Blurb from Goodreads:
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’m a big fan of this author whether she’s writing under the name Mira Grant or Seanan McGuire. About two weeks before this book came up as available for review I read two of her YA fantasies, Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones, back to back. And loved every word. So when I saw that she had a new release coming up I jumped at the chance to read it early.
Honestly? I didn’t fall into this book easily. It took me until about the 30% mark to become engaged enough to steadily keep reading. The beginning is all set-up, jumping between time periods and introducing all the characters who will play significant roles. There’s Tory, whose sister perished in the first disaster, and her lab partner Luis, who funds their research by using his über rich family’s money. Dr. Toth whose life’s work is the study of mermaids, and her estranged husband Mr. Blackwell who after a life changing injury went to work for Imagine entertainment. And so many more. They are all, for different reasons, desperate to get back out to the Mariana Trench. So when Imagine decides to send out another vessel filled with scientists in order to finally answer the questions about the existence of mermaids and what happened to the Atargatis, they sign on willingly.
This book freaked me out. For real. Ms. Grant’s writing is so scientific and matter of fact. At times I almost felt like I was reading a book on marine biology or oceanography. The endless ocean and it’s inhabitants are still a huge mystery to the scientific community and she uses that to full effect. From reading the blurb you would assume that this book is about bloodthirsty mermaids who live in the ocean depths, and you’d be partly right. What you don’t get from the blurb is that Into the Drowning Deep is also about man’s quest to discover and dominate every place on earth, even if they are encroaching on another’s territory. It made me think about the environment and the treatment of animals. About what humans do in the name of science and advancing knowledge and technology. The good, the bad and the ugly.
All of that was interesting… then the mermaids showed up and I realized something. Being drug down into the depths of the ocean with no air or light is probably my greatest fear. The first death came rather quickly and the vivid descriptions of this character’s last moments gave me nightmares that night. I wanted to pick up right where I left off to find out what happened next, but I also didn’t because holy crap merpeople were scaling the sides of what amounted to a cruise ship and all the people on board had nowhere to go because THEY WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN. Eek!
In the end I did pick it back up and finish. I mean how could I not? Into the Drowning Deep is smartly written, with wonderful character development and mythological creatures that chilled me down to my bones. At times I wanted to skip over all the scientific jargon and explanations and just find out who was going to live and who was going to get chewed on next, but when I finished I realized that the contrast between sober science and bloodthirsty creatures is what made this book even scarier. I probably won’t ever do a reread of Into the Drowning Deep, but I’ll always remember it. Final Grade-C+/B-
Humanity was cruel, and if you were prepared to try and find a bottom to that cruelty, you had best be prepared for a long, long fall.