A Letter to the Luminous Deep

Orbit. (The Sunken Archive, Bk. 1). Apr. 2024. 400p. ISBN 9780316565530. pap. $18.99. FANTASY
DEBUT Cathrall debuts with a wonderfully charming epistolary novel, the first of a series, set just over a thousand years after an event known as “the Dive,” which plunged humanity’s sky dwellers into the depths of the ocean. The ancestors of those who survived now live in the ocean and on the one small remaining land mass. The introverted and anxious E. Cidnosin lives underwater inside the “Deep House,” a marvel of architecture that her mother designed. Spying a mysterious sea creature outside her window spurs her to begin a correspondence with scholar Henerey Clel to help her identify it, beginning an extensive exchange of letters that leads to them falling in love. Then E. and Henerey disappear after an explosion at Deep House. A waterproof box of E.’s papers survives, though, and as her scholar sister Sophy and Henerey’s brother Vyerin piece together their letters and journals, an even larger mystery is revealed.
VERDICT Readers will want to savor the delightful letters that make up this cozy fantasy set in academia and an underwater world. Recommend to fans of Malka Older’s “Mossa and Pleiti” series.
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