Rating: 3 Stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.
In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows 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 loves and possibly losing herself in the process.
Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.
This is one of those books that I really couldn’t put down, but at the same time didn’t lead up to all my expectations.
An unreliable, malicious narrator is a popular thing right now. And they can be done very well, too. Personally, I love nothing more than a bitingly sarcastic, viciously angry, even – dare I say it – evil protagonist. The question of if they’re wrong or right in their actions or revenge plots doesn’t really matter to me, just because I feel that if you’re going to write an unreliable, almost evil narrator, the point of the story isn’t some life-lesson where the character comes to realize their methods of revenge where they shut everyone out and will completely ruin their own lives for this one quest is wrong and they’re only doing themselves an injustice, but the story should be more about this character’s own psyche and complete lack of empathy towards their own existence. These kinds of books tend to be dark and laced with poison. They’re the kind of stories where you, as the reader, do not care about right or wrong, justice or injustice, because a deep part of you completely agrees and understands the protagonist’s methods and rationalities.
“If anything, revenge is the absence of emotion. It’s pure, calculated thought stripped bare of entangling emotions. It’s cold, deliberate action.”
A book that comes to mind that is like this would be Black Iris. One of my favorite books of this year and undoubtedly the darkest book I’ve read in a good long while.
But that’s not what I got here. While I loved the pace of this story and how well thought out everything Frances does to complete her plot of revenge, this ended up being a kind of life-lesson on why revenge isn’t worth it.
I don’t want that. I want a character bent on self-destruction. I want a character who understands the implications of going after a member of the Senate and trying to oust him in having a hand in the massacre that killed her parents on the Persephone four years ago. And to an extent, Frances did.
Frances is now Libby, having taken on Libby’s identity after Libby died next to her as they were afloat at sea for seven days, waiting for rescue. Being found by Libby’s father, he takes Frances, who would now be an orphan, and gives her his dead daughter’s identity.
Now Frances, having lived the past four years as Libby in a boarding school in Switzerland, is coming home to bring to light that what killed all the passengers of the Persephone four years ago was not a rogue wave like the Senator and his son have said all this time, but were armed men who shot everyone aboard except for the Senator and his son. Miracle survivors, they were called. Frances and Libby were the only ones to make it off the ship alive, but the day before Libby’s father finds Frances and Libby’s life raft, Libby dies.
“Rage is a powerful emotion, strong enough not just to burn away pain but also to sear back the whispering tendrils of fear.”
Now Frances wants revenge. She’s had four years to study everything about the Senator and his son and every other passenger on the cruise ship. She has a thousand different plots to carry out depending on how the Senator and his son respond to her appearance back in America.
And I have to give Frances credit for that. She does carry out her plans. She poisons, lies, and schemes her way into the public life of the Senator and his son. She puts on a face and makes the Senator’s son – Grey – want to open up to her, to tell her the truth about what happened on the Persephone that day four years ago. She’ll use him and not feel guilty. She’ll put the Senator’s family in danger only to make her look like the hero. And because of those reasons, I went through this book extremely fast.
“Could I really let her die? I ask myself.
The most alarming realization is the sudden and sure answer: yes.
I could absolutely let her die.”
But then there was the romance. I will say this: It could have been much worse. And while Frances isn’t about to forgive Grey for all the lies he’s told the past four years, she’s also attracted to him. And while I didn’t hate that, I didn’t love it either. What I hate is that there are times Frances almost blurts out the truth to Grey about who she is and what she’s been planning all because he kisses her. Because he and Frances knew each other on the cruise ship before armed men boarded it. Because four years ago when they were both about fourteen, they fell in love for the first time, and apparently neither of them has been able to forget each other since then and are still in love with each other.
And I just wasn’t buying it.
I mean, they were both fourteen. You know what happens with first love and fourteen-year-olds? They forget about it after a week and then they’re on to their new “true love.” That’s what happens.
But here’s Frances, who’s mooning over Grey. Who’s spent the last freaking four years thinking about him. Who has basically stalked him. And who now tells herself she’s going to somehow seduce him without feeling anything herself. And, girl, I love the sentiment, but you suck at pulling it off.
She’s wondering what happened to the two of them who confessed their undying love to each other when they were fourteen. It’s like two adults refusing to move forward with their lives because of their first love when they were fourteen.
And then the ending ruined it. The ending made this story into one life-lesson about how revenge isn’t worth it and how Frances has been pushing everyone away because she could never let anyone see that she wasn’t really Libby, that she was Frances, and because she has never wanted anything more that revenge and the truth to come out on why all those people had to die on the cruise ship.
I hate that. I hate that that’s what the ending became. Because everyone is telling Frances about how she should just forget and move on, forgive and continue with her life. And, I’m sorry, but I don’t think Frances is wrong to feel like she does. Not only were her parents shot in front of her own eyes when she was fourteen, but then she was on a life raft at sea for seven days with no one besides Libby’s father looking for survivors because the Senator and his son had convinced everyone that they were the only survivors. Do you know what happens to the human body without food or water under the sun for seven days? It’s not freakin’ pretty.
This isn’t a revenge mission because she was lied to and betrayed by her first true love. This is a revenge missions for all those people who died that day, who were killed by armed men. This is for her parents and Libby, who gave up on living after six days at sea, who if had held on for only a day longer would have survived.
And this is also for Frances herself, because she can no longer be Frances anymore. She needed the protection Libby’s father could give her, so she accepted his deal and became Libby. To the world, Frances is dead.
“I am nothing except this: a girl reborn of the deep ocean silence, meant for nothing but vengeance.”
I wanted Frances to not necessarily be proud of what she was doing, and maybe not even say it was all for the dead passengers of Persephone either, but it was because she knew the law would never hold someone like the Senator accountable – if anyone ever believed the word of a fourteen-year-old girl over the word of a Senator and his son anyways – and because she would never have peace. She would always be looking over her shoulder to wonder if the armed men who came after the Persephone would come after her again.
“It’s funny, most people think that revenge is a passionate affair, driven by rage and pain. But it can’t be. Feelings such as those make you weak. They overwrite thought and cause reckless impulses that lead to poor decisions.”