Published by Orbit on November 14th, 2017
Genres: adult, glbtq, horror, paranormal, science fiction
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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.
Into the Drowning Deep made it onto my reading list because it just seemed like the perfect gritty mermaid story – one that so many of us have waited to hit the shelves. Sure, I love the beautiful myths and sugary scenes of lovely underwater scenery of flaxen haired women. I even love the darker imagery of smirking, half naked gals who flirt with pirates and bask in their own lovely forms. But mermaid lovers know that there is also another side to the story that is just waiting to come to light.
not this book
Mira Grant is here to drag that ugly, haunting tale into the center, delivering a haunting, well articulated mermaid tale that also serves up a wonderful punch of science and geek culture. Horror isn’t my usual stomping ground, but the story was compelling enough to keep me sated.
totally this book
The cast of characters is wide, and placing a bisexual female into the main role was refreshing, since bisexuals are currently pushing for validation in the literature world. (Ironically, there is a huge debate that happened while I was writing this about this very subject). Victoria, or Tory, the main character of this tale, starts a relationship with a woman while dealing with her ex-boyfriend during the storyline. Something that I enjoyed in the story is how Tory’s sexuality was never brought up, or directly labeled, but the audience was introduced to her ex, and then there was a slow burn with a girl. I’m not striking down labels, I often use them myself, but I like how it was a very natural thing, and it was a relief to see that it was just there in the book. There were a lot of different levels of relationships happening in the book (which will always gain favor from me personally) – there are friendships that are close, stories of sisters, the loss of close siblings, one-and-only love, and even a respect and fear for the creatures that are hunted in the novel. I like how the boundaries ableism and gender are questioned and addressed in the novel, and even our notion of “mermaid” is discussed in length in the book. It gave me a lot to think on, especially since this was a science-based novel, which usually leans towards white, non-disabled and often male voices.
literally giving the book a voice
The novel is lengthy, and there is a lot happening here. Besides knowing a whole slew and cast of different characters, the audience also gains a primer in mermaid lore while the novel also dabbles in science (take some notes with this one). It isn’t just the ocean that the novel needs to address – there is climate, ocean life, and how humans have mapped the deep ocean floor to gain a small glimpse into depths that we cannot yet see with visual confirmation. I love a novel that makes me feel that I am, at least, gaining a bit of real world knowledge. I also love how the author covered how mermaids have been in the world cultures across the world, and how mermaids and sirens have gone hand and hand, in different ancient histories. I appreciate when there is thought and care placed into a novel, and as the author delved into the near future, I felt that the scenario with the entertainment industry, Imagine, and the elaborate back story was so real that you could practically blink it into reality. The explanation for the deep sea mermaids, the reasons for the discovery, and the shady history of the people involved, and even the snippets of testimonial and “mermaid lectures” really pushed the boundaries of the story.
Now For What Bothered Me
Even though I really loved the novel, and the science the backed it, I found the writing to be somewhat clunky at times, and the plot dragged in certain spots just for the sake of the story. The “mystery” was a bit too drawn out, then quickly wrapped up and kicked out for the reader. It was a huge build up, and the reveal was wonderful, but it felt somewhat glossed over, like the author was just ready for the story to end, while we just spend chapters dragging along for no reason. Also, while I really loved the characters (Dr. Toth was one of my personal favorites), sometimes I felt that Tory was just a bit too much to handle. That is more than likely just a conflict of personalities. I would more than likely wouldn’t be friends with this person. While I hate to mark it against a book to have a character that isn’t likeable, there were other characters in the novel that I certainly disliked, but enjoyed their narrative (Dr. Toth, Jason, the hunters). And speaking of Jaq and Michi, sometimes their personalities were a bit cartoonish, while other characters had some depth (Jason). So I was a bit confused by that choice.
I was really happy I jumped on this book when I read the premise, and I really hope there are more in the series. The ending left it open for potential, and I can see quite a bit it for this series.