Review: Into the Drowning Deep
INTO THE DROWNING DEEP (Amazon) is the kind of book I would normally recommend as a beach read. First, I guess I should clarify that by beach read, I don’t mean trash. A good beach read is straightforward enough that you can pick it up and put it down whenever you need to take a dip in the water or reapply that sunscreen. Ideally, beach reads also have enough forward motion that I can while away the hours with ease. INTO THE DROWNING DEEP meets those criteria–it’s engaging and fun with a good dose of horror and an embrace of the absurd.
It’s also about killer mermaids.
If you’re picturing ‘killer mermaids’ as Ariel with a knife, think again. These are creepy, bite-your-face-off, apex predator mermaids. INTO THE DROWNING DEEP is best read with both feet on solid ground, especially if you happen to scream every time seaweed brushes your legs.
I was tempted to stop my review right here. If you’re interested in reading about mermaids chewing on humans and then dragging them into the abyss, then this book is for you! If you read the words ‘killer mermaids’ and then shrugged… well, I don’t think reading the rest of the review will convince you, but I’ll do my best.
INTO THE DROWNING DEEP follows Tory Stewart, a graduate student in marine biology. Tory is haunted by the death of her sister Anne, who was lost at sea seven years ago while on a research mission funded by the Imagine Entertainment company. Anne and the crew of the Atargatis were out filming a docu-tainment series (sorry for using that word) about mermaids when they just… disappeared.
The only clue loss of the Atargatis — previously dramatized in the novella ROLLING IN THE DEEP (Amazon) — is grainy footage which shows, somehow, impossibly, that they found the mermaids they were looking for. But not the mermaids they were expecting.
The footage was dismissed and disputed, but Tory feels (along with some other fringe-y scientists she hangs out with) that there must be more to the story. So when Imagine Entertainment comes rolling through town with an offer to go on a second expedition, this time with more technology and security to avoid another massacre, Tory signs up without hesitation.
While the plot centers on Tory, there are several other POV characters that flesh out the crew and bring their different perspectives and expertise to the puzzle of what exactly the Atargatis found and how the new expedition will survive. Grant’s characters are believably invested in the problems in front of them, which is important given the premise. We, the readers, are invested because they are.
I skimmed a little near the end, because at that point the dramatics were working a little less well for me. I think anytime a plot relies on building tension in chapter after chapter you get a little burnout, but overall the plot moves forward fairly quickly and initial build-up to the inevitable wasn’t tedious. Even though we meet a lot of characters quickly, Grant does a good job distinguishing them from one another and helping us feel fond enough for them that we mourn their inevitable demises.
There’s room for a sequel, although none has been announced yet. If you haven’t yet, I’d say check it out. Just preferably not while on a boat.
- Recommended Age: 13+
- Language: Some salty language
- Violence: Basically an examination of how many ways a mermaid can kill a human. So yes. Lots.
- Sex: Some, moderate detail