Dragged to the Depths
A Cherry Lane Fantasy
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
Tormented with grief after losing her father, Emilia journeyed to her gran’s, in a desperate attempt to escape the memories surrounding her. But once there, she found little rest and respite on the remote Orkney islands after discovering a supernatural world under the sea.
The gods, goddesses and unfamiliar species of Mother Earth’s oceanic lands welcomed her with open arms – particularly Erox, the love of Emilia’s life. Her eyes were opened to the greed and hatred of her fellow mortals; it wasn’t a question of whether she was simply following destiny – she knew the path to RESET was one she could not ignore.
Erox smiled before giving Emilia a lingering kiss. She didn’t hesitate, and gave herself freely to the vortex before heading into the unknown. Could she save herself, let alone everyone else on the planet?
Dragged to the Depths will lead readers into a magical world full of secrets, legacies and adventure. An apocalyptic love story for those who believe there’s someone for everyone, somewhere. (Goodreads)
Dragged to the Depths by Cheryl Elaine, holds a coveted place in the fantasy genre – that of rural fantasy. It isn’t the urban fantasy, taking place in the streets that the reader knows well, mingled with the supernatural, but rather taking place within the fantasy’s native place of origin, in this case drawing on Scottish lore and the mysteries and fantasies of the depths. A roller coaster ride from a simple excursion away from the tragic loss of her father, Emelia is about to enter an all too true fairy tale that will change the course of mankind forever.
Plot-wise this story is far from, but in its own way, unique. It exhibits traditional tropes and motifs from both modern stories and fairy tales, yet mingles enough of the modern in with the folklore to keep it fresh and entertaining. Things, as they do in folktales, happen for a reason, and in the modern sense, no effect is not predicated by a cause. In this sense, the story flows naturally, moving from action to action, in a seamless sense. Elaine is to be praised here for keeping a grandiose story from appearing too fantastical or too rooted in folklore. The modern world stays alive in her writing, mainly due to the carefully crafted plot. One almost admires the way otherworldly elements are deftly woven in.
The prose is delectable. There is passion in the writing and it shows. A brisk read, Dragged to the Depths, also stands as a “pick-me-up” book in the fact that chapters are short, with just the right amount of digestible material contained within. For readers used to longer pauses between chapters, this may cause a bit of distraction in the beginning, however, it doesn’t take long to settle into the writing pace. The writing is frenetically dashed down in some places and laborious in others, giving the novel a distinct flavor all of its own. Sometimes flowery and other times brutal and point driven, Elaine crafts a story that is, like her subject material, a creature of two worlds starting simply and ending in cataclysmic fashion, without being overly preachy.
The characters in Cheryl Elaine’s Dragged to the Depths are more fleshed out than in Elaine’s previous work. With the odd exception of a few archetypes – the island’s doctor and Emelia’s mother, for example – most of the characters are fully fleshed out. Emelia and Erox are perhaps the most fleshed out of the lot, with Emelia’s grandfather and grandmother following closely behind which makes perfect sense, considering this is a love story at its heart. In such a spellbinding tale, one almost wishes that there was a little more time invested in the secondary characters, given the cataclysmic ending. The tertiary characters are predominantly archetypes in Propp’s sense of the term – the guide, the fallen hero, etc. (fans of Tolkien will recognize them for who they are) and because they serve the plot, not the story, one can easily overlook them. After all it is Emilia’s story we are dealing with.
Overall, Dragged to the Depths by Cheryl Elaine is well worth the read. Fans of fairy tales, and urban (well here, rural) fantasy, will find themselves right at home. The story is a brisk read and not that difficult to complete in one sitting. That being said, it also is a “pick-me-up” book that can be enjoyed in the background of an otherwise mundane existence. It starts out small and ends in a bang that readers shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to miss. The boundaries of the real and supernatural have never been so thinly veiled and so close to the readers grasp.