Do I think they found mermaids? Yes. Of course I do. And I think the mermaids ate them all.
Publication date: November 14, 2017
Genre: Adult, Horror, Sci-fi
Synopsis: 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.
Content Warnings: Animal death, graphic depictions of death and injury
I read this way back in the beginning of May (believe it or not, for autism awareness month, which was in April—I’m a mess), and I’m only posting my review now because trying to describe the uniqueness of the writing in this book was so hard. I’m not even sure if I’m making sense even now. But I really liked this book, and I’m so excited to share my thoughts with you!
Having read this and the Wayward Children series by the same author, I can confidently say that Seanan McGuire, also known as Mira Grant (her pen name), writes like no other. You know how in most third person points of views, technically, there is “someone” narrating the story, but that “someone” isn’t really a character–just some narrative voice that you don’t really give much thought to? Well, in Seanan McGuire’s books, it’s almost as if the narrative voice is a character of its own.
It narrates to us the lives of each of the scientists on board the Melusine, along with what is going on beneath the ship as the sirens plan their attack. Its insights about environment, our loss of empathy for the plant and animal wildlife around us, are incredibly chilling.
It’s like the narrative voice is the character we’re closest to in the story, because we only get to know the actual characters when the narrator tells us facts about them, and a big part of this book is reading about the narrator’s opinions on the book’s events. Some may say that this is telling and not showing, and that may be true, but for me, it just added to the uniqueness of the writing.
Basically, the third person omniscient POV in Into the Drowning Deep is akin to a shrewd and all-knowing presence who’s watching the whole story unfold while providing commentary and exposition so that we may understand the story as well.
The trouble with discovery is that it goes two ways. For you to find something, that thing must also find you.
I know I said that the characters are introduced in a tell and not show manner, with the narrator simply giving their scientific credentials and some of the more memorable parts of their personality, but they were incredible characters nonetheless. I loved the casual diversity that the author seamlessly wove into her characters.
▪ Victoria “Tory” Stewart– Our main character, whose sister, Anne, died in the Atargatis. She is determined to find out more about the circumstances of her sister’s death, because she knows that there’s more to it than meets the eye. She’s also explicitly bisexual, and has dating history with guys, girls and even a nonbinary person.
▪️Olivia Sanderson– The reporter on board the Melusine in charge of interviewing the residents and chronicling the goings-on inside the ship. She’s very good at her job, an autistic lesbian, and I loved her relationship with Tory so much. They both know what they want from their romance, and they deeply care for each other, but their first priority will always be the mermaids trying to eat them.
▪ Dr. Jillian Toth– The world’s leading expert in sirens, a sirenologist. Most people believe her work to be a joke but they are in for a surprise. I also would be perfectly fine with it if she stepped on me.
▪ Hallie, Heather and Holly Wilson– Heather and Holly are deaf twins with Hallie working as their interpreter. I really liked how Heather and Holly’s deafness is never used to diminish them, and the book always make sure to state that their lack of hearing has never been a hindrance. I also loved that Hallie constantly reiterates that she will never feel bad for being her sisters’ full-time interpreter.
I had a hard time getting into Into the Drowning Deep at first. From the start, information is just thrown at you, and you’re expected to keep up. There is so much technological and scientific jargon present within the pages, and I didn’t understand most of it.
Though I didn’t understand half the science in this book, I did love learning more about the anatomy of the mermaids. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book featuring mermaids that really delved deep and tried to define their anatomy and psychology before. The surgery scene was my favorite!
When I got used to the writing, and the plot started to move forward, I had such a grand time. Mermaids are attacking a ship and eating people–how could you not have fun? No, I’m serious, I’m the type of reader who delights in reading about violence for some reason. (I promise I’m not a serial killer.) And Into the Drowning Deep is filled with descriptions of people getting eaten. It was so brutal and I loved it. But I do understand if reading about a lot of gore is not in your best interests.
I’ve seen a good number of people complain about the ending. Many found that it was anticlimactic, and though I wasn’t mad about the ending, I do agree with them. I think the author may have done that so that she could have a chance at writing a sequel though. And I, personally, would love a sequel!
Bottom line, if you’re tired of stories that romanticize mermaids and portray them as ladies who fall in love with the first man they comes across, this is definitely the book for you. The writing and story concept is unlike anything I’ve ever read before.