book much better than I ever could, but basically this caught my attention right away and believe me when I say I was surprised because except for me being a well-known lover of pirates in any shape or form, I actually don't really like sea-stories (I'm a wal
I don’t just raise monsters. I am one.

4.25 stars.

Pirates. Sea monsters. Floating cities. Lesbians. If none of that has sold you on this book yet, idk what will or what’s wrong with you. It’s been 24 hours and I’m still not over how fricking awesome this was.


I’d fallen into a bit of a reading slump last week, but thanks to this and few other great reads, this week is off to a MUCH better start.

The Abyss Surrounds Us follows the story of Cas Leung, a sea monster trainer who finds herself kidna
well. this was underwhelming.

excuse me while i cry tears of salty disappointment.


listen, i already love pirates, but gay asian (!!!) pirates... i might as well go ahead and 5-star this already.

i will actually cry if this ends up being disappointing.
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I just want to say I have a huge crush on Swift.
And I understand why Cass is mad, but can you be mad at someone for something you yourself did, too? That's not how it works, sweetheart.
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Flux and NetGalley.)

“It’s just a rite of passage,”

This was an interesting fantasy/pirate story, with genetically engineered beasts!

Cas had to make some tough decisions in this book, and I didn’t blame her for the choices she made. Being kidnapped by pirates does not sound like fun!

The storyline in this was about Cas’ kidnapping, and the expectation that she would train an illegal Reckoner pu


I went into The Abyss Surrounds Us with low expectations. It’s not a very popular book, but it had suddenly been making the rounds on my Goodreads account and I just had to know why no one had rated this book under four stars.

I now know.

The Abyss Surrounds Us is a tale unlike any other I have read. That may be because I’m not a fan of sea monsters or pirates usually, but this book does it so fantastically I simply enjoyed my precious opinions. T
Meagan ✊🏼 Blacklivesmatter ✊🏼Blacktranslivesmatter
It was unique and predictable at the same time. But I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The writing felt simplistic and straightforward, but still solid. Full RTC
Lex Kent
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
2 1/2 Stars. I really wanted to love this book. With all the good reviews, I was so sure I would, that I grabbed book 2, without even reading this one. Now I wish I hadn't. If book 2 wasn't a Netgalley, I would honestly skip it. Maybe I will get lucky and it will be great, but sometimes you just don't click with a book, and that was my problem with this one. The writing was good and the subject was so creative and different.... unfortunately, nothing else really came together for me.

I read lesbi
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My only complaints?? This wasn't longer, only took me around 4 hours to finish, and left me an empty husk at 1 in the morning.

When, just 25 pages in, you cry a little, you know it's going to be a great book, right?

A lovable/monstrous narrator, lovable/monstrous lady pirates, lovable/monstrous.....sea monsters. Everyone and everything here is written with moral complexity and ambiguity. The world-building is pretty great, doesn't drag you down, and makes you want to ask a few more questions abou
This book was honestly such a surprise! I picked it up because I saw a good review, and thought it sounded vaguely interesting. Like, ALL I knew coming in was sapphic pirates, and something about sea monster trainers.

Which sounds amazing, of course! It was enough to make me pick this book up after seeing only one review, which I rarely do. But still, I went in with exactly zero expectations.

And then the beginning was a bit slow...

But this book blew me out of the water! (I'm sorry, bad ocean puns
Heidi Heilig
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book took a bite out of my heart.

Oh, Cas. OH SWIFT. OH BAO!!!

I don't know how best to sum up this thrilling sci-fi adventure-at-sea. There are sea monster battles, pirate ships, floating cities in the Neo-Pacific, a hate-to-love romance, an awesome pet, deep philosophy, high stakes--but really, this book is about discovering who you are and accepting that "who you are" is not all sunshine and lollipops. I love--absolutely love--stories like that, and this one is no exception. There's a real
Katherine Locke
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Five fucking stars for 288 pages of non-stop action packed adventure. LESBIAN PIRATES AND SEA MONSTERS IN A MORALLY CORRUPT WORLD. I mean, if that doesn't sell you on the book, why are we even friends? ...more
Chelsies Reading Escape
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: queer-books
I really wanted to love this book, especially since I bought my own copy after receiving an ARC of the sequel, but sadly it let me down. The elements were all there but I found myself so frustrated with the characters and rolling my eyes that I even picked up and finished another book when I was a third of the way through. I love pirates and books with LGBT elements. I even liked the plot and the idea of trained sea monsters that protect ships but the characters and their developpement didnt wor ...more
Shan( Shans_Shelves) 💜
Full review also on my Blog

Sea Monsters, Queer pirates and a villain to die for: You Want This Book!

The Abyss That Surrounds Us is a Young Adult, sci-fi novel told from the POV of 17 year old Cassandra “Cas” Leung. Cas has trained reckoners( Scientifically engineered sea monsters) all her life. The reckoners were engineered to protect sea vessels, such as cargo ships or cruise ships from pirates at sea. On her very first trip Cas is unfortunately kidnapped by pirates and that is where our stor
I would just like to say that there is a book out there, in this very universe, in which sometime in The Future people train giant turtles and engage in epic pirate battles. With the turtles.
This is not a drill.

Sooo.... my library thinks that it’s ok to just *not* have this book and I consider that to be treason (ps I still love my library thanks for all the books you do have lol)
Brigid ✩
OH MY GOODNESS. I LOVED THIS. Review coming soon!
Ellen Gail
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ellen Gail by: emma

This was pretty darn fun! You know, I don't think I've read many pirate novels (Lost Boy and Blackhearts are the only ones coming to mind, and those are barely piratey and take place mainly on land), let alone a futuristic pirate story featuring genetically engineered sea monsters, young lesbian romance, and a pleasing amount of moral ambiguity.

Cas Leung is a Reckoner trainer - basically she trains and tames giant genetically engineered sea monsters who bond with ships and protect them, usually
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
I am very furious and very very annoyed right now. This book had everything I would ever want in a book: Asian, lesbian mc, pirates, sea monsters, floating cities, cruel captain... It could be everything, EVERYTHING, but in the end it was so boring and underwhelming as fuck.

A part of my fury is directed toward myself too because in many ways I didn't understand this book. I didn't understand some of the scenes, I didn't understand the characters and their choices and I didn't understand where wa
April 2020
Buddy reading this with the bestest of friends hoping it'll be everything Dark Shores promised and never delivered.

July 2020
...aaaaand I was disappointed once again.
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Emily Skrutskie is six feet tall. She was born in Massachusetts, raised in Virginia, and forged in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado. She holds a B.A. in Performing and Media Arts from Cornell University, where she studied an outrageous and demanding combination of film, computer science, and game design.

She is the author of THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US and its sequel, THE EDGE OF THE ABYSS, as wel

Other books in the series

The Abyss Surrounds Us (2 books)
  • The Edge of the Abyss (The Abyss Surrounds Us, #2)

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Nature, in Her infinite awesomeness, can provide solace even when you’re stuck in the house. As a matter of fact, the numbers suggest that...
22 likes · 1 comments
“But she underestimated me. I played my cards, I laid in wait, I let myself be beaten and manipulated. If she keeps that promise she made to me, I’ll show her the truth I’ve learned on her boat. I don’t just raise monsters. I am one.” 33 likes
“And it sucks, because I want to kiss her. It's infuriating how perfect it would be to kiss her right now, perched on a cannon on a pirate ship under the stars. That sounds like something off the pages of an adventure novel. But my life isn't one of those stories. My story is a hurricane, and here with Swift is just the eye.” 20 likes
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