Library Journal Review
The raid that destroyed the community of Innsmouth in the late 1920s leaves Aphra Marsh and her brother Caleb the last of their people on dry land; the rest had died after being forced into desert internment camps during World War II. The Marshes are descendents of the Deep Ones, a branch of humanity who left land to dwell in the oceans. They had also worshipped the Elders, such as Cthulhu and Shub--Niggurath, and Aphra is trying to keep up her magical and spiritual studies despite having no ancestors to help her. In 1949, she leaves the home she has made in San -Francisco to go to Miskatonic University at the request of an FBI agent who believes the Russians have learned some of the secrets of her people and will use them in the looming Cold War. VERDICT While this debut is sure to be of interest to fans of H.P. -Lovecraft, even those unfamiliar with the mythos should enjoy the combination of Cold War paranoia and horror. The pacing is slow, but the characters are winning, especially Aphra as she battles alienation from her own culture.-MM © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Marbled with references to the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, this inventive dark fantasy crossbreeds the cosmic horrors of the Cthulhu mythos with the espionage escapades of a Cold War thriller. It's 1948, and Aphra and Caleb Marsh, descendents of the amphibious Innsmouth folk imprisoned in the aftermath of Lovecraft's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," are tapped by FBI agent Ron Spector to study Innsmouth artifacts now stored at the Miskatonic University library in Arkham, Mass. Spector hopes to determine whether prying Russian agents may have learned the secret of magically forcing their minds into the bodies of American politicians and scientists. Emrys elevates her story above traditional tales of Cold War paranoia by making Aphra's reacquaintance with Innsmouth culture her introduction to a personal heritage that she had been blocked from accessing. Emrys's characters are more openly comfortable with the supernatural than Lovecraft's horror-struck mortals, and her sensitive comparisons of Aphra's experience to those of other confined and displaced peoples make the novel historically relevant and resonant. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Booklist Review
The creatures, gods, and peoples of H. P. Lovecraft are alive and well in this new world created by Emrys. She builds a world where the people of Innsmouth were placed in internment camps for fear of their differences and for fear of their magic and their knowledge, their books were confiscated. After both world wars, the lone survivors of the camps are released. The primary action of the novel takes place during the Cold War. Russia has possibly taken some of the secrets about magic from the library of the people of Innsmouth. In order to discover the truth, the American government asks the two remaining people of Innsmouth, Aphra and Caleb Marsh, to help them. The Marshes are finally, through this episode, allowed to see the texts connected to magic and their history. Emrys uses the beautiful structures of Lovecraft to make a bold statement about difference and culture. Fans of Lovecraft will love the spin and faithfulness to the original text, but extensive knowledge of his oeuvre is not necessary.--Whitmore, Emily Copyright 2017 Booklist