Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

The gods of the Myriad were as real as the coastlines and currents, and as merciless as the winds and whirlpools. Then one day they rose up and tore each other apart, killing many hundreds of islanders and changing the Myriad forever.

On the jumbled streets of the Island of Lady’s Crave live Hark and his best friend Jelt. They are scavengers: living off their wits, diving for relics of the gods, desperate for anything they can sell. But now there is something stirring beneath the waves, calling to someone brave enough to retrieve it. Something valuable. Something dangerous.

Nothing is quite as it seems, and when the waves try to claim Jelt, Hark will do anything to save him. Even if it means compromising not just who Jelt is, but what he is . . .


Mia, year 8

1st December 2021 at 1:55 pm


I usually like fantasy books but ‘Deeplight’ kind of bored me. I liked the fact that the book invented a whole new world with a map at the start. My favourite part was when Jelt merged with the god construct. I would give this book a 2/5 since I didn’t particularly like it.

Lexie, year 8

1st December 2021 at 1:55 pm

In ‘Deeplight’ the action takes quite a while to start. I liked that Jelt wasn’t the stereotypical best friend character, the way their relationship is shown is very different to most books. While the book is quite wordy, I enjoyed exploring this new fantasy land. The book looks at the gods and goddesses of this land. It was nice slowly finding out about them as the book went on. I like this book and would give it a 3/5. It is very creative but sometimes things were a bit unexplained and confusing. ‘Deeplight’ is not the type book I would usually read but it was a nice book overall.

Grace, year 9

1st December 2021 at 1:52 pm


I thought ‘Deeplight’ was a very deep book which represented friendship and courage. Hark and Jelt from Lady Crave are scavengers and best friends. But when Jelt’s plan backfires and lands Hark in a sanctuary, things start to escalate into a complicated adventure. I felt that Hark and Jelt’s friendship was very hard, but important at the same time. It was very sad when the god ware turned Jelt into a monster. I also loved that Hark and Doctor Vine started to get on and work together more to stop another God being created. Hark’s friendships with the old priests were lovely to read about. Hark’s courage was very admirable when he took the risk to try and fly the dangerous submarine, the Butterfly, to save the islands. I would recommend this book for anyone who loves adventurous exciting fantasy stories.

Ben year 8

24th November 2021 at 8:40 pm

I really love this book. This book is a mix of a bit of horror but also fantasy. This book has a lot of great characters and the plot is very well written. My favourite character in this book is Hark, although he wasn’t a great person at the start of the chapter. And the mightiest god I prefer would be The Glass Cardinal. This book is really spooky and mysterious. This book is supposed to be for young adults like 12+ Overall I thought that this book was incredible.

Isla, year 9

24th November 2021 at 8:34 pm

‘Deeplight’ is a fabulous book that is full of description. ‘Deeplight’ is a book based on gods, friendships and the mystical adventure to find treasure know as god ware on a group of islands. Hark, the main character, is an intelligent thief and has great wisdom about his island and people, the book is about how he saves his island and people. I loved the unpredictable storyline with gripping moments. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book but sometimes I felt as though the language was complicated and difficult to understand though.

Jagoda, Year 8

22nd November 2021 at 3:59 pm

“Deeplight” was very hooking and really made you feel like you were part of the story while reading it.
The characters were intriguingly secretive and mysterious about their past which made you even more interested in the story. Throughout the book there were many plot twists which kept you interested and wanting to read on. Overall “Deeplight” was an entrancing book which left you feeling like you had been part of something wonderful.

Wil Yr9

19th November 2021 at 7:26 pm

I thought Deeplight was amazing!!! It painted a very good picture in my mind. But it did waffle a bit.
I give it a 4/5

Megan, Y9

19th November 2021 at 11:29 am

This book is full of stories! It is set in a group of islands and is about recovering treasure (known as godware) from the deep sea. Hark is a petty thief who feels great allegiance to his island and people. Deeplight is a tale of how he has to save it. I particularly like Quest’s character because he feels most like the hero even though he isn’t the protagonist. This book made me cry for all the right reasons and I loved trying to guess the outcome of the storyline… and failing. This unpredictable book took me to the bottom of the ocean and I went willingly. However, if I could improve this book in one way then I would make Hark’s character less naïve and trusting. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys adventure stories and the sea.

Oliver, year 8

18th November 2021 at 4:36 pm

The book I have been reading is called ‘Deeplight’ and in my opinion I didn’t think this book was good.

The reason I didn’t really like it was because it was a bit slow sometimes and complicated. A part I did like was the characters and there was a lot of tension that did make it gripping at some points in the book. But in conclusion I didn’t like this book and it isn’t the genre of book I would always read but there are still some good parts, but I was just not really feeling the book.

Wilf, year 8

18th November 2021 at 4:35 pm

SPOLIER ALERT – Don’t read on unless you don’t mind knowing one of the plot twists!

What is so amazing about this book is that it is a creative underwater fantasy. My favourite part about this book was when Selphin destroyed the god’s heart and I liked how it showed the pictures of each creature at the end of the book. My only complaint about this book is that it is very wordy and long. Overall I would recommend this book to people my age because of the fantasy it was filled with.

Chris, Year 8

18th November 2021 at 4:35 pm

This was a fantasy horror book, about how Hark and his best friend Jelt dived for the relics of the gods in the ocean as 14-year-old scavengers. The main part I liked reading was the destruction – that really stood out.

Henry – year 8

10th November 2021 at 7:55 pm

‘Deeplight’ was a good book to read, the setting was really interesting, I loved the lore of the book and the peoples’ history. One of the things I didn’t like very much at the start was that they would harvest up their gods but I soon got over that. Overall I think Deeplight was good.

Tom, year 9

10th November 2021 at 7:53 pm


Great book, very imaginative. I loved it when Jelt merged with the god construct!

Elsa, year 9

10th November 2021 at 7:40 pm

‘Deeplight’ is a fantasy book about gods and bonds and trusts between people and also friendship. ‘Deeplight’ shows how bonds can be broken by mistrust and change and it shows how an individual can change throughout a relationship with a friend or a relative.

I found it very exciting, and I quite liked the use of metaphors and how they were related to the sea to show how he grew up near the sea and to show where his vocabulary comes from. I also liked how the author made up words like ‘seakissed’ and created her own island with their own gods and religion. At some parts of the book I found that the story was a little too much to take in and I wanted to put it down, but the story was so gripping that I just HAD to continue. I also found it helpful that the writer added in a character from when there were gods to help create an idea of the impact the gods had and to also add more understanding for the reader.

I found the beginning rather slow, and it was rather boring but after you get through the first few chapters the pace starts to pick up. I also found it hard to picture some of the gods and characters e.g. Jelt when he starts turning into a god but at the back of the book there were some helpful pictures of what the gods looked like.

I think that I’d recommend this book for people from the age of 11/12-15/16 depending on the person. I would recommend this book for people who like fantasies but also for people who like it when it really puts you in the characters’ shoes and adventure.


Neve, year 9

10th November 2021 at 7:16 pm

I enjoyed this book! It had great description and the fantasy world that has been created makes it feel real. The author builds the tension throughout the chase. The ending is very good and makes you remember the book.

Lara, year 9

10th November 2021 at 7:16 pm

‘Deeplight’ was a difficult but amazing book to read. It was definitely a hard read but it was definitely worth it. I really liked the character Jelt, and I loved seeing him face different challenges throughout the book.

I think that the mythical creatures and the Gods and Goddesses were amazingly described and definitely added to the mystery and fantasy of the book. I enjoyed this book because I am quite interested in sea life and the beauty and mystery of it all.

I really liked the idea of a fantasy book as I would not usually read something in this genre, but I have become quite fond of it as I think that it is like an escape from the real world.

I would definitely recommend this book to people around 13 and onwards and younger if they are an avid reader.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I thought that although it was a difficult read it was still very enjoyable.

Emily, Year 9

10th November 2021 at 5:05 pm

‘Deeplight’ is the fourth book on the list I read. Let’s just say it is one of my favourites so far! I love it, definitely for those people who enjoy fantasy books, very interesting. However, it was quite an effort to get into but after a certain point in the book I was hooked and I got lost in the pages.

Ilaria Year 9

9th November 2021 at 5:06 pm

I really enjoyed this book. I liked the characters and thought it had a unique plot. I felt connected to the characters and could really picture the scenarios due to the descriptive writing. I liked how it wasn’t predictable and had twists throughout it. It was really well written although when I started, it was hard to read. I would recommend this to anyone because I was really entertained by this book.

Felix, year 8

4th November 2021 at 5:59 pm

The book was very interesting with a plot twist when we find out that Jelt has turned into a monster and a great build up to the final battle in the undersea where Hark and his allies fight Jelt who had become a god. We saw Hark develop from a street urchin with low self-esteem and lots of cunning who relied on Jelt for almost everything, to a self-confident, trustworthy person that survived the undersea. We saw Jelt turn from a cunning and manipulating “older brother” to Hark, to a deformed human/monster that turned into a god. My favourite part in the book is when Hark takes the god glass submarine to the undersea to fight Jelt.

Lyra Year 9

4th November 2021 at 8:28 am

I really enjoyed this book as it was very good at instantly transporting you to another world. The way that the writer created the fully functional society of the myriad and lady’s crave also helped to understand the characters and plot of the book.
I thought the characterisation in the story was really good and I really enjoyed exploring Hark and Jelt’s relationship and how the characters grew and changed over time.
One thing I didn’t enjoy as much was that there wasn’t as much stretching or really interesting language in the book and I felt it was a little basic but that may also be because some books I read have ridiculously over complicated storyline.
In all I enjoyed the book and really like the author, especially there other book the Lie Tree.

Henry, Year 9

2nd November 2021 at 2:16 pm

This book gripped me from the moment I opened it up, I especially liked how it used lies and deceit to fool the reader into believing things that weren’t true and how it focussed on how someone can change with the example of Jelt. The way the author wrote the character of Hark was fascinating. She made him a street urchin that was self-reliant and trusting at the same time, which I found gripping as you never knew if he would go to someone for help or take it on himself. The way he interacted with Jelt made me think of stepbrothers, Jelt is older, Hark is younger, they love each other, however Jelt holds the power purely on the base that he is stronger. Jelt also manipulates Hark to get him to do stuff that Jelt wouldn’t be able to do alone, or he just isn’t skilled enough. The way the author used the heart was amazing, she made it seem like an amazing object of healing but eventually it became a weapon and object of power and the way it changed Jelt was shocking. She truly made us feel for Hark about his friend and shocked that Jelt in the space of 50 pages could go from a “businessman” trying to pay off dept to an evil monster desperate to kill everything that stood in his way. In conclusion this was a gripping book that had me from the beginning.

Sebastian, Year 8

14th October 2021 at 5:39 pm

Spoiler Alert: Don’t read on if you’d rather not know a key revelation.

The book ‘Deeplight’ was very interesting and the plot threw me off for a while but overall it was very good. The only thing I found difficult was the fact that the plot moved around a lot as the story progressed. My favourite bit was when Jelt turned into a giant god and it was sad when they had to kill him but overall the book was very good.

Emily, Year 9

7th October 2021 at 5:38 pm

This was an amazing read, and although it was quite an effort to get through, it was well worth it as the plotline was far more unique than all the others in the SSBA selection. It is about a small, imaginative boy called Hark. But, after a major discovery, he needs to rethink whose side he is loyal to, and help his friend Jelt with quite a mysterious problem, before it’s too late…

Emma, Year 9

30th September 2021 at 3:04 pm


I don’t normally read fantasy books because I’m not normally into them and I don’t normally find them interesting, but this book was the complete opposite! I might even read another fantasy book because I loved this one so much. I would recommend this book to people who love fantasy books or who want to try something different.

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