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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Through the Abyss by Sidney Son is a speculative science fiction novel that starts with an oceanographer named Ariella Marconi who is summoned from a full league under the sea and is abruptly reassigned with little explanation. She leaves behind her research and a man she is in a complicated relationship with for Puerto Rico. At the same time, a former commando named Jonathan Hawthorn is situated in the Earth's underbelly. His role and all who work in the same underground network are connected by a single mission—and secret—that humans above ground are not privy to: keep the peace in space by working with aliens. Jonathan is at relative ease in his role in intelligence that has so far protected humanity from its biggest threat, until an underwater crystal is discovered and Ariella is brought into a fold she did not know existed, making it her job also to protect humanity from its most imminent threat to date.
Through the Abyss by Sidney Son works within the parameters of conventional science fiction but is able to strike a moderate pose by assembling newer themes. The finest component in Son's book is the entire underworld facility. Imagining a bustling, sprawling city deep underground with thousands of human and alien residents and workers at any one time, without those above ground knowing anything at all, was such fun to explore as a reader. Son also dispenses with the archaic notion that humans are awesome and aliens are about to get the smackdown. On the contrary, the government acknowledges that safety from aggression is a collaborative effort. Son does not even hint at human exceptionalism, which in the science fiction world is code for militant xenophobia. Son also avoids any and all sexism by disposing of the “need” to explain Ariella's rich sexuality. Ariella is smart and sexy and has sex, just like Jonathan, who is also smart and sexy and has sex. They are equals in every way. Through the Abyss follows a technical writing formula but is fast-paced and fun. I loved it.