Book: “Haunting the Deep” by Adriana Mather
Publishing Info: Knopf Books for Young Readers, October 2017
Where Did I Get This Book: The library!
Book Description: The Titanic meets the delicious horror of Ransom Riggs and the sass of Mean Girls in this follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller How to Hang a Witch, in which a contemporary teen finds herself a passenger on the famous “ship of dreams”—a story made all the more fascinating because the author’s own relatives survived the doomed voyage.
Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one.
This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship.
Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.
Review: Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have a deep and obsessive attachment to a YA paranormal romance series, and yet here we are. It’s a bit more than a year since I read the bananas kooky and super awesome “How To Hang A Witch”, and I was waiting with bated breath to finally get my hands on book two of the series. I knew that it was going be a series, and that I’d be able to gallivant with my beloved witch Samantha and her ghost boyfriend Elijah once again. The moment that I found out it was finally coming out, I was excited. And when I found out that the main plot point involved The Titanic, oh man….
If I were more cynical or less inclined to give this series all the passes because of my affection for it, I’d probably call out Mather for taking another part of her personal family history to fuel this book (if the next one takes place during another significant event that her family happened to be a part of I will start to really question). But as of now I’m just happy to be along for the ride. Mather has really fallen into a strong stride with her characters now, as Sam no longer feels like she’s trying to hard to be cynical and her friendship with The Descendants is on easy and natural footing. I was worried that bringing her Dad into the dynamic might make things a bit tricky, especially since he doesn’t know about his ex-wife Vivian being a witch who tried to curse him and Samantha, only foiled because of Samantha’s own dabbling in magic. But luckily, he adds a new foil for Sam to interact with, another skeptic who she is trying to hide herself from.
The Titanic theme was a little harder for me to swallow, though I did overall enjoy it enough. I think that my reticence is less because of how Mather approached it and more because I worked in an exhibit that was all about the Titanic during my museum days and I’ve been pretty burned out on the topic ever since. It also made some of the inaccuracies more glaring than they would have been otherwise. For example, there is mention of the Steerage passengers being locked behind gates so that First and Second Class had access to the lifeboats first. Yeah, that didn’t happen, so it was a little disheartening that that ‘fact’ was kept in, especially since I was under the impression that Mather did the research before writing. Plus, yeah, I have the skeleton in my closet that I did indeed see “Titanic” in the movie theater four times, and so my lingering embarrassment paints my judgment. It wasn’t even because of Leo and I don’t really want to talk about it…
But hey, let’s be real. I’m not here for the Titanic plot line. I’m mostly here for Elijah, the handsome and mysterious ghost who had to leave his lady love Sam behind when he crossed over at the end of “How To Hang A Witch”. Or did he? Spoiler alert, he did not.
I really like Elijah and Sam as a couple, mostly because while Elijah does have his old world ideas of chivalry and protecting her, Sam shuts that shit down and he respects her and her decisions. He isn’t in this one as much as he was in the first book, but when he is there it’s really great and romantic. Plus, that kind of lets Sam show off that she is more than her love life, and given that some of the more popular paranormal romances stumble in this regard, it’s refreshing to see her have her own agency and personality. True, there’s a bit of a kerfuffle regarding Jaxon, the boy next door who is also keen on Sam (damn love triangles), but the good news is that Sam doesn’t really waffle or question where her heart is. She knows exactly who she wants, and so this love triangle is basically defunct, which is the best kind of love triangle. True, it adds for needless tension that I just kind of skipped over, but it made it easier to hate Jaxon, which I was down for.
OH, and the female friendships are in full swing in this book! In “How To Hang A Witch” there was an enemy situation between Sam and the Descendants, but now that the conflict has been resolved Sam, Alice, Susanna, and Mary are BFFs for life and it’s good seeing positive female friendships in a YA novel. We also are getting to know each of them a bit more, and I can only hope that this continues because I need to know more about all of them. Especially Alice, that sassy and snarky Queen Bee!
Overall, “Haunting The Deep” continues a series that I’m still totally invested in. I hope I don’t have to wait long for the next one, as I’m not sure I can go for another year without another Elijah fix.
Rating 8: A fun and soapy sequel to one of my favorite not so guilty pleasure books, “Haunting The Deep” brings us back to the delightful bitchcraft of the Descendants, the plucky Sam, and the swoon-worthy Elijah.
“Haunting the Deep” is a newer book and isn’t on many relevant Goodreads lists, but it’s included on “2017 YA Horror”, and I think that it would fit in on “Wise Women, Witches, Midwives, Healers, and Strong Girls!”.
Find “Haunting the Deep” at your library using WorldCat!