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 . . .


Anna, year 9

2nd February 2022 at 4:24 pm

I really enjoyed ‘Deeplight’ as it was mysterious and very different from the other books. I found the storyline very good because there were cliff-hangers which kept me reading. I thought Hark was a good main character as he always wanted to find out more. I would recommend ‘Deeplight’ to anyone who wants a gripping read.

Neil, year 9

2nd February 2022 at 4:22 pm

I quite liked Deeplight. It had a thick and intertwining plot, with interesting characters. It is set in a fictional, fantasy world by the ocean. 30 years before the book is set, the gods of the islands, for some unknown reason, tore each other apart. The infighting resulted in lots of upheaval including terrible storms in which many islanders were killed, and their homes and boats were destroyed. Now, the islanders are looking for bits of the dead gods in the depths of the oceans to sell as relics. I enjoyed this book for its interesting and unusual plot.

Sophia Year 8

1st February 2022 at 9:10 am

I found Deeplight a very descriptive writing type of book which was very engaging towards the end of the novel. Though I did find that most of the story was very slow paced for me and the characters didn’t create a very good atmosphere for the story. I found it quite hard to follow what was happening so this wasn’t the best read for me. I found Deeplight a very challenging read for me that took a long time to read and wasn’t particularly enjoyable like others. Though people that might really enjoy this book! I wouldn’t read this book again but this is only a personal view…

Erin, year 8

1st February 2022 at 9:10 am

I didn’t really like the book Deeplight very much, I thought that it was very tricky to understand, this book has a very slow pace but after a while it all started to come together which was good. I liked how the characters’ relationships and views of each other changed as the story grew, though. I would recommend this book but I found it frustrating at times because I would get confused very often, I would say that this book would be more suitable for teens because it gets very advanced and confusing at times but I thought that the plot was interesting.

Kitty year 8

1st February 2022 at 9:06 am

I knew that Deeplight was a fantasy book, so I read it last because I prefer books that are more to do with the real world. However, I found the language used was very descriptive and gave great detail to the settings and the characters. But, I found it took a long time to read and was very slow paced because I kept getting confused in what was happening which was a shame. I recommend this to people who would like more of a challenging book to read, maybe for older readers as it is very complex.


26th January 2022 at 10:55 am

Two young boys Hark and Jelt are best friends and after a year of being separated they meet up again. Something happens to Jelt though which makes him a threat. The hidden ladies heart has also been stolen.

I enjoyed this book as it had a good beginning and end. It also had nice pace although was a little slow for my liking. There could have been more description of the settings/characters. I would recommend for 13-16 and would reread.

Ayoub, Yr 8

21st January 2022 at 2:20 pm

I really liked ‘Deeplight’ but I thought its pace was a bit slow. I liked how all my questions were answered and I liked how there were a lot of plot twists.

My favourite plot twist was when we learned the God heart didn’t actually heal you but instead made you into an image of a God. My favourite God is the Sallower because I like how it represented greed and showed how greed makes you ignorant as it was defeated by the Gathergeist (who used its brain). My favourite character was Selphin because her backstory was very traumatic and I felt sorry for her. When we first met her at the auction, I didn’t know she would play a major part in the story and thought she was just a side character, but later I learned how sneaky and risky she was (especially when she jumped off a cliff even though she was afraid of the sea). I think Hark was wrong to not destroy the God heart when he learned it was evil but I understand that he wanted to save Jelt.

My least favourite character was Jelt because he always pushed Hark to do things even when he didn’t want to and turned evil and tried to kill him. My least favourite part of the book was when Jelt and Hark got into a big fight as I knew Jelt was stronger and could badly injure Hark. My favourite part was when I thought Hark was going to die but Dr Vyne saved him by killing his attacker. My favourite Priest was Pale Soul but I don’t think he should’ve been tricked by Hark into giving up the location of the scrolls. I like how Dr Vyne could manipulate god glass through sounds and genuinely cared for Hark and didn’t think of him as just an indenture.

Overall, my favourite book so far and I definitely liked it more than Tsunami girl. I think all the questions. I think that the book got boring at times but quicky picked up again and left me on a cliff hanger. 8-9/10 would recommend to anyone interested in mythology and mystery.

Imogen Y8

21st January 2022 at 2:15 pm

Hark and his best friend Jelt scavenge for the remains of the gods. This book takes you with Hark on a treasure hunt and with each page it pulled me in even more. The author manages to take you into the fantastical and magical world she has managed to create. I would read this book again and again it was that good. An amazing read for a rainy day.

Kip, Y8

21st January 2022 at 2:14 pm

I didn’t like the book Deeplight at all, I thought that it was very tricky to understand and was very hard to get into, this book has a very slow pace but after a while it all started to come together which I thought was good. I like the how the two main characters Hark and Jelt’s relationship changes as the story unfolds.

The story line is very interesting because it is about two people who venture down to the unknown bottom of the ocean and discover new species and how dangerous they are.

I would recommend this book but I found it frustrating at times because I would get confused very often, I would say that this book would be more suitable for teens because it gets very advanced and confusing at times but I thought that the plot was interesting.

Georgia Y9

21st January 2022 at 2:06 pm

‘Deeplight’ was a very good book. The tone and flow stopped the magical Undersea from feeling far-fetched, and the plot was well thought-out; at every turn I was presented with something new. I liked the character of Harp, an honest boy who was sucked into a somewhat abusive relationship and tries to escape. I liked how Jelt kept coming back to get him! I would definitely recommend this book.

Eva, Y8

21st January 2022 at 2:04 pm

Personally, ‘Deeplight’ wasn’t my favourite book as fantasy isn’t really the type of genre I like to read. I found it quite slow-paced and struggled a bit to read it with all the description and the style of writing. However, if the book had been written slightly differently I think I would really have enjoyed it as I think the story and plot is very interesting. I think the idea of all the gods and godware and the healing-heart are really good the book just personally wasn’t for me. I liked the main character Hark, but never really liked Jelt from the start and wasn’t really surprised about how he turned out. Overall, the book wasn’t really for me but I liked the idea of the story.

Ameer, Yr 9

12th January 2022 at 4:52 pm

It took a while for me to start to enjoy reading ‘Deeplight’. Personally, I didn’t enjoy the book as it was very calm most of the time. However, I was amazed by the amount of adventure that the book included. My favourite part of the book was when the two scavengers adventured in the deep sea as the description was well written. I would personally recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy/adventure.

Tarquin, Year 8

12th January 2022 at 4:52 pm

In my opinion I don’t really like ‘Deeplight’ because first of all at the start the story is quite complicated and hard to get a real grip on to because it’s all about the gods who all were killed around 30 years ago by a wild storm and all of their treasure buried beneath the waves. Hark and Jelt who really need these treasures to survive and get off the streets but then Jelt gets caught in the sea and Hark must save him. To me I find the idea of the gods and their lost relics hard to get a grip on and also at the start there was a map, but we did not get to see much of the islands on it so overall I think this book is quite good if you are willing to work for it.

Natalie yr8

12th January 2022 at 4:51 pm

‘Deeplight’ is a long adventurous book set in a dystopian universe with gods roaming the land. The story follows Hark and how he gets into mischief and how his relationship with his friend Jelt changes. Hark also falls under the “wing” of other characters like Dr Vyne and Quest an oldish Priest

Theo, Year 9

9th January 2022 at 1:42 pm

This book was very intriguing all through. I found it slow paced but it made up for that by the superb detail and description. Hark and Jelt’s relationship was hooking to how they varied with the story. The change in feelings between the two was a very powerful way to show how different their lives were. The author loved to use a range of different characters to keep you interested with the novel.

It is a good book about the unreliability of the past and how little we, as a species, know about the depths below. It questions the strength of relationships and what would you do for your friend. How important are they?

Recommended book 8/10

Oscar, Year 9

9th January 2022 at 1:41 pm

I really enjoyed ‘Deeplight’, I liked exploring the history of the Myriad and the mysteries that the undersea contains. I liked to see how Hark developed as a character and how he slowly began to become less dependent on Jelt. I liked the plot of the book as I thought that it didn’t reveal anything prematurely so that the reader was kept on edge. Seeing Hark grow more close to both Selphin and Quest as he slowly learnt the truth about people who he thought he trusted.

Hark also developed to have his own opinion. Initially he lived in a fearful awe of the former Gods as the cataclysm had only just come to pass. Eventually he realised that the Gods were far worse than was previously believed and it was down to the priests to keep everyone safe. He then learnt that Quest was responsible for the cataclysm and after initial outrage he learns after the battle with the new God that it was for the best if the people of the Myriad move forward.

We also see Selphin’s perspective for a while and how she was treated as a sea kissed to when she had a fear of the ocean and it is also interesting to see how her and Hark became more trusting of each other.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes mystery and intrigue.

Rory, year 9

9th January 2022 at 1:41 pm

I enjoyed this book and out of 10 I would give it maybe a 7.5 at the highest because it wasn’t really a book for me, but I did like to explore the history of it all and the Myriad and the mysteries that the underseas would present to me as a reader. I also like how it showed into the past with how people used to worship the sea gods who were very vicious until they tore themselves apart. So I would say I enjoyed it but I prefer more realistic types of books, but still enjoyed reading it and at many times of reading it not wanting to put my book down.

Andrew, year 9

9th January 2022 at 1:41 pm

I think ‘Deeplight’ was a very good book and had an interesting story. This book had a lot of fantasy aspects of it and some magical. The storyline was solid, the characters were lovely and was put together very well. This book has quite a heavy storyline about abuse, loyalty and free choice. The main characters are teens and I’m not sure if this was intended but like in “Lock the doors” it shows that there is always something that is behind different ‘problems’.

Overall I think it is a book that is about dealing with brooding and/or dealing with certain feelings of trauma.

Toby, Year 8

9th January 2022 at 1:40 pm

I really enjoyed this book. It was gripping, and there was a fantastic storyline behind it. I found the dynamic between Hark and Jelt to be great and it had a lot of depth, and Jelt’s transformation was a great plot twist. I also believe the setting for the book itself to be brilliant, and the idea of a group of islands coming into a new era after being ruled by evil gods was very different and a great change to the type of books I usually read (most of which are set in a dystopian wasteland). Overall, I think this was a really good book.

India, year 8

3rd January 2022 at 4:37 pm

When scavenger Hark got caught smashing a lamp with a stone his life is changed for ever. Hark and his friend Jelt are scavengers but there is something stranger under the surface of the water calling for someone to retrieve it. Could this strange item link to the gods who all died 30 years ago?

I think that this gripping fantasy book was a great read for people from the age of 10 to the age of 15. I really enjoyed this book because it is really cool and interesting and surprising the way that things evolve..

I would rate this book 8/10 as in the beginning it is a bit complicated but this is still an amazing read.

Felicity, Year 8

18th December 2021 at 12:21 pm

‘Deeplight’ kind of bored me. I liked the fact that the book invented a whole new world with a map at the start. I liked that Jelt wasn’t the stereotypical best friend character, the way their relationship is shown is very different to most books. 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 overall I wouldn’t read this again.

Emilia year 9

7th December 2021 at 8:58 pm

I would give this book 3/5 stars as I was a bit confused, and was a bit lost sometimes. Lots of the characters change from being good to bad. It’s based on friendships and gods. It was still really fun to read but just hard to keep up with.

Leila, year 9

7th December 2021 at 5:35 pm

‘Deeplight’ is a fascinating book. I really enjoyed the description of the other world. Due to the great description, I was able to create a vivid image of the world, being able to connect with the characters making me gripped to the story. I like the whole feel to the book with the ancient Gods and their relics, it was an interesting read. I also love the ominous feel to the waters, it brings the book together.


7th December 2021 at 12:45 pm

Deeplight hooks you in at the beginning with the new creatures and people, making you want to read on and find out more. I’m not usually into fantasy books but this one really griped me. I’ve only read the beginning part but I can’t wait to read more!

Felix, Y8

2nd December 2021 at 2:50 pm

I found ‘Deeplight’ to be a very complex plot. The antagonist changes constantly throughout the book, with so many characters changing between good and bad, some examples being Dr Vyne, Quest, Rigg’s crew and especially Jelt. I also noticed that there was lots of potential for a sequel. At the front of the book there is a map of the Myriad, and by the end I noticed that Hark had only encountered 2 of the many islands.

Poppy, year 9

2nd December 2021 at 2:45 pm

I really liked this book. It is a mix of horror and fantasy. ‘Deeplight’ is a book based on gods, friendships and the mystical adventure to find treasure known as god ware on a group of islands. This book was gripping however it was quite long, so it took me a while to continue with because it was a bit boring at times. However, I loved the friendship between Hark and Jelt, and how they were always there for each other. I enjoyed the development of the protagonist Hark because at the start he was not a very good character but at the end he learnt the value of honesty, loyalty and confidence. I recommend this book for young adult readers. 7/10.

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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