By Carrie Ryan
Available now from Dutton BFYR (Penguin Random House)
Much like the Count of Monte Cristo, Frances Mace sweeps back into town under a new identity to get revenge on those who wronged her, including her lover. (Okay, just a boyfriend in this case.) Frances is one of four people who got off of the doomed Persephone and one of three who survived. The fourth, Libby, would've survived too if the other survivors hadn't lied about what happened.
Frances assumed Libby's identity at the request of her rich, connected father. He could protect Frances from those who destroyed the ship. She waited out of respect to him, but now it is time for Frances/Libby to get revenge on Senator Wells and his son Grayer. The main obstacle: Shepherd, Libby's first love and the boy who knew her better than anyone.
I absolutely loved Frances/Libby. She knows that what she's doing is ruthless and cruel and awful. She knows that Libby wouldn't have wanted this as a memorial, nor would the girl she was before the ship went down. And she doesn't care. She's going to make everyone who ruined her life rue the day. No one would believe her if she went through legal channels, so she isn't. What it takes matters to her less than the result. I love a good revenge story, and I appreciate that Carrie Ryan establishes that what Libby is doing is destructive (and she knows it), but it doesn't destroy her delight in serving some just deserts.
I liked the way the romantic elements were handled as well. Gray is attracted to Libby, partly because of their past and because she's deliberately playing to what she knows he likes. But also because they have a genuine connection and enjoy talking and spending time together. Obviously, there's a lot for him to overcome if he's going to redeem himself, but that's an issue for Frances/Libby to by the end of the novel.
DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE is a pleasurable read for anyone who enjoys a well-executed revenge, morally ambiguous female characters, and an interesting supporting cast. I've seen some confusion about the genre; DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE is science fiction in that it takes place twenty minutes into the future, but there are no fantasy elements or strange tech in play. Ryan makes liberal use of flashbacks, but they don't slow the book down or cause confusion about what's happening when. Her writing is smooth and goes down like a nice bourbon. I expected to enjoy this book, and I liked it even more than I thought I would.