Thanks to NetGalley and Orbit for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: Seven years ago, the Altargatis 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 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.
Mira Grant, who also writes urban fantasy under the name Seanan McGuire, is one of my favorite authors. I know I can always count on her for her lush and exquisitely detailed writing and imaginative storytelling. So when I saw this latest was going to be about mermaids, I immediately began drooling. How awesome would it be to find out that these legends of fairytales were true? Well, unfortunately, the mermaids in this scarefest are less like our favorite fishy Disney princess:
and more like this:
Yeah. Not something you’d EVER want to meet! Into the Drowning Deep is the literary equivalent of what I call a popcorn movie. It may not be perfect, but it’s so much fun, that you just don’t care.
The story begins seven years after the ill-fated voyage of the Atargatis set out for the Mariana Trench to film a mockumentary about these legendary sea creatures. The boat was eventually found, covered in blood, but with no crew. Also found was footage documenting what happened. The public has been led to believe the film is a hoax, but others know better. And now, The Imagine Network has decided it’s time to send out another ship filled with scientists to prove once and for all whether mermaids exist. I know what you’re thinking. “This is a seriously bad idea!” And you’re absolutely right!
There are quite literally a boatload of characters in this book, and the story is a little slow in the beginning, because there are several who tell this story from third person povs. There’s a lot of introductions and plot set-up. The main character is marine biologist Victoria Stewart, who has a deeply personal interest in this quest as her sister was among those who perished on the Atargatis. She’s made it her life’s mission to discover what happened and bring some sort of closure to her family. While she tends to be impulsive at times, I really liked her stubborn determination to get to the truth. She also shows a much more compassionate side than some of her fellow scientists who only care about their experiments and findings.
There is a lot of diversity among the crew. Victoria is bisexual and there’s a sweet little romance that develops between her and an autistic reporter. Two of the scientists are deaf twins and there’s an over-the-top husband and wife team of big game hunters who add an additional level of insanity to the mix.
The only other issue I had was with a technical problem with the ship. This was something that was put in place to safeguard everyone, yet wasn’t working when they embarked. While as a plot device it led to the reason why so many people get killed, I wound up obsessing over it because it didn’t make sense to me that after what happened to the first ship the company would be send out another where everything wasn’t working perfectly.
Once the ship arrives at the Mariana Trench, it doesn’t take long for the carnage to begin. Bloody and gory doesn’t begin to describe what goes on. I have a pretty strong stomach, but holy guacamole! There were scenes that had me squirming, gasping “Ewww!”, and wanting to cover my eyes!
One thing I’ve learned from reading Mira Grant’s previous books is that no one is safe. So of course one of my favorite characters is killed off in one of the scariest scenes I’ve read in quite awhile. Knowing the author’s predilection for killing off popular characters, this adds even more anxiety and unpredictability to an already frightening story.
Another thing I loved is that each chapter begins with quotes from the different characters, usually taken from interviews, books they’ve written or lectures they’ve given. They’re almost always these horrifying facts told in a droll manner.
Do I think they found mermaids?
Yes. Of course I do.
And I think the mermaids ate them all.
All righty then. I know this is dreadful, but there were several times I couldn’t stop laughing. The timing is always perfect and the dry humor gives the reader a break from all the mayhem.
Overall, Into the Drowning Deep is another brilliantly executed science-based horror story by Mira Grant. I even learned a few things about aquatic life and the environment that I didn’t know before. The ending isn’t a cliffhanger but it leaves some things open, so I’m thrilled that there’s going to be at least one more book. There’s also a short prequel to this called Rolling in the Deep which details what happened to the Atargatis and her crew. I’m going to be reading that ASAP! I HIGHLY recommend this to fans of horror who don’t mind loads of blood and gore and body parts being ripped off. I can’t wait for the next book!