An ancient hunger has been awoken. It is never can never be satiated. It will just eat and eat until it devours the whole world. Unless a group of unlikely heroes can stop it. Abel Davenport, the man who awoke the eldritch god, Diana Stanley, a reformed cultist, and Ruby Standish, a thief of esoteric goods, don’t seem like the most likely monster slayers. But if the world is going to survive they’ll have to become more than that, they’ll have to become god killers. Check out Tim Pratt’s The Ravening Deep to see if they can stop Asterias before it consumes them all.
[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Aconyte for the purpose of this review. Warning: My review of The Ravening Deep contains some spoilers!]
The sea holds many secrets
Abel was raised on tales of gods and monsters by his mother and he’s been a fisherman all his life. But he’s never seen much to convince him that those monsters are real. Until the day he almost died, that is. Caught at sea during a powerful storm, Abel is sure that his time is up. Then he wakes up on a rocky spot of land in the middle of the ocean. He finds a cave that contains some strange growths, an altar, and a medallion. When he touches the medallion he’s overcome with visions showing strange robed figures making sacrifices to an ancient god.
When the visions end, Abel is on a beach not far from his home. He still has the medallion but now he also has a purpose. The god from his visions saved him and he’s determined to resurrect the god to show his gratitude. He knows exactly what to do thanks to the visions from the medallion and he gets started right away.
Silver Twilight Lodge holds more
Diana owns a woman’s fashion store in Arkham. She’s been trying to join ever higher circles of society in order to grow her business. As part of her social climb, Diana joined the Silver Twilight Lodge. But after some sketchy situations, and one truly terrifying encounter Diana has realized that the Lodge isn’t just a social club. What’s more, she’s decided to take down the lodge from the inside. She’s just not sure how yet.
One night, Abel shows up drunk on her doorstep. She doesn’t know him but she decides to extend him a little kindness anyway. After bringing him in, giving him a place to sleep, and offering him breakfast, the two start talking. Abel shares his story of an ancient god from the deep that is planning on destroying the world. Awakened to the terror of Asterias and ashamed of his part in god’s return, Abel wants to stop the cult he’s started from realizing its goal. Diana shares her tale of a cult that controls Arkham and summons monsters. The two realize that by helping each other they may be able to end both threats.
Then Ruby gets thrown into the mix. She’s a talented thief who has stolen from the Silver Twilight Lodge in the past. The leader of the Lodge, Carl Sanford, took the theft as a personal insult and wants revenge on Ruby. He sets a trap to lure her back to Arkham and she’s almost caught. But Diana stumbles into the trap too and ends up freeing Ruby. After they talk the two realize that they can help each other, and Abel too. The three start working to stop Asterias and curb the Silver Twilight Lodge.
The Ravening Deep is a classic monster tale
Some of the Arkham horror stories keep the eldritch gods in the background. Even though they are mentioned and are usually the focal point of the story, they aren’t often actually seen. If they do make an appearance, it’s usually quick and couched in terms of “too much for the mind to comprehend” or “eyes couldn’t really focus on them” or similar ideas that cheap out on actually showing the monsters. There is a certain amount of terror from things that are seen from the corner of the eye or only in shadows or that are too much for the human mind to handle. But sometimes it’s nice to have a real, definable, physical threat to face.
Pratt has given us a nice corporal monster to fight in The Ravening Deep. Asterias has a real, physical body that our heroes are trying to keep from being resurrected. I really liked this change. The solidity of Asterias (and his maw) made him feel more real and more scary than a more ethereal foe. I really liked Pratt’s comets concept too. Not knowing who to trust or just how much strength the cult had was a nice twist as the story went along.
Another great Arkham Horror installment
The Arkham Horror series is a great collection. The various characters and dangers all centered around the city of Arkham are engaging and connected enough to feel like a real-world while varied enough to stay fresh. Pratt’s newest entry for the collection continues the tradition. There are familiar locations and names but the main characters and situation are new and exciting. The Ravening Deep manages to combine the unknown dangers of the ocean with an alien threat without feeling hokey.
Different story threads are hinted at for future novels without detracting from Abel, Diane, and Ruby’s current plight. The Ravening Deep is a total and complete story that still connects to the larger Arkham world, which is the whole appeal of this series in the first place. Each story is a self-contained adventure. Reading more stories from the collection will give you a deep connection and understanding of some situations but it isn’t actually necessary to enjoy any one book.
It’s the perfect type of series, in my opinion, engaging stand-alone stories that create a larger interconnected world. And Tim Pratt’s The Ravening Deep is the perfect continuation of this series. I highly recommend picking it up when it comes out on August 4th.
My Rating: 9/10
The Ravening Deep by Tim Pratt is available on August 4th. Will you be checking it out? Let us know on Twitter or in The Cosmic Circus Discord.