Quick review for a quick read. Preface to this review - I first heard about this book from a preview galley offered from NetGalley and that intrigued me enough to check into the full book. I knew going in that this would be a retelling/alternate telling of "The Count of Monte Cristo," and I've liked most of the adaptations that I've seen of that novel since it's among my favorite classic works. From "Gankutsuou" (a colorful Japanese anime series that's an adaptation of the novel) to ABC's "Revenge" - something about "Monte Cristo" resonates with me in seeing how each of the flawed main characters pursue a quest for revenge against the people who wronged them.
Such is the case of Frances - a young woman who loses all the people she loves over a boating "accident" that turns out to be more than it seems. She's one of the few survivors left from the wreckage, while the other two - a Senator and his son - are lying about the events aboard the Persephone. When Frances is rescued, the only other person she was found with was already dead (Libby). So Frances assumes Libby's identity (with the help of Libby's father, who recognizes the jarring lies painted in the media) and grows up while plotting a path of deeply rooted revenge.
Granted, I recognized that this book had more references to "Revenge" than "Monte Cristo" (heck, Greyson's name is a play on "Grayson" - the family that Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke wrecks revenge against in the series. Hence a clever ode, it seems, and the only direct reference.) But if there was one thing about "Daughter of Deep Silence" that I didn't like - it was the force fed descriptions of romance. Goodness, this book didn't need that, because otherwise, I'd probably be rating this higher. What made it so jarring and out of place was how forced the depiction was, particularly in places of the beginning. When Ryan does character intimacy well, she does it well - I even recognized that in places of "Forest of Hands and Teeth" - but there's also a dependency on how she's telling details rather than showing them. I really liked seeing spaces where Frances struggled with her identity - I liked those parts and even liked her reluctant relationship with Shepherd (who was pretty much the more level headed of the two). I even liked *some* of the sexual tension that developed between Frances/Libby and Grey - but not when it was shoved in my face that she wanted to jump his bones. If the narrative had scaled back on that and opted just to show some of those scenes on description/body language alone - I would've gotten it. I don't doubt that teens would get that too. It didn't have to be so overt and forced in the descriptions.
There were a few plot holes in the overarching narrative about who the culprit was and how the incident came to pass, but I was nonetheless entertained to see how Frances figured things out and the overarching march to the end, which I was able to get behind even with some open ended contexts.
I liked this far more than I thought I was going to, even with its respective flaws, and I'd probably re-read it again. I just wish it had relied a little less on pushing the romance and let the plot and characters carry it more, since that was intriguing enough as a lead in.
Overall score: 3.5/5 stars
Note: I received a galley blurb from NetGalley on behalf of the publisher, but ended up reading the full book after its release.