Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this novel, but let's be real here: this isn't your average Cthulhu monster novel full of mystery and intrigue and reveals that turn your hair white in disbelief. There aren't even 1d6 investigators to throw into the open maw of a multitentacled AND multidimensional immortal beastie!
But there are multitentacled and multidimensional immortal beasties, ghouls, Deep Ones, halfbreeds and Creatures of Air. Not to mention strange boxes, a focus on books, legacy, and the ultimate fate of mankind. I mean, the whole thing that comes with a Cthulhu tale is the realization that we're insignificant specks of poop in a disturbed nightmare of a dead but sleeping god. Of *course* our fates are up in the air!
But that's where we take our tale out of the norm and place it firmly in the hands of a nuanced and careful character who has been locked away in a concentration camp thanks to her own country, who only wants to read and preserve her culture, who had suffered a massacre of almost all her people on her home soil in Innsmouth.
And she's a monster. An immature Deep One. Who likes books and just wants to be left alone. But thanks to the FBI and her folks under the sea and a nightmare of diplomacy with other Outsiders that reckon diplomatic negotiations in terms of 50 thousand years, she's thrown right into a tangled tentacular soup trying to protect the flies (that's us humans) with the super-technologically-advanced multidimensional space-traveling immortals that WE call Lovecraftian horrors.
The premise and deep exploration of characters and processes and reveals -- including dreamwalking, magics, and threats from well-meaning gods that think that consuming us is a proper way to preserve us forever --is a perfect delight.
It is NOT a humorous tale, however. So fans of Stross' Laundry Files should be forewarned. It is, however, philosophical, ethical, and it tries to answer all the questions about what constitutes MONSTERS. No one is at fault, but the power differentials are immense... and even the flies can sting.
I'm perfectly on board for reading this series until the end of time. :) It's deep, clever, and monstrous. :)
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