Elegant, rich prose does not a phenomenal book make. That sentence is unfortunately the only thing I remember from English class, along with the accompanying showing, not telling does a phenomenal book make. A phenomenal book is one without sentences like, “Everything about me is perfected and polished, and thoroughly, thoroughly Libby.” A phenomenal book shows that the narrator is “perfected and polished” rather than having the narrator say so and then act otherwise. In short, Daughter of Deep Silence is not a phenomenal book, even though the prose is seemingly “perfected and polished.”
Daughter of Deep Silence, by bestselling author Carrie Ryan, is a “deliciously smart” revenge thriller that attempts to examine identity, love, and the lengths to which one will go when there’s nothing to lose. In the wake of the destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three people remain to tell its story–but two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace hasn’t smudged the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means “taking down” the boy she magically fell in love with at first sight and losing herself in the process…not that there was much to lose in the first place.
Daughter of Deep Silence attempts to make the reader feel feels by constantly flashing back to fourteen-year-old Frances’ exposure to the unavoidable insta-love. Apparently, we readers can only read books when the narrators are heartbroken over puppy lust. Honestly, it’s repetitive and eye-roll-inducing. Also, such insta-love makes Frances an inconsistent character. She claims to have mastered the art of revenge, the “absence of emotion,” pure, calculated thought “stripped bare of entangling emotions,” but then changes her whole game plan when she sees a so-called gorgeous guy? The only thing Frances has mastered is inconsistency.
This being said, rarely do I become fully immersed in a novel the way I did with Daughter of Deep Silence. Carrie Ryan might not be able to construct a plot, but she can write; every sentence is beautiful, gripping, and intoxicating. Take for instance the following sentence: “Rage is a powerful emotion, strong enough not just to burn away pain but also to sear back the whispering tendrils of fear.” That’s Carrie Ryan at her finest–sensitive, articulate, and deliberate.
But not deliberate enough to show and not tell.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (May 26th, 2015)
ISBN #: 9780525426509
Length: 375 pages (Hardcover)