Summer Book Club Review: Song of the Deep

Welcome to VGBlogger’s Summer Book Club! All summer long, we will be providing weekly book reviews across a wide range of geek favorite categories, including art, comics/graphic novels, fantasy, gaming, and sci-fi, and welcoming you to join in on book discussions in the comments. So whether you’re heading out for a road trip, going on vacation, lounging beach/poolside on a nice sunny day, relaxing inside away from the summer heat, or simply searching for a good read to fill your free time, follow our Summer Book Club for our top picks of what you should be reading during these hot summertime doldrums. Please enjoy!


Alongside the metroidvania video game of the same name, Brian Hastings, the chief creative officer at Insomniac Games, has written a companion novel to Song of the Deep, published by Sterling Children’s Books.

Song of the Deep, like the game it’s based on, sets out to capture the imaginations of young readers with its story of Merryn, a young 12-year-old girl who lives a humble life on a seaside cliff with her fisherman father, until one evening, while holding up a signal candle as she does every night, her dear old dad fails to return home. On that fateful night, right there on the cliff overlooking the ocean, she sleeps and dreams a vision of her father being lost at sea. Being the brave, inventive, and precocious daughter that she is, Merryn embarks on a grand underwater adventure to rescue her dad, scratch-crafting her own personal submarine from various scraps and treasures her father brought home to her from his daily fishing trips.

Inspired by Hastings’ own daughter, the father-daughter relationship between Merryn and her daddy is the heart of this wholesome and genuine story. Unfolding over 170 pages, the book follows the same general plot trajectory as the game, though there are notable differences as the storytelling needed to be adapted to fill out the narrative in place of the “gamey” elements of the interactive version which simply wouldn’t have translated very well to text. Merryn’s encounters with the Watcher, Rimorosa, and the Fomori sentinels remain, but these moments are there to build tension rather than action set pieces or boss battles as they occur in the game.

Instead the book concentrates on further developing Merryn’s personality as well as her relationships with the other characters, like the baby leviathan Swish, the clockwork seahorse, and the merrow maiden, beyond what’s portrayed during the game’s cutscenes and narration. The book even goes a bit into Merryn’s past as it relates to her mother, including a revelation that brings everything full circle in a neat way.

Adding a touch of the storybook charm offered by the game’s cutscenes, each chapter is complemented by a black-and-white illustration that sets the scene, helping readers to visualize the game world and its inhabitants as Merryn navigates memorable locales such as the Glowkelp Forest, Skeleton Reef, Seagarden, Deeplight, and Forbidden City. Handwritten lullabies and notes add a little extra stylized flourish that reinforces the idea of Merryn’s bedtime stories and songs becoming a reality.

Song of the Deep is a delightful deep sea adventure that gives younger readers a likeable heroine to relate and look up to, for her courage, ingenuity, kindness, and love of life and family, not just her pretty looks or ability to kick butt. Even though it’s written at an elementary school reading level, fans of the game, both young and old, should also find it to be a fun, quick read that brings deeper backstory and richer characterization to Merryn’s tale.

To those looking to soak up even more of the Song of the Deep universe, check out our previous reviews for the game itself as well as the collector’s edition jigsaw puzzle.

Buy From: The Song of the Deep book is available at and GameStop for MSRP $12.99.

Disclosure: A review copy of Song of the Deep was provided to by GameStop.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!