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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  2,956 ratings  ·  710 reviews
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea meets Frankenstein in Frances Hardinge’s latest fantasy adventure
The gods are dead. Decades ago, they turned on one another and tore each other apart. Nobody knows why. But are they really gone forever? When 15-year-old Hark finds the still-beating heart of a terrifying deity, he risks everything to keep it out of the hands of smugg
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published October 31st 2019 by Macmillan Children's Books (first published October 29th 2019)
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Sara The U.K. edition comes out in October (ie now) and I believe the US edition comes out in April 2020.

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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,956 ratings  ·  710 reviews

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Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This is a story about friendship (the toxic kind), sea monsters (the dead kind), secrets (the very secret kind) and deep sea adventures (the kind that will get you killed almost definitely).

The feeling of reeling devastation when you realise that a newly discovered author has published countless books in the past decade and you didn't even know of their existence? Followed by a rush of utter delight when you realise that you're free to devour all of their books now without having to wait years f
When Frances Hardinge writes fantasy, it is a true fantasy indeed, in the most sincere meaning of the word - a crazy flight of imagination, an inventiveness of the strangest kind.

The worlds she creates are so unique, so truly different, so vibrant, so well fleshed-out that most other writers would have set as many stories as possible in such a place - but Hardinge instead with every story tirelessly creates a completely new and completely *alive* universe, with its own rules and settings and fab
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Frances Hardinge gives us vividly vibrant world building in this spellbinding and magical fantasy adventure of gods, sea creatures, pirates and so much more. Myriad is an archipelago where the gods once reigned supreme through terror, fear, and the sheer force of their power until the cataclysm that resulted in their deaths. Since then, an industry has built up where 'godware' is keenly sought and scavenged for, these remnants and fragments of the gods command an obscene level of financial rewar ...more
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best YA novels I’ve read in a long time, and will most likely secure a place in my top ten books of the year, and here’s why:

Hardinge is at her prime with this kind of world and writing; its fantasy in the best way. There is a fleshed out world which is dark and intriguing, the premise of the recent history of this world has set up a perfect culture to explore whilst reading - an archipelago called Myriad once terrorised by these gods from the depths of the waters around them
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya, 2020-shelf
I've got to hand it to Hardinge. When she decides to do some worldbuilding, she dives deep. And in this case, I mean that literally.

The world is recovering after sea gods destroyed it several decades past and the remnants eke out a hard survival among the waters and the islands. I was fascinated to discover this world and get embroiled in some rather dangerous situations that turn out badly (as stories always do), but I was even more interested in the cool twists that came about soon after a cer
Allison Hurd
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Holy sh*t this book was good. The plot was solid, the characters were lovely, and the storycraft was impeccable. Everything connected, everything bled into every other part of the story and it all felt so organic.

The only thing that pisses me off is that this is not YA IMO. This is a heavy, heavy story about abuse, loyalty, freedom vs. free choice, and ableism. Yeah, the main characters are teens, but it's about as "YA" as Lawrence's Book of the Ancestor series. I'm trying not to read too hard i
Ok this is not my normal kettle of fish (haha see what I did there) but actually enjoyed it a lot!

It's weird!

There are monster-gods!

Lots of fish and fishy things!


Wow, look how well my brain works after all this science and sea. Sorry. I need some time to dry out.

Also, Jelt is a JERK.

A day later ...

Okay, here I am to write a proper review for this highly unusual book!

Shall I give you the plot?
Hark is a troubled young orphan being consta
Brenda Waworga
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beautiful book inside and out, absolutely exceeded my expectation! I enjoyed my reading journey so much

This book is so full with adventures and magical relics and unique underwater gods and crazy priests!! we followed Hark a 15 years orphan boy who love to lie to survive and telling story, Hark one day caught up in trouble because of his bestfriend Jelt and need to be sold as a slave to a doctor.. and the story goes on :D

This is my first Hardinge’s book and definetly will not be the last one, th
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: too-ya-to-review
The other day I was hanging out with some friends when one of them, a young adult author, accused me of harboring an unholy dislike, nay, hatred of the young adult novel as a form. I pointed out that I have no problem with teen literature, I simply don’t truck with it myself. As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to books for youth, all titles stop at 6th grade. Of course, there is an exception to every rule. I may eschew the world of young adult books out of principal, but there is one author ...more
Dawn C
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: media-storytel
I’m impressed with this story, and surprised to see it in the YA category, it’s definitely not YA! It felt adult, though it had the natural curiosity and wonder of a child as well, so I can understand better why it’s shelved as children’s lit. It’s thankfully and refreshingly completely devoid of romance between the characters, or any of the usual, trite teenage angst tropes. Instead it deals with the very serious matter of the toxic friendship between best friends Hark and Jelt. What makes you ...more
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the newest fantasy adventure by this author and the 4th of hers that I've read. It's also instantly one of my favorites.

Yes, the story needs a few chapters to get going. We open to an island-world. Not long ago, gods roamed the world and people lived in fear. There were human sacrifices to the gods even. But the gods are gone now. Not killed by the humans but by something called the Cataclysm. Now, no longer united by fear and the wish to survive, the people living on the continent might
Di Maitland
Whilst I've rated Deeplight 4* reads, I'd probably recommend it as highly as I do many of my 5* reads. It's got some beautiful, aquatic world-building and Hark's developmental journey, as he discovers the bounds of friendship, is masterfully handled.
‘You will find out who you are when your choices test you. In the end, we are what we do and what we allow to be done.’

Fifteen-year-old Hark lives on Lady's Grave, an island in the middle of the Myriad. He makes his way conning wealthy merchants and
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

You will find out who you are when your choices test you. In the end, we are what we do and what we allow to be done.

Deeplight is another fantastic work of fantasy with a helping of body horror by the talented Frances Hardinge. This time the setting is a nation made up of a scattering of islands in a sea that used to be home to gods; beautiful, terrible, and hypnotic, yet ultimately destructive. Now the old gods are gone, but not forgotten.

Hardinge fleshes out fully a cast of characte
Jul 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, fantasy, ya
This book really resisted me for the first half of it. That’s where I gave up on the previous attempt at reading it. So this time I tackled it with an audiobook and that helped immensely. But mythology of this world is fresh and original as it always is with Frances. She has a crazy inventive imagination. I loved how she tackled here interesting topics such as toxic friendships, people craving order and authority even if it oppresses them. I will always try her books but this one lost me too oft ...more
3 1/2 stars

It's Frances Hardinge, so of course it's amazingly well written, but it's not my favorite of hers. For some reason, I just didn't connect with this one emotionally at all.
Unique worldbuilding and surprisingly deep (no pun intended) philosophy on life choices. Being a stand-alone and set underwater are two huge pluses for me.
They say that there is a dark realm of nightmares that lies beneath the true sea. When the Undersea arches its back, the upper sea is stirred into frenzy.
They say that the Undersea was the dwelling place of the gods.
They say many things of the Myriad, and all of them are true.

The Myriad, island chain once home to oceanic gods, is now home to a people left bereft by the Catalclysm - a week of terror where the gods rose from the depths and tore each other apart. These weren't abstract gods, eithe
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It is easy to love power, because power tells you it is majesty and beauty and greatness.”

Deeplight was one of my most anticipated fantasy-releases of 2019, and I'm so happy it didn't let me down. Frances Hardinge has written an exciting and dangerous sea-adventure, in which a young boy has to handle (deaf) smugglers, ancient Gods, and a toxic friendship in order to survive.

"Stories were ruthless creatures, and sometimes fattened themselves on bloody happenings."

The absolute highli
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“What’s the point of a god you can pickle?”

Apparently, I need to read more “children’s” books, because this book was atmospheric delight.

I would put this in the category with books like The Book Thief, When a Monster Calls and yes, even HP. I don’t care what age you are, you’ll probably find something in this relatable/enjoyable.

4.25/5 (but rounding up so it gets on your TBR radar)
Renee Godding
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 stars
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I’ve always said Francis Hardinge’s imagination is unrivaled, and Deeplight was another dark delight. This time, we are transported to the Myriad archipelago, home to a people who worshiped a pantheon of terrifying, monster-like gods that would rise every so often from the Undersea and wreak havoc on the islands. But just three decades before, something strange happened. The gods turned on each other, and no one knows wh
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm also a book blogger

I picked this up last year because Waterstones had a gorgeous signed copy with sprayed orange edges, so obviously I had to have it. It took me until now to finally sit and read it, and it was so worth the 5 hours it took to read it.

Frances Hardinge has this crazy amazing talent for truly unique stories, that feel like old tales told by the light of a campfire. In this story, she takes us to a world recovering after the loss of their old gods, strange beings that lived unde
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘You will find out who you are when your choices test you. In the end, we are what we do and what we allow to be done.’

4.5 stars for this tale of gods, sea monsters and heros. This was a wonderful coming of age tale with some deep questions asked about who we are and who we can or do become. If gods die, what are they replaced with in our hearts? Does fear feed faith? Hark,Selphin and Jelt were interesting and well fleshed out characters who grew, developed and changed through the story, not all
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
I am OBSESSED with this cover
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


"I think I've got a lot better at choosing friends"

Young adult books have the tendency to make me roll my eyes so far backwards and scoff at everything the author writes. It's a tiring thing being on the hating side of a genre. Who wants to rant about books continuously? Not me. Ignoring them is so much healthier. So maybe i miss gems like this because I'd probably have to sift through a ton of less than quality books to find this & I'm obviously too lazy for that.
So I'm thankful f
Noelia Alonso
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2019

The premise was amazing but I didn't like the execution. I struggled throughout to keep my mind focused on the story and more often than not, I had to reread many parts because I hadn't paid attention the first time I read them - my mind kept wandering off. I also didn't connect with any of the characters which was a massive problem for me, and probably the reason preventing me from fully engaging with the story.
The writing was good though and there were parts I liked but overall, this sto
Rhian Pritchard
May I please just say that the first thing I love about this book is that the whole thing was inspired by one deaf girl writing to her favourite author to ask if she’d ever write a deaf character. That, in itself, encompasses pretty much everything I’ve ever loved about books, the people who read them, the people who write them, and everything else that brings stories into being. Which, enjoyably, is one of the main themes of the book. Oh Frances, you clever thing you.

This is the first book by
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-2020
Come to Myriad, where the sea gods are revered even though they ceased to exist decades ago. They harvest pieces of the gods (godware) themselves from the sea as their industrial world develops.

Come meet 15-year-old Hark, an orphan who scams tourists to keep his belly full. His best friend, Jelt, offers him a lucrative gig that lands him in trouble. In fact, Jelt often gets Hark in trouble. This time they discover an usual piece of godware that will lead Hark on a perilous journey. He will have
Elvina Zafril
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pansing
Well I wasn't expecting that this book could be so good!

Deeplight set in a world of mystery and myth. It's really unique. I never thought that I'm liking this book so much. People in this world believe that there is something from the powerful Gods left behind at the bottom of the ocean. People are trying to find the things that the Gods left behind and make them as a trade. Some of the people are constantly trying to find the things.

To me the world building in Deeplight is perfect. The charact
Sian (sianslibrary)
Sep 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Frances Hardinge is one of those authors that you cannot escape hearing good things about. So when I saw the cover (yes, I’m sorry!) and read the blurb for Deeplight I was instantly intrigued!

Deeplight is a unique story set in a world of mystery and myth. In this world, people believe there are remnants of the all-powerful Gods at the bottom of the ocean. As such, a lucrative and dangerous trade is born on the islands and people are constantly searching for pieces of ‘Godware’.

I did feel the cha
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SciFi and Fantasy...: "Deeplight" Discuss Everything *Spoilers* 46 81 Apr 16, 2021 01:50PM  
ARTBA 2021: Deeplight 2 8 Feb 25, 2021 10:38AM  
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Frances Hardinge spent her childhood in a huge, isolated old house in a small, strange village, and the two things inspired her to write strange, magical stories from an early age. She studied English at Oxford University and now lives in Oxford, England.

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“I’m glad we’re free, even if we do stupid things with the freedom sometimes. Maybe sometimes there isn’t a right thing to do. Maybe there’s just lots of wrong answers, and you have to pick one you can bear – something that doesn’t break who you are.” 13 likes
“You will find out who you are when your choices test you. In the end, we are what we do and what we allow to be done.” 12 likes
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