Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant. ★★★1/2
Are you interested in a f/f horror novel with killer mermaids? Then Into the Drowning Deep is the book for you!
The Atargatis set off into the Pacific to film a fake, entertainment purposes documentary about mermaids. Unfortunately, the ones they found were all to real. Everyone aboard the Atargatis was lost, including Tory’s older sister. Now, seven years later, Tory has the chance to join the follow-up mission and find out once and for all what happened to her sister. But even though this next voyage thinks its prepared, they are not ready for what’s to come.
Although Tory’s billed as the protagonist, there’s actually a very large cast, and the POV shifts around to focus on many different people. It kind of reminded me of Jurassic Park, maybe because the expedition was being funded by an entertainment company or maybe because its about scientists in the middle of thriller scenario. There’s a very cinematic feel to Into the Drowning Deep. I can easily picture all the events unfolding, and I’d love to see an actual film adaptation. One can dream…
Speaking of the large cast, there’s an admirable amount of diversity among the characters. Tory’s bisexual, and the word is actually used! Olivia, her love interest, is lesbian and autistic. Two of the scientists on board are deaf, the leader of the expedition has a chronic pain condition, and there’s multiple characters of color. And while this might be a horror novel, it’s not one that kills off absolutely everyone; I never felt hurt or angered by character deaths.
So what are Into the Drowning Deep‘s downsides? Well, it had a very slow start. It felt like forever for it to reach the “everything goes wrong stage,” although it did pay off at that point. Also, some of the conflict seemed to come from people being careless to the point of stupidity. Then again, what would you expect of an entertainment company running this sort of voyage? It did lend to some moments of humor (even if they foreshadowed disaster), like hiring security guards through central casting.
I also was never overawed by the characterization. Perhaps the vast number of characters led to no one being completely fully developed. Tory was the developed of all of them, although I still think the connection between her actions and motivations could be shaky. On the other hand, while I didn’t fall in love with any of the characters, they served well enough.
All in all, Into the Drowning Deep might not be a perfect book, but it is a fun one. I probably won’t ever reread it, but I wouldn’t have a problem with recommending it. In particular, if you have a hankering for killer mermaids, Into the Drowning Deep is sure to deliver.