Title: Into the Drowning Deep
Series: Rolling in the Deep #1
Author(s): Mira Grant
Release Date: November 14th 2017
Genre(s): Horror, Science-Fiction, Fantasy
Reminiscent of Alien and Jurassic Park, Into the Drowning Deep is Mira Grant’s exploration of mermaids in their most natural and wicked form. Author of Feed and Parasite, she is also known for Rosemary and Rue and Every Heart a Doorway, under the name of Seanan McGuire. While I haven’t yet had the pleasure to read all her well-praised series, this new book part of the Rolling in the Deep series has definitely sealed the deal and proved Mira Grant’s ability to make horror stories as thrilling as they can ever be.
Be warned that most of this story takes place out in the middle of the ocean with no land to be seen. For someone like me who barely ever ventures those territories in real life and who can’t swim even if his life depended on it, this story does wonders in torturing my soul and scarring me from ever trying out deep sea exploration or even simple cruises out in the uncharted oceans.
The story takes place seven years after a tragedy struck the Atargatis that was sent on a voyage to film a mockumentary. With rare footage showing unbelievable images bringing to life an ancient sea creature that was believed to be only a myth, a second trip was finally organized in order to uncover the truth.
With a crew filled with scientists and players with different agendas, Mira Grant offers us an exhaustive look at the discovery of mermaids. Filled with enough science to make your brain hurt, the story infuses a nifty dose of action, suspense and horror to keep readers immersed in this adventure and craving for more.
There are a lot of characters in this voyage, but most of the time the author delivers their point of view in groups of two, making it a lot easier for readers to follow the different relationships and subplots. It would be a tad bit hard to point a finger at the protagonist for this story as the author does a nice job in balancing everyone’s perspective.
However, Victoria Stewart can still be seen as the main character who’s purpose to embark on this trip was a lot more personal than any of the other individuals since her sister was among the crew that was on the Atargatis. Her deep desire to uncover the truth regarding her sister’s death pushes her to put her own life at risk and embark on this quest, but her expertise as a marine biologist also plays a role in this hunt for answers.
Victoria Stewart isn’t however the only one with a scientific background. At least 90% of the people on that ship have a certain competence in the various fields within the world of science, whether it would be in underwater acoustics or micro-bacteria organisms. There’s a lot of big words thrown in there that help make sense of everything, especially to try and justify the possibility of mermaids.
See, this can be a bit annoying for readers who don’t want to be bombarded with science while reading. While I felt I was sometimes being drowned in that science, I also found it fun to read as it helped create realism to the whole story. Into the Drowning Deep shouldn’t be seen as a pure horror story, but rather science fiction with a touch of horror.
In fact, I didn’t see it much as horror in its rawest form too, but rather a thriller with something potentially deadly ready to do nasty things to anyone who ventures to deep. This could however be just me since I have yet to read a real horror story that had me shaking in my boots, damned me with nightmares or killed my appetite.
Mira Grant’s writing proves to be very addictive in this story. While it alternates between info-dumping and action sequences, it still does an excellent job in delivering it all with an excellent prose. The moment you crack open the book, you’ll recognize in her writing style a very aqua-centric and science-y vocabulary and expressions that make the story just that much more immersive.
The plot can also easily be categorized as urban fantasy as it incorporates mermaids in a very modern world set in 2022. Thanks to Mira Grant’s ability to make anything she desires realistic and believable, the possibility of mermaids in this future seems like nothing far-fetched. The scientific explanations pitched at us only make it that much more interesting and could easily fool anyone into believing it.
The science integrated within a story is always something that worries people. It’s not even just about being able to understand it, but to also want any of it in the story they read. Mira Grant does throw in a hefty amount of science in this story and it often feels almost inevitable. While you can decide to be gullible and believe everything you read, I tend to distinguish science in fiction into two categories: science that is completely accurate and science that is able to provoke a suspension of disbelief.
If an author could do one or other, I consider that a win. Since I have no real knowledge on all this marine science stuff, there was no way I was going to call out the author for making up lies. However, everything I read was definitely able to create that suspension of disbelief and everything I read definitely seemed plausible to me; I like to believe I’m pretty rational too. That’s a win in my books.
The author tackles a bunch of themes within this thrilling story. Often you’ll find yourself reflecting on the purpose of science and progress, while at other times you’ll see animal cruelty being explored in a very sentimental way. There’s even a whole discourse on sign language, cold-blooded revenge and even an interesting reflection on career advancement. Let’s just say that the author covered a lot of subjects and delivered a wonderful action-packed science fiction story with a drop of fantasy and horror. Okay. Maybe a lot of drops of horror. Like… A thousand gallons of red sticky drops of horror.
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MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★☆
Have you read it yet? Do you plan to? What do you think about Into the Drowning Deep?
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Till next time,