Into the Drowning Deep is everything I would have wanted in a mermaid/siren book. Not only is it detailed and dangerous, but it is well thought out and based in science. Fragmented pieces of different perspectives give us a strong sense of who these scientific adventurers are and I rushed to finish this absolutely gripping book.
I have to use the Goodreads summary so I don’t spoil you!
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.
Right off the bat, I knew I would love this book. Um, mermaids? sirens? The first thing I think of when I read that word in any context is the myth, not the actual alarm sound. So was this book a slam dunk for me? Absolutely.
Am I the type of person who is obsessed with mockumentaries about mermaids and will read anything if you throw those words in them? Yes. But what Grant does is elevate the entire book in a way I have never read about in a mermaid book. There are documents, transcripts, and quotes from the characters in the prologue and between each part that lends a ‘real’ feeling (not reel) to the entire story. It almost feels like you are reading a mockumentary style book, if you can believe it. I am also a HUGE sucker for books that have documents to help establish the world building.
One of the first things Grant excels at is presenting real science in a way that you can follow along – read the passages a few times and things are much clearer. I’ve categorized this as science fiction because everything has a very ‘based in science’ feel to it. There is a depth that illustrates the depth of Grant’s research and it shows.
Not only that, but the characters are so unique and detailed as well. Small pieces of each of their perspectives makes it easy to see behind their eyes. In a crew so driven by revenge, personal ghosts, or even ambition, seeing into their minds fleshes out these characters and brings them to life. There’s a wonderful level of diversity with characters who are lesbians, bisexuals, on the spectrum, and also a pair of twins who are Deaf.
But what really weaves this entire story together is Grant’s ability to create an atmosphere of subtle suspense all the way to full out horror. The book plows ahead and takes you on this eerie and terrifying ride of discovery. There’s a balance between curiosity and danger and intelligence and savagery with elements of both. Above all is a universal desire for survival in the face of necessity. The tension and fear is palatable and I’d read this during the daytime folks. All bets are off when we deal with the unknown and especially those who dwell in the depths of the ocean.
More than just a horror book, Grant also has sobering moments of poignant thoughts – how different could these creatures be? While I believe that the best horror is the ones which makes us question the horrors of humanity, Grant gives us both gore and intellect. Are we monsters ourselves? What are our monstrous actions? Do we define other creatures as less, especially when they challenge us, seek the limits of exploration, and present a threat?
Bottom line, am I even more convinced of the reality of mermaids? Heck yes. Reading this was like watching one of your favorite horror movies, where you cringe a little, are absolutely terrified, but cannot stop coming back for more.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
What other creatures do we need books about?
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