Book Review: Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Welcome to my spoiler-free review of Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant, a tense killer mermaid story with lots of science and a hint of romance!

into the drowning deep

☆.5

➸ horror

➸ published in 2017

➸ content warnings: blood, gore, violence, death, animal death, medical content, ableism discussed, biphobia discussed, medical content


Ratings:

ATMOSPHERE: 5

WRITING STYLE: 5

PACING: 4

CHARACTERS: 4

PLOT: 4

ENJOYABILITY: 5

INSIGHTFULNESS: 5


Synopsis

Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. But the secrets of the deep come with a price.


I had know idea what to expect going into this but I loved the direction it took! This was a solid horror book that genuinely scared me in some places and made me never want to go in the ocean again, but it was much more than that too. There were strong environmental and conservationist themes, as well as an introspective look at the human race and their position in the world. Science was a very big part of the book, and there was a range of different areas of science – of course marine biology, but also chemistry, engineering, sonar and more. For someone who hated science at school and doesn’t understand it at all, I loved the strong science presence. By rooting the mermaids in science, they became more real and believable, and therefore more scary! It was also fun to see each character’s unique specialty and how they worked together.

I loved how there was such a range of characters, in their identities and in their outlooks. There is bisexual, autistic, chronic pain and deaf representation and there is discussion about all of them. It was really interesting to see ASL in the story as well and how it connected to the mermaids! There’s also a great blossoming f/f romance, that doesn’t feel forced or out of place in the story, in fact it compliments the story really well.

We have a number of main characters: Tory, who lost her sister to the first expedition (and her research partner Luis); Olivia, an Imagine presenter; Jillian, the world expert in mermaids who takes no shit; Theo, technically still Jillian’s husband in their broken marriage, and corporate machine; Holly and Heather, deaf twins with different interests; and Hallie, their cousin and translator. Asides from those, we also have a number of different characters with vastly different perspectives – an animal hunter couple, an engineering team and we even get the POV of dolphins at one point! They were not all likeable, but they were certainly interesting. With all these characters, it could get complicated, but it was easy to follow and they were all well-developed.

As for the pacing, it was slow, especially at first, but in that time you become attached to the characters which makes the rest of the book very tense. There’s a sense of dread throughout the book and some truly horrifying scenes where I was so scared for the characters. The ending did feel slightly rushed, and if you are a fan of neatly wrapped up endings you would definitely not like it, but I was still satisfied by it. Either way, I can tell I’m going to be thinking about this book for a long time.


Thanks for reading my review! If you’ve read Into the Drowning Deep, what did you think about it? Have you read any of Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire’s other books?

—ella♥

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