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Rolling in the Deep #1

Into the Drowning Deep

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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.

448 pages, Hardcover

First published November 14, 2017

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About the author

Mira Grant

47 books5,394 followers
Mira also writes as Seanan McGuire.

Born and raised in Northern California, Mira Grant has made a lifelong study of horror movies, horrible viruses, and the inevitable threat of the living dead. In college, she was voted Most Likely to Summon Something Horrible in the Cornfield, and was a founding member of the Horror Movie Sleep-Away Survival Camp, where her record for time survived in the Swamp Cannibals scenario remains unchallenged.

Mira lives in a crumbling farmhouse with an assortment of cats, horror movies, comics, and books about horrible diseases. When not writing, she splits her time between travel, auditing college virology courses, and watching more horror movies than is strictly good for you. Favorite vacation spots include Seattle, London, and a large haunted corn maze just outside of Huntsville, Alabama.

Mira sleeps with a machete under her bed, and highly suggests that you do the same.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,539 reviews
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews156k followers
August 11, 2022
I would like to preface my review by stating outright: I fucking loved this book. I read this at night because I like suffering (but with a nice soundtrack), and I'm convinced that there are too many stories of mermaids sitting on rocks in sexy poses braiding their hair, and not nearly enough stories about mermaids luring men to their deaths. I'm glad this book is adding to the latter category.

In 2015, The Atargatis—a research vessel headed to the Mariana Trench on a scientific expedition to look for mermaids, supervised by Imagine, an entertainment company known for its horror movies—sailed off the map, leaving in its wake a murky narrative and a gruesome footage that bespoke a new and unsettling certainty: the so-called lovely ladies of the sea exist and they are out for slaughter. Seven years later, Imagine Entertainment sends another ship, The Melusine, to set sail for answers, a desperate ploy they hope will secure the company a legacy that is built on more than mediocre science fiction movies and rumors of a massive maritime hoax.

Hired to accompany the Melusine into uncharted waters are a bunch of scientists who, unperturbed by the fact that the vanishing of The Atargatis does rather minimize their chances of survival, are pretty okay with trading temporary mortal life for the greatest benefit of science:

- Victoria “Tory” Stewart, a bisexual graduate student studying acoustic marine biology and the grieving sister of a member of The Atargatis crew whose heart had always been fixed to avenging the death of her sister, and who is hoping that this voyage would spell an end to any hope, however remote, of her sister returning home and finally grant her closure.
- Olivia Sanderson, autistic lesbian geek goddess and Imagine Entertainment news personality, who has come to a point with her ambition where she could either give it up or give up everything else, and has chosen the latter.
- Dr. Jillian Toth—a marine biologist and a siren expert—whose burden of guilt and shame would not permit her to accept the fatality of a mission that was born out of her own research and studies, without at least going herself to face the flesh-ripping monsters of the watery deeps.
- Theodore Blackwell—the physically disabled representative of Imagine Entertainment and estranged husband of Dr. Toth—to whom The Atargatis’s fate wasn’t the kind of truths you could trade and walk away from, not when his boss’s reputation hinges entirely on his ability to secure this mission's success.
- Deaf identical twins Heather and Holly Wilson, one of whom is an organic chemist and the other the owner of a deep-water submersible who had channeled all her yearning into an impossible dream: finding the bottom of Challenger Deep.

Reading this book at night right before bed was definitely poor decision-making on my part. Spending an unhealthy amount of time afterwards reading up on mermaids and all kinds of creatures that exist in a section of the sea that many have labeled "Here Are Unknown Monsters" was just pure masochism. One thing's for sure: boy am I glad to exist on dry land.

Into The Drowning Deep is a terror tale that spills vividly rendered characters towards a future filled with uncertainty and doom where they have no home but the unforgiven sea and no people but each other, and along the way, raises many questions that are cognitively taxing to swallow. In brief, it's a fun read; of the eerie, disorientating, and spine-chilling variety.

This is an energetic book that starts at high velocity and never lets up. There is so much emotion rushing under the skin of every moment. I was antsy and uncertain throughout, a pendulum swinging between anticipation and dread, as if I were feeling the same weight of hungry eyes on me and the sense of having to be wary as the characters. The parenthetical asides were a smart addition, making the reader pay attention to every single detail, mining for clues everywhere.

The characters are really great, and I enjoyed their interactions together. Although the novel is low on romance—the characters are far more preoccupied courting trouble with the deadly creatures of the watery deeps than with each other—there's a sapphic romance blossoming between Tory and Olivia that was so good, and seeing Dr. Jill and Theo goad each other into new lows was fun to read and I was rooting for them to gather the tatters of their broken marriage into a semblance of a relationship, maybe.

In short, if you like horror, mermaids, and want to be frightened into an existential crisis, this book is definitely for you.
Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
May 28, 2020
finally, a sci-fi book i can vibe with.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,096 reviews17.7k followers
March 31, 2022
It was beautiful, in its own terrible way. So many monsters are.
It has been a YEAR and I still have not stopped thinking about how great this book was and how much I love it and how much I want to reread it every day of my life, and someday soon I'm going to make all of you read it with me and then we'll REALLY be nailing it

Into the Drowning Deep is all the best of the horror genre - tense atmosphere, creative horror, interesting characters, fantastic writing, and something going on beneath the surface. I had this book marketed to me as bi girls try to survive killer mermaids, and I’d definitely call that accurate.

Perhaps the biggest strength of this book is how tense it is. I’ve seen one or two reviewers complain about the slow pace or about nothing happening until the end, but to be honest, I found this book the opposite of slow. Between flashbacks and ominous quotes and the tone, there's sense of terror pervading Into the Drowning Deep from page one. You know something is going to happen. You just don’t know exactly what.

And then you wish you didn’t know.

The plot feels all the more compelling due to our attachment to the cast of characters. With so many interesting leads and so much fantastic character development, I found it hard to even pick a favorite. My original draft of this review had "icon" written next to literally four different characters.
🍁Tory Stewart, sister of one of the dead and an icon for bi scientists everywhere
🍃Luis Martines, her nerdy, rich, and freaking adorable assistant
🍁Jillian Toth, our resident badass half-Hawaiian scientist, post production problem child, and overall icon
🍃Theo Blackwell, Jillian’s physically disabled and tiniest-bit-morally-grey ex-husband
🍁Olivia, the autistic lesbian camera operator and maybe my favorite character
🍃Ray Marino, Olivia's assistant and camera operator
🍁The Wilson sisters, including older sister Hallie, the freaking awesome sign language translator and possible mermaid contactor, and deaf twins Holly and Heather, a data analyzer and an underwater explorer
🍃Jacques and Michi Abney, a possibly-murderous hunter power couple
And speaking of character casts, if you’re looking at this list, you’ve probably noticed: this book is super diverse. I’m really shocked more people aren’t flocking towards authors like Grant / McGuire for diverse rep; she strikes a great balance between exploration of oppression and marginalization and not making the entire plot based on the fact that these characters are queer. Their marginalization is a part of their character arcs, but also doesn’t form their entire characters. Which hi, hello, is that not the perfect balance?

And while this book is super low on romance, the one major romance plot is basically my new favorite sapphic ship. That meet cute where Olivia is like "hi can i interview you for a-" and Tory cuts in and just says "no"? I C O N I C. If anyone’s participating in December’s #SapphicAThon, definitely add this to your list.
“When someone kills an American citizen, we don’t say, ‘Oh well, we killed one of theirs last week; we’re calling it even,’” she said. “We declare war. We sweep civilizations off the face of the globe. They won’t care that they started it. They’re only going to care who finishes it, and to be honest, I’m not sure it’s going to be us.”

And the thematic work is so good. With an exploration of reality shows, environmentalism, generational conflict, and around twenty different social issues, this book feels from the heart. And it's also a horror book. It's as if Mira Grant woke up one morning thinking to herself “what does this random blogger named Elise on goodreads want to read?” and then wrote that exact thing. oh my god I loved my experience reading this book so much.
“They were still miles from home, adrift on an uncaring sea, and the worst was yet to come. The worst was always yet to come.”

My one possible quibble would be the ending. While Grant offers a conclusion for our characters, and even a few reveals as to what exactly is going on, not everything is so tight - a lot of loose ends as to the science are left behind, and the ending to all the action is a bit... abrupt, and all of this means I’m guessing there’s going to be a sequel. Which is the littlest bit terrifying. Not that I don't worship Mira Grant's writing but she, as a person, scares me.
Every person on this vessel was a story in the process of telling itself, and all of them were fascinating, and all of them deserve to be heard.

The only final thing to mention is... Olivia. Olivia is autistic and so incredibly well written, and I really think reading her character was a lot for me, and maybe, after two rereads, I'm thinking a lot about how much I connected to her, and how that felt in terms of my personal identity. So. Yeah. This book meant a lot to me.

And I want to end this with some words from the author, because they're perfect:
“Into the Drowning Deep is the story of what happens when science belongs to the highest bidder, when sensationalism outweighs safety, when the news cycle must be fed no matter what the cost. It is the story of what it means to grieve so deeply that your bones are coral made, that your heart refuses to be still until the sins of the past can be put safely to rest, that the world weighs too much, crushing you. And yeah, it's a story about mermaids. Horrifying, marine biologist-approved mermaids, lurking in the deepest parts of the ocean, ready to devour you.”

And especially considering what Seanan McGuire has said about her plans for book two, I AM VERY VERY DOWN FOR THE SEQUEL. Im. Med. I. At. Ely.

VERDICT: I mean, if constant terror, a huge diverse character cast, sapphic girls, killer mermaids, and some environmentalism thrown in doesn’t sound amazing to you, then you probably shouldn’t even be following my reviews. Into the Drowning Deep is one of my faves of the year and I’m considering raising my rating to a five every second I spend typing this. spoiler: I did. Give this a try. I'm begging.

➳ this was July's mod pick for The Sapphic Squad, a book group I run with Kaylin, Jamieson, and Emma! [also can I just. say that I love this book so much I would fucking die for it. and I buddy-reread this with my lovely and Goodreads famous friend Em!]

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Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
551 reviews60.5k followers
August 2, 2022
Killer mermaids are now officially on my list of totally rational fears to have right under "being eaten by a T-Rex while on the toilet". (Thanks Jurassic Park for the trauma!)
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews116k followers
May 28, 2020
I felt very lukewarm about this book, unfortunately. It’s just a matter of personal preference, because objectively speaking, Grant does a great job at creating these hauntingly beautiful mermaids and evoking a horrifying atmosphere. Personally I just could not find myself caring for any of the characters, and found that much of the descriptive paragraphs and POV-switching lessened the feeling of suspense or attachment.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,481 reviews79k followers
February 6, 2019
"Did you really think we were the apex predators of the world?"
-Dr. Jillian Toth

AAHHH! How can I write a review to do this book justice? I don't think I can convey just how glorious of a storyteller Mira Grant (AKA Seanan McGuire) is. The way I feel about her writing is similar to how diehard Stephen King fans feel about his work; she could publish her grocery list and I would pay top dollar for it. Grant/McGuire is by far one of the most underrated authors of our time and I want to shout from the rooftops just how amazing she is.

If you haven't read the prequel novella Rolling in the Deep yet, no worries. It's 100% not imperative that you do so before reading this one, as there is ample back story and filling in on what happened to the Atargatis prior to the events of this novel. Personally, I enjoyed reading the prequel first, as I wanted to experience the events as they happened instead of it being relayed to me "second-hand" if that makes sense. Whatever way you choose, you will not be lost, left behind, or confused if you decide to jump in right here. The story is still excellent and will hopefully blow you away as it did me when I devoured it.

Around the boat, the sea is getting lighter, like the sun is rising from below. The camera continues to roll. The cameraman continues to run.

A thin-fingered hand slaps across the lens, and the video stops. The screaming takes longer to end, but in time, it does.

Everything ends.

Obviously we know going in that this book is about another group of scientists and specialists heading on an expedition to prove/disprove the theory of mermaids being the real deal. Unfortunately (again), these folks are taken by surprise by the monsters that they find. I don't want to give anything away, but here we have the same intricate details from Grant. Her writing is the very definition of "science fiction", as her fiction has so many scientific "facts" to enhance the credibility of the story I almost forget this is fiction and not a documentary on the Discovery Channel. There were a few really nice twists and turns that caught me off guard, and one major turning point of the story blew my mind so wonderfully that I'm still thinking about it as I type this. While we receive enough closure in the end, I felt the finale was left open enough for another entry if she so chooses to write it, which pleases me greatly. Muahahaha Highly recommended for fans of fantasy, science fiction, and just plain weird and dark takes on classic stories.

*I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Book #2 in my Nebulous November reading challenge.
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
October 31, 2021
There were appetites to be sated, no matter how cold the water became, no matter how strange the sea turned. As long as there were bellies, they would need to be fed. As long as there was life in the sea, there would be teeth.

i read Rolling in the Deep a couple of years back, when it was presented as a one-off novella, and it blew my mind. it was all the things i loved about mira grant's writing from her newsflesh and parasitology series in style and atmosphere, but it also featured killer mermaids, which everyone knows is a surefire way to make a book more awesome.

moby dick with killer mermaids? SO MUCH BETTER

when i heard she was planning to return to these creatures with a full-length novel, i was overjoyed. and it totally delivers - it's everything that was fresh and original about the novella, only on a much grander scale. <——- that is not a fish pun. unless you like that sort of thing. it’s just … more across the board. this book is about three times the size of the novella, the boat in this book is much larger than the novella’s atargatis (b/c jaws meme is troof), and it is carrying twice as many passengers as the mere 200 lost in that first mermaid-finding mission. and the boat itself, well, as the beleaguered captain phrases it:

”…we are on the maiden voyage of an untested research ship built to the specifications of an entertainment corporation.”

what could go wrong on such a vessel??

one of the things i praised over in my review for Rolling in the Deep was the number of different scientific disciplines featured in that story, and how grant spent time expounding the slant of each scientist's contribution to the enterprise in tasty little science nuggets. here, there’s even more of that; a noah’s ark of any and all possibly relevant hard and social scientists, plus big game hunters and media types. add to this mira grant’s “representation bingo" approach to featuring diverse characters, and you have a broad variety of perspectives and storylines and experiential variation across the personal and professional spectrum mermaid food.

because mermaids don't care about your educational background or if you're deaf or bisexual or japanese-australian or in chronic pain or are a dolphin.

The Atargatis had found the mermaids because the people on the ship were made of meat, and the mermaids had empty stomachs that they wanted to fill. That was how you found things, in the sea. Be delicious. That was all you ever had to do.

there's just something about her writing i find comforting, despite the guarantee that at least one character i like will not live through any given story. the fact that i can count on someone i like being killed off is an ironic testament to the dependability of her work, with its checklist of constants that doesn't feel like her revisiting the well, but more like how your best friend knows what will make you laugh.

i love that each section of her books opens with her signature two-pages of character quotes, usually “excerpted” from interviews or lectures or books/research they’ve written, where terrifying facts are delivered in very dry tones:

Do I think they found mermaids?

Yes. Of course I do.

And I think the mermaids ate them all.

i love that we can always count on at least one character to carry on the angry righteous tradition of newsflesh’s georgia mason:

Luis looked at her worriedly as he unlocked the car. “You’re making the scary face again.”

“Which one?”

“The one that says you’re going to burn down the world if that’s what it takes to get what you want.”

i love the resigned fatalism:

They were still miles from home, adrift on an uncaring sea, and the worst was yet to come. The worst was always yet to come.

and i love that she always manages to carry a torch of humor through all the monster-filled gloom. there are plenty of funny moments here, most notably a perfectly-timed deadpan delivery of a t.s. eliot quote that was so unexpected, i literally barked with laughter.

tl;dr - it’s perfect mira grant - smart and funny and scary and dangerous and surprising. watch your butts.


spoiler alert - this book is awesome.

review to come.

wait, did this always say #1 in the title? the prospect of getting to read even more mira grant-penned killer mermaid novels makes me giddy.


oh my god, i am so freaking happy right now. this book is my reward for another crummy week.

ohhh, a COVER! this makes me want it even MORE!

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Joey R..
268 reviews391 followers
December 7, 2022
4.0 stars— I was in search of something different after reading my last thriller so I thought to myself ..”Self.. how about a book about killer mermaids that wage an attack on a ship filled with research scientists?” Yes Please. Actually it didn’t go quite like that but after reading numerous good reviews I decided to give it a chance, and boy I am glad I did. The best description of the plot of this book would be very similar to the movie “Aliens” but set at sea. The book begins very strong with the story of a television production company hiring scientists to man a mission to the Mariana trench to determine the existence of mermaids ( at a location they had previously been seen ). The author is clearly brilliant and writes on difficult medical and science topics with ease while building a great amount of suspense throughout the first half of the book. Unfortunately, as is a problem in many books of this type, once the mermaids attack the suspense is over and the author writes one far-fetched scene after another. I easily predicted who would survive and die and what the ultimate outcome of the story would be. Every scene at the end of the book seemed to have been magically transported from 1980’ and 90’s Stephen King and Dean R Koontz books. Even with the problems at the end of the book, I still recommend reading it because the first 75 percent of it was really really good. However, I guarantee you will never look at Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” the same again
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,612 reviews10.7k followers
March 13, 2023

As with many books that I love, I never ended up posting a review for Into the Drowning Deep.

Why do I do this?

It was amazing, a must-read for Horror Lovers.

Full review to come someday...maybe...stay tuned!!!

Profile Image for Unknown Reviews.
45 reviews118 followers
February 16, 2021
I admit, I’m always confused as to why there isn’t more “adult” books concerning mermaids. From the eerie sirens who sing sailors to death, to horrific beasts lurking beneath the ocean, the potential for scares and horror is limitless. I was interested in Grant’s book, which went more of the latter route, creating mermaids with grotesque bodies who will gladly eat humans, and was pleasantly rooted in science. I did not expect, however, uninteresting characters to take up the bulk of this novel and for the mermaids to be, well…not very scary?

When the Atargatis sailed out to film a mockumentary about mermaids, more a party then a serious mission, the ship returned within weeks, only empty of life and bodies. Several years later, Victoria “Tory” Sanderson is desperate to find out the truth of what happened to the ship, and more importantly, her sister. So, when a second secret expedition filled with state-of-the-art technology and top professionals is commissioned, Tori takes her chance to get on board, only to find what is out there is much worse than she imagined…

Dun, dun, duuuun

I don’t really read sci-fi books, but the best part about this book is undoubtedly the scientific elements. Most novels tend to consider mermaids as magic or mythological, but Grant’s depiction makes them almost appear real with the amount of detail and realism she goes into. I’m seriously wondering does she have a degree related to this or did she just do a lot of research. Another bonus is how she conducts this information through a variety of scientists in her novel. It’s explained how exactly how the mermaid’s bodies works, how they function, their whole lifestyle really, but never in a way hat makes it hard to comprehend. And I do personally find it very satisfying that we received a lot of information about them rather than their origins being left clouded in a veil of mystery. That doesn’t work for every reader, obviously, but I think it fits very well in this case because otherwise, I’m not sure this would’ve been as interesting to read.

What caught me out the more I read through the novel, was how the mermaids either (a) appeared too little, or (b) when they were there, the threat rarely felt imminent. The mermaids peak, possibly (probably) within the first few chapters of the books and then take an extended absence till about midway. Now, most of the time they are terrifying when they’re on the page. With some brilliant visual descriptions, Grant evokes equal parts claustrophobia, wonder, and disgust. My interest in them could not be satiated. However, the downfall in this book, to me, lies within the characters.

It’s a hard one to pinpoint. With a book this size, it’s understandable why Grant would want to create a large cast, probably so we can empathise with them, and make the promised kill count much more thrilling and emotional. But the majority of them felt so…flat. There’s Tori, the sonar specialist who’s searching for answers to her sister’s demise, Olivia the anchor who has taken Tori’s sisters role on the new ship, Jillian Toth, who’s whole job basically revolves around mermaids and their existence, deaf twins Holly and Heather, their sister Hallie, the three trying to find a way to communicate with the mermaids...there’s a lot of characters basically, and sadly, the book didn’t benefit from it. Very few stuck out and for a simple reason; a lot of their choices suffered from bordering between shallowness and just being ridiculous.

(Also, naming three siblings, Hallie, Holly, and Heather made for a lot of confusion. Maybe their parents/Grant were aiming for a Kardashian type thing, but if I saw a number of K’s on the page also, my eyes would still spasm.)

After the confirmation of the mermaid’s existence, things quickly get very repetitive and stale. (Not to say talk about the person who discovered them – it’s been some time since I’ve seen that level of idiocy in a book from a character). Characters will continuously say “we are not going to get out of this alive,” but as passively as if they are describing the weather. You see, once the threat is established, no one does anything. They will say things similar to the above, but won’t make an effort to fight it, pursue it. They’re not even afraid of it, and this point really affected the book for me. If a character does not show fear of the main threat, the readers won’t either. This is the second time I’ve used IT as an example in recent months, but at some stage in the book, the kids don’t really seem scared of Pennywise and because of that, I wasn’t either. I don’t think it was an intentional thing in IT – it’s just a case where you knew they wouldn’t die and the kids knew he was lurking around. Here, it’s clear the mermaids are a vital, violent threat, but everyone’s just like “alright,” and go about their day as usual. I’m just going to assume everyone was borderline suicidal or had a death wish, since no one reacted in a sanely human way and wanted to leave the ship. Some of this is blamed on people wanting to finish their research, but you’re telling me no one was remotely scared? All interest went out the window once I realised the characters had about as much emotions as a chair.

(Another point is it took such a long time for them – these highly trained scientists- to establish the mermaids were intelligent and dangerous. When they decided they were smart, I basically rolled my eyes. I think it was clear when the mermaids expertly killed someone or did some impressive feat that they may need to be taken a little bit seriously.)

I wouldn’t say the characters were bad in other aspects. The dialogue was fine. I can’t say I clicked with Tori or Olivia, since Tori seemed too distant and Olivia was a bit childish. I think my favourite was Dr. Jillian Toth, since she didn’t take any bullshit and made it clear from the start she knew how dangerous it was and didn’t care. By the end, she was the character I had the most respect for and genuinely liked. Also special shout out to her mysterious husband, Theo Blackwell who oozed control with a slight (slight) bit of heart. But otherwise, characters reacted so passively to everything. People literally died in front of their friends, and no one cared after five minutes. It honestly baffles me how any grief/fear/shock was swept aside so quickly.

My other issue was the lack of mermaids. They felt very underutilised and the book suffered from plot convenience a little too often. At times, characters would be in very dangerous situations and the mermaids would take no advantage of it because, hey, we need that character later. I was also surprised some of the more interesting elements were ignored. We know pretty early on (the second/third chapter, I think) that mermaids can mimic voices/sounds, yet it’s never used against the humans? I expected some kind of psychological torture invoked here, but, alas, no.

Unfortunately, this book wasn’t that creepy for me either. The scariest part occurs during the discovery of the mermaids. I literally held my breath, awash with excitement that I was going to get a lot more like this in an action-packed second half. But if I were to best describe the rest of the book it would basically be a crime show autopsy with, interspersed with random deaths every now and then. Not to mention the number of kill scenes are surprisingly minimal – when they’re there, they’re good - but most happen off page which must be one of the stranger missed opportunities in this book.

(Also, while she writes great kill scenes, I do need to mention I thought the prose otherwise was a bit sparse and didn't really do the setting justice.)

Grant also has a habit of giving a full life story on any person/building/place we meet. It wasn’t off-putting, just unusual and I’ve rarely seen so much exposition in a novel. No perspective showed much uniqueness, besides a chapter told from a dolphin’s perspective (a brilliant chapter). Also, Tori's ex, Jason, was only in the book for a few chapters, yet I thought his were the most well-written? I'm telling you he was in there for such a short amount of time he should be considered an extra, but she dug into his character really well for the timespan. The changing perspectives didn’t bother me either, though I momentarily freaked out when one chapter was written in present tense, before it stayed at third throughout the book. My brain probably wouldn’t have been a fan of flicking back and forth between the two.

I think the themes of humanity’s selfishness, climate change, and nature’s unstoppable power was quite good though two characters felt a little on the nose. Jacques and Michi, two married hunters only talk about how much they love killing, and have off-the-page sex all the time. I suppose their relationship had some passion, at least. The other two (there’s f/f relationship in this book by the way) suffered from time constraints of everything happening over a span of a day or two, or that the relationship was already too cold to be considered love.

The mermaids were the highlights and brilliantly created/researched. Overall, the book was well-written, but it’s unrealistic characters, weirdly stitched plot/pacing, and lack of scares really let me down. The book is also unnecessarily long – I think it would be a DNF for those expecting thrills and jump scares. I’d recommend it if you don’t mind the length, but otherwise I couldn’t see it being a major attraction to non sci-fi/horror readers. If you like mermaids too, I guess, you’d enjoy this depiction.

Regarding the abrupt ending, it satisfied enough for me. I did a little digging and I believe Grant is writing/has written a sequel but her publisher only picked up this novel, so it depends solely on public response. I do hope for Grant and myself we’ll see a second book published someday, and I believe there’s a film in the works so it should stir up plenty of interest. Unfortunately, as one now this book had a many fantastic concepts, but ultimately failed to deliver due to the humans being more unrealistic than the mermaids.

(Before I finish, I need to say this – surely if you fall into the middle of the ocean unexpectedly during the night, the cold would kill you, or render you immobile, or you’d at least panic. This may have been one of the most ridiculous parts of the book, and now, I’m so confused. I need to research this.)
Profile Image for carol..
1,572 reviews8,224 followers
January 4, 2018
I knew Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant had it in her, somewhere. She takes the promise she had shown in Feed, her creature inventiveness from Discount Armageddon and weaves them together with the horror atmosphere from Every Heart a Doorway to create a terrifically scary tale.

"News flash, Victoria: we know you’re looking for the little mermaid who can give you back your sister’s voice. You’re not going to find her."

Victoria, or Tory, is a marine biologist, working summers for the tourist cruises through Monterey Bay, California (been there!) and spending the rest of her time and money researching the sounds of the ocean deep. Her older sister, Allie, was the videographer for an exploratory ship put together by Imagine Entertainment (aka 'Dreamworks'?) to look for 'mermaids,' and was never found. Everyone on the ship was slaughtered or missing, and the bits of found footage showed fanged mermaid-like creatures hunting the humans down and eating them. The world remained skeptical, however. It's seven years later, however, and a representative from Imagine approaches Tory and her research partner, Luis, with an invitation to be part of a second discovery mission.

I wasn't sure exactly where the story would head, but at about 20% it occurred to me that it was Jurassic Park, ocean version. It even included two big game hunters everyone loved to hate: "They had traveled the world, taking their prey from every environment, every ecosystem. They had bribed, bartered, and trespassed to line up the perfect shot, creating their own Noah’s Ark of ghosts." As soon as I met them, I felt sure they were the characters we were going to love being eaten, as the ghosts from all their big game hunts took revenge.

The locations are beautifully realized. In fact, for the first bit of Tory's introduction, I felt I was reading a blog post about Monterey, California. But the world-building is a tad odd. The set-up for the story is done in 2015, but the majority takes place in 2022. There is supposed to be a greater divide between the wealthy and the poor, climate change is taking a toll, but drought has been solved with solor-powered desalination plants. It's an odd juxtaposition, because in one moment it feels so very now as to possibly be last week, and then the next there are momentary references to advanced technologies we haven't reached quite yet. Her partner, Luis, has a crazy amount of family money which he has used to help develop new technologies and lab equipment that they use for their research.

But you know what? Who cares about little world-building oddities. Its fun. It follows many classic horror tropes and yet the reader remains deeply invested. Tory is developed well enough to be both driven and kind, and her friend Luis is the epitome of the distracted, awkward scientist. There are two deaf women and their translator sister, all of whom have difference science specialties and focus (deepsea pod pilot, chemist, language specialist), so you just know that sign language will play a role somewhere. Olivia is a 'personality' and videographer who has been hired to document the trip. The representative for Imagine, Theo, has a chronic pain syndrome that he treats with an intriguing mixture of marine neurotoxins, and I'll be honest--I totally expected that would play a role as well. His estranged wife, Jillian Toth, is one of the reasons for the first expedition, as her life's work as a biologist has been to prove mermaids exist. She's a fascinating, determined character, full of guilt about the first expedition.

Her career was a shipwreck. At least is was a shipwreck that she had, thus far, managed to survive. That was more than she could say for the ones who'd sailed upon the Atargatis. But the guilt, ah... The guilt was the reef upon which her marriage had crashed"

Which leads me, not incidentally, to one of the things that Grant/McGuire is finally getting right for such a prolific author who likes to see the unseen and counter expectations: we finally have a female cast that feels developed and well-rounded. And while a romance is brought into it, it's a queer one, quite possibly the first in all her thirty-five-ish books.

"Olivia, who was staring down the barrel of a lifetime of nightmares, assuming her lifetime extended past this place, this ship, this damned and doomed voyage, said nothing."

The writing is solid. It is often very evocative, but occasionally Grant gets a little carried away and will use some florid imagery and dialogue that doesn't make sense. It is easy to forgive her, but it is the kind of thing that prevents it from being a truly remarkable book. Grant also made infrequent but completely annoying use of the full parenthetical paragraph. Seriously--get a better editor. At over four hundred pages, it is one of Grant's longest works to date and while I enjoyed the science, it could have used some trimming.

What was also quite fun for me was the science-geek setting and the creature opposition. There's a lot of interesting description of oceans, mammals, sea-life, etc. packed in here, but it's usually more Mary Roach-level of discussion rather that very technical concepts. There are a couple of spots it gets a little more technical, particularly when Tory is explaining her research using sound to map ocean life, but most of it is accessible. The device of the videographer allows for low-level explanations.

All that said, I'd highly recommend it to anyone who happens to have an interest in oceans and urban fantasy, although

Four-and-a-half mermaids.
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,072 reviews51.4k followers
October 9, 2019
everything i didn't know i needed

yes this is about killer mermaids. but it's also SCIENCE-y. and about the failures of the collective human ego. all around: GOOD SHIT.

(audiobook is really good too)
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.8k followers
November 24, 2017

ARC provided by Hachette in exchange for an honest review.

“Ships kept on disappearing. Since the start of man’s relationship with the sea, ships kept on disappearing. So assume the mermaids have never forgotten about us. We wrote them off as legends as soon as they were no longer knocking on our front door.”

This is such a hard review to write, but I suppose three star reviews usually are. I just feel really torn on this one! I loved so many aspects of this, but ultimately I feel like this just wasn't a book for me. I still encourage anyone who is intrigued by the synopsis to pick it up, especially if you like horror with science!

“Are mermaids real? Yes. Are mermaids friendly? No.”

Into the Drowning Deep is technically about killer mermaids, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about society and how we don’t take care of the habitats we are inhabiting, let alone the ones we aren’t. It’s about how we view animals as lesser, and we are supposed to use them as a means to further education and technology without ever getting emotionally involved. It’s about how humans do horrible things to our planet that is 71% covered in water, and one day it might be time for someone else, besides humans, to say enough is enough.

Ultimately, this book stars a cruise-like ship, that is traveling to a place in uncharted territories to the Mariana Trench, where a tragedy happened many years ago. On this ship, we get to see the crew and learn their backstories on why they were chosen for this expedition where they will once and for all find out if mermaids exist.

This book has so much good: the writing was so lush and beautiful in Seanan McGuire /Mira Grant’s signature way. This book is smart, and I actually learned quite a few things about aquatic life. This book is queer, and I was living for every aspect of this budding F/F romance the entire way. This book is filled with action and is so fast paced. This book has some amazing moral discussions that I think a lot of humans would benefit from thinking about.

“When someone kills an American citizen, we don’t say, ‘Oh well, we killed one of theirs last week; we’re calling it even,’” she said. “We declare war. We sweep civilizations off the face of the globe. They won’t care that they started it. They’re only going to care who finishes it, and to be honest, I’m not sure it’s going to be us.”

As for what didn’t work for me: this book is honest to God scary! I mean, for the most part the characters are trapped in the middle of a dark ocean, cut off from society, facing ocean-dwelling creatures that, up until this point, have only been in fantasy. I’ll admit, I’m a baby. I didn’t like to read this book at night (which is when I do most of my reading) and I didn’t like to read this book alone. I’m sure many of you will pick this book up and laugh thinking about how I couldn’t handle the spookiness, but it’s the honest to god truth on why I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as I feel I should have.

Content Warnings: Gore, a lot of blood, violence, death, and things in those similar veins.

Overall, and like I stated above, I still completely recommend this book. I can still see what an amazing and powerful book this was, while also just knowing that it wasn’t for me. And I ultimately hope you guys still pick this one up, because it’s unique, haunting, and so very powerful.

“It was beautiful, in its own terrible way. So many monsters are.”

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Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,951 followers
July 26, 2020
This wasn’t as good as I hoped, but I still liked it well enough. I’m just going to review with quotes

The creature hisses, showing bloody teeth. Then, in a perfectly human, perfectly chilling voice, it says, "Come on, Kevin, don’t you have the shot yet?"

She wasn’t laughing when the screams started behind her, high and shrill and terrified, or when she felt the touch of a hand—oddly long and spindly, covered in a cool, clammy film like aloe gel was smeared across the skin—on the back of her ankle.

Do I think the found mermaids
Yes. Of course I do.
And I think the mermaids ate them all.

In the picture, the creature—the mermaid— was facing away from the camera, pulling itself along the Atargatis deck with clawed hands. It’s tail was broad and flat, more like an eel’s than a dolphin’s and while the substance growing from its scalp could have passed for hair under the right light, it was clearly something ... else.

Are mermaids real? Yes. Are mermaids friendly? No. Why is that so hard?

'Thank you,' she signed to the siren—one of a handful of signs they’d been working on for the last few months.

The siren hesitated. Then, with the deliberation of someone who was learning a foreign language, it signed back, 'You’re welcome.'

"He’s gone," said the second man, before she could ask why not. "The damned mermaids got into the control room while we were working on the servos. Ate him, and the first mate, and two of the navigators. The place is a slaughterhouse.

The thrashing mass of sirens writhed atop his body, their hands rending him into pieces. In the end, he was barely a mouthful for each of them.

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

BLOG: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot....
Profile Image for Barbie.
109 reviews309 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
July 6, 2019
DNFed at 28%.
Nothing, NOTHING happened, boring as hell. I fell asleep at the end of each chapter. I am not kidding.
This one is just putting me a perfect reading slump.
Profile Image for Heather.
403 reviews16.9k followers
March 15, 2019
I really wanted to give this 5 stars but that ending. Am I the only one who felt confused about it?
The ending felt to disjointed and abrupt.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,606 reviews5,988 followers
December 4, 2017
Tory Stewart's sister was lost when she was aboard the ship Atargatis. The whole ship was lost and there were video clips of what looked like Mermaids destroying them. But they were always discredited as being an hoax.

Now the film company that sent Tory's sister out on the quest to find mermaids is sending another crew out. This time they are collecting all the super smart scientists and have built a disaster proof ship. (That always turns out so well)
Tory agrees to be on the ship and maybe have answers to what exactly happened to her sister and as an extra bonus she will get to find out if mermaids really do exist.

Sounds pretty decent doesn't it? And it is. Mira Grant did her research on this book, it's believable enough that I got sorta claustrophobic several times. I'm scared shitless of stuff in the ocean anyways so this was totally the world of nightmares for me.
She took the reader into the world of the Marina Trench and even made me stop reading several times to look up stuff. I like when a book makes me do that.

Then toss in some mythical creatures and it's totally my jam. These aren't the sweet little singing type of mermaids either. These suckers will eat your face off.

That's a win from me.

The book is extremely read-able and the things that kept me from going all fangirly were few. The repetition was the biggest thing. I don't have to be told the same thing over and over. I might not be the smartest cookie around but I usually get it after a bit.
The length for the book really felt like it wasn't needed.
There were so many characters that I couldn't be bothered with getting attached to any of them. I just wanted the critters to eat them all.

So I'm rating this book as middle of the road. I liked it and will probably read another one of this authors books but I'm gonna let other people cut in line before me. (Mermaids might be there to eat our faces anyways.)

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review
Profile Image for SK.
310 reviews2,758 followers
February 18, 2023
When one says mermaids, you think of cutesy stuff but when you make them killer mermaids now that's something that will blow your minds.

If you want to read a sci-fi book with horror and a pinch of fantasy, this is your go to. It's dark and creepy in the best way possible.
It might feel a tad slow at times but there's so much suspense, so much edge that you'll feel nervous, you'll be anticipating something to go wrong and it all adds up to the excitement levels. I didn't care much for romance or all the super science talk at times but it's all good. The characters are decent. This is a plot driven story so don't expect a lot of character development. The ending was worth it, my jaw was on the floor and I can't believe it ended that way. Like I want moreeeee 😩😩

Thanks to @Leonie for making me read this, was a good break from romance ☺️
Profile Image for LIsa Noell "Rocking the Chutzpah!.
604 reviews207 followers
August 28, 2022
Occasionally you read something so good, and slightly "alotly, dear lord, alotly!" terrifying that you have to berate yourself for all those 5 star reviews that you've been handing out, willy nilly. I take them all back! This was, is and will still be the one book that scared the ever lovin' shit outta me in 2017. Mira Grant can "science." She can convince me that the moon is made of bleu cheese, and I need it for my salad. Twice I started to Bing mermaids/sirens, but I managed to stop myself. Absolutely ridiculous....yet she had me questioning. I'd done this before a few years ago when a book had me asking myself..self, could Bigfoot be real? That way lies madness! Not that I believed, but there are some forums out there that are powered by some crazy mutherf....! This book had me questioning, what if? I've swam in the ocean, and it never concerned me. Now? Eh, it may take me a decade or so to "get over it!" This is the best thing Mira Grant aka Seanan McGuire has written since her Feed trilogy. Ah...good times! My thanks to Orbit books, Netgalley and the author for allowing me to read this BEST BOOK THIS YEAR, for the price of a review.
Profile Image for Anne Bogel.
Author 6 books59.7k followers
February 11, 2021
As a confirmed scaredy-cat I was afraid to pick up this sci-fi/horror novel, but a couple of readers I trust told me I could probably handle it. They were right. (And I'm so glad I picked it up because I enjoyed it sooo much!)

Here's the deal: Mermaids are real, but they are not like Ariel. Some researchers believe this with their whole heart and have made studying these mermaids, or sirens, their life's work. Others are deeply skeptical, but regardless what camp they're in, a huge swath of the scientific community is about to set sail on another voyage to the Mariana Trench, a follow-up to a voyage seven years earlier ended in tragedy with everyone on board lost at sea. No one is exactly sure why; skeptics called the whole thing a hoax.

Both the siren skeptics and the true believers are about to discover mermaids are very real—and it will be a miracle if anyone gets out of there alive.

Imaginative, suspenseful, and such a fun change of pace from what I typically read.
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews415 followers
June 23, 2022
This is one excellent book with ruthless sirens from the deep. It was bloody fantastic from beginning to end. I really hope this turns into more books. I am really interested in the female siren aspect. Recommend!
Profile Image for Rachel Bea.
358 reviews115 followers
May 26, 2018
I couldn't be happier to finally finish this book. I found it as corny as a SyFy channel movie that went on for too long.

The plot
Okay, I really don't buy the fact that in the 8 years that followed the initial attack, no one went back to the waters to do research and to try to find the mermaids. And I also can't buy Imagine getting this huge ass cruise ship and setting off into the sea and no one knows about it? It's a huge ship. With tons of people on it. Also you had 8 years and couldn't get a ship with working shutters? And for an entertainment company with a lot of money, where was the actual crew other than Ray and Olivia? I used to work in post-production so it's hard for me to leave my real life experience behind when I read about television show productions in books.

The writing
I thought it was messy from the start. Lots of jumping around in time and place. But I thought, okay, I can deal with that.

Except the writing stayed messy, and bad. The repetition in particular drove me nuts:

I don't need to read a dozen times that Olivia dresses like Emma Frost. I get it. I had to google Emma Frost, but once I did, okay, the example was there. The constant "I dress like Emma Frost!" statements drove me bonkers.

I don't need to read a dozen times that a character's "flesh" "tightened" around "their eyes." What does that even mean, and why use it so many times? "The flesh tightened around her eyes." "The flesh around his eyes was tight." Who edited this and why didn't they ask the author to come up with something else?

And did we really need to interrupt the flow (as bad as it was) of the story with background info and extra information in parentheses? Every few pages there was something explained in parentheses.

The characters
Characters weren't developed and annoying as hell. From the very beginning I couldn't take the main character, Tory, seriously as a "marine biologist." At the beginning of the book, she actually justifies her eating seafood pizza because seafood isn't ecologically as bad as eating land animals. This is absolutely false - while both harm the environment, the seafood industry is beyond devastating and is responsible for loss of biodiversity, species extinction, and pollution. Not to mention modern day slavery exists in the shrimp industry... But yeah, a "scientist" says that. lol ok.

At another part in the book, this same "scientist" comes to a realization that the mermaids/sirens must be sentient because they possess intelligence and language capabilities. In the real world, what scientist would say this? Sentience has nothing to do with the capacity for language or intellect. If the author is going to spend most of the book on scientific babble, at least make it believable?

A pet peeve of mine is when an author starts multiple names with the same letter. Did we really need a Holly, Hallie and Heather? Come on. It was hard for me to remember who was who, but at a certain point I honestly just stopped caring.

Also I can't stand it when authors have that ~quirky character who has to say something ~quirky or ~unexpected and ~everyone goes quiet and turns to her and then ~quirkly girl giggles and shrugs. This happened when Holly (Hallie? Heather?) was with Dr. Toth and somebody else, right after Hally (Heather? Holly?) died. (As an aside, I found it weird that whatever sister this was went from screaming in agony over her other sister's death, then 2 pages later being giggly about dolphins playing chess.) Anyway, these scientist characters will say something reasonable based on the knowledge and experience of their field but throughout the book the other scientists would look at them in shock as if they're surprised that another scientist was smart? Does this ever actually happen in real life...?

Something good?
One positive aspect to the book was having a female-female relationship. So, at least it was diverse in that sense. I also see people praise the fact that Olivia was revealed to be autistic, so I guess that's great for representation too but I don't really know what to think when the representation extends only as far as a "As a little girl with autism..." descriptor about 2/3 of the way through the book, and then nothing else about it.

The mermaids
They were cool. The parasites living on them were cool. The book should have been more about them, and less about these stupid characters. Something exciting would happen, but then be interrupted by quirky, tryhard banter between the scientists and Dr. Toth's smug attitude.


So unfortunately I didn't like the book, which is too bad because it has a lot of positive reviews and many people I respect really liked it. But that's okay, we can't all agree. Definitely didn't work for me, and won't be reading the rest of the series.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
May 5, 2019
Best. Representation. Of. Mermaids. Ever.

These are mermaids - or better, sirens - that I can really believe ... and definitely would not want to be having a close encounter with ... on an isolated ship ... hundreds of miles from help civilization.

Into the Drowning Deep is a gripping horror/thriller of a novel. It struck me as very filmable, ready to scare the pants off people in dark theaters. It also reminded me strongly of a Michael Crichton thriller, except with a lot more diversity.

Full review to come!
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,206 reviews3,213 followers
April 10, 2021
4.5 Stars - Video Review: https://youtu.be/hF0r_0O1U2w
Killer Mermaids! What else do you need to know?

Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire) had an fantastic vision for the monstrous sea creatures in her novel. The mermaids were uniquely imagined and and vividly described. Dangerous and other-worldly, these were certainly not the Disney variety of mermaids!

The marine biology in the novel grounded in this story in reality, adding realism to an idea that could potentially be ridiculous. This novel was clearly well research and layered with hard science. As always, Grant proved to be an amazing storyteller, making the existence of undiscovered mermaid feel plausible. I frequently found myself forgetting that mermaids don't actually exist. I loved the focus on ocean and sea mammal preservation.

This novel proves that a story can have well developed characters without sacrificing plot or pacing. Told from multiple perspectives, each of the main characters were fully-fleshed out individuals with complete backstories. The story included excellent diverse representation, predominately featuring lesbian, bisexual and deaf characters. Furthermore, this novel demonstrated gender equality with intelligent, well-educated women at the forefront of the story. Each character perspective was immersive and completely engaging. I really appreciated how sign language played a major role in the story and overall loved the exposure to the experience of being deaf in a hearing world.

This novel walked the line between science fiction and horror, appealing to readers of both genres. By horror standards, this was not particularly scary. Yet, readers who normally only read science fiction might be quite disturbed by the gruesome and graphic scenes contained in this story.

I would recommend this book to readers who love plot-driven stories with memorable characters and plenty of suspense.

I requested this novel from Orbit Books.
Profile Image for Joe Valdez.
499 reviews855 followers
June 10, 2018
My introduction to the fiction of Seanan McGuire--who publishes science fiction thrillers as "Mira Grant"--is Into the Drowning Deep and this is a relentlessly exciting nautical ride that learns from the best and worst the genre has to offer, as if McGuire flipped between TNT, Discovery Channel and SyFy Network and taking notes for a month, designed the best mermaid attack novel of all time. Her take is an R-rated one with credible science, gutsy female characters, gore, sharp dialogue and some wit. Always in the market for all of the above, customer satisfaction went through the roof for me.

The story begins in 2015 with Victoria "Tory" Stewart saying goodbye to her sister Anne, an on-camera correspondent setting sail on the SS Atargatis to the Mariana Trench, where the all-schlock Imagine Entertainment Network is searching for mermaids. Anne tells her sister, entering UC Santa Cruz in the fall to study marine biology, that nobody expects to find a mermaid, but she hopes the program will be good exposure. Contact with Atargatis is lost for six weeks before the U.S. Navy discovers it adrift. Leaked video footage appears to show the crew being torn apart by creatures with human torsos, eel-like tails and needle teeth. The bodies of the crew are never recovered.

In 2022, marine biologist Tory Stewart works in Monterey on whale-watching tours while writing her dissertation. Global climate change has altered the migration patterns of large sea mammals, among other things. The Imagine Network has been acquitted of wrongful death of the Atargatis crew, while the court of public opinion concludes that the leaked footage was a hoax. Tory and her lab partner Luis Martines study deepwater sonar scans of the Mariana Trench to hunt for acoustic anomalies. Meanwhile, biologist Dr. Jillian Toth, whose research in “sirentology” was used to justify the Atargatis expedition, takes to the lecture circuit to warn that mermaids exist. She's visited by her ex-husband Theodore Blackwell, the #2 executive of the Imagine Network, who's launching an expedition to the Mariana Trench.

"Officially, Imagine's position remains the same as always--for now. But you're not blind, you're not stupid, and you're the one who told them what they were looking for. You knew those things were real the second you saw the recording. Even if Imagine had wanted to make up a monster story to cover for the loss of a very real group of people, they wouldn't have been able to do such a good job in such a short amount of time. CGI ages poorly. That technology, too, has marched on. If there was something in those tapes for the world to discredit, it would have happened already. The fact that it hasn't should be proof enough of what happened on the Atargatis, no matter what Imagine says to the media. It wasn't a stunt, it wasn't a mistake, and there's been no cover-up. The world just doesn't like the answers we've been able to provide."

"So why is Imagine going out there again?"

"Because we want closure," Blackwell squared his shoulders, a small, almost unconscious gesture that most people would have taken for formality.

Jillian frowned. "Is your back bothering you?"

"My back's always bothering me, Jillian."

"Dr. Toth."

"Dr. Toth, then. Yes. My back is bothering me. Nerve damage doesn't go away simply because one takes a desk job. I need your answer. Will you sail with the
Melusine, and help Imagine provide answer to people who've been waiting for the last seven years?"

Melusine." Jillian snorted. "That's a little on the nose, don't you think?"

"If we're successful, there will be a documentary. My employers are very good at managing the details."

"That's true." She sobered. "I'll need a copy of the contract. I'm willing to sign an NDA, but I need time to review both the NDA and the contract with my lawyer."

While Dr. Toth is haunted by survivor's guilt and Mr. Blackwell is plagued by chronic nerve pain that medical innovation can only partially treat, Tory also joins the expedition with baggage, seeking closure in the death of her sister. Her acoustic research with Luis, which Blackwell reveals has been clandestinely funded by Imagine all along, has picked up the sound of the Atargatis engines deep in the Mariana Trench, as if something down there is mimicking the sound of the fated vessel seven years after it was attacked. Tory and Luis arrive in San Diego to set sail on the Melusine, a floating science city of four hundred that has its share of characters:

-- Olivia Sanderson, the new face of Imagine Network. Tech geek plagued by social anxiety and self-image issues, she inexplicably crushes on Tory, the last crew member who wants to get to know her. Speaks Klingon and Quenya (Elvish from Tolkien).

-- Ray Marino, Olivia's loyal cameraman, a former MMA-fighter with knees surgically repaired by medical innovation. A big guy who helps Olivia from feeling overwhelmed in crowds.

-- Jacques and Michi Abney. Big game hunters. Husband-wife. He is French-Canadian, she is Japanese-Australian. Want the first verified kill of a mermaid. Shunned by the scientists, initially.

-- Jason Rothman. Plankton expert. Tory's ex-boyfriend. Identified by Olivia as a "science hipster" who ridiculed mermaids until they were proven to exist and saw a career opportunity.

-- Hallie Wilson. Acoustician and sign language expert. She also serves as ASL translator for ...

-- Holly and Heather Wilson. Deaf twins, Hallie's youngster sisters, redheads. Holly is an organic chemist. Heather is a submersible operator whose dream is to personally explore the Challenger Deep.

-- Dr. Daniel Lennox. Cetologist. Heavily tattooed, looks like a nightclub bouncer. Ultimately aligns with Mr. Blackwell and Hallie Wilson in a secret think tank to communicate with a captive.

-- Twitter, Cecil and Kearney. Dolphins who Mr. Blackwell has promised freedom in exchange for their work as scouts. Unknown to humans, dolphins have known for centuries what lurks in the Mariana Trench.

-- Gregory Richardson and Daryl Cliff. Electrical engineers. Busy trying to repair the numerous glitches the Melusine set sail with, like security shutters that won't shut. Daryl is upset about something and goes to tell the captain about it.

"Sir, there's something in the water." Some of the strain had vanished, replaced by relief. By telling the captain--by telling the person in charge--the young man had rendered this someone else's problem. "Gregory's still there, but he agreed I should come and tell you." That was only half a lie. Gregory knew he was coming to see the captain. He hadn't endorsed it, exactly, but he knew, and that made it true enough to say.

Captain Peterman went cold. Being the first to say the word
mermaid would be to lose. He would not lose. Voice level, he said, "Something in the water? Son, I don't know if you're aware, but we're in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There's lots of somethings in the water. This is their home. As far as they're concerned, we're 'something in the water,' and they're probably pretty keen on us moving along."

"It's not like that," said Daryl. He stood his ground, even though every instinct he'd developed in three years as an independent maritime engineer told him to back down. It was never good to argue with the captain over anything but the safety of the ship--in part because an engineer who argued over little things was less likely to be listened to about the big ones. There might come a time when the survival of this vessel and her crew depended on the captain listening when he spoke. If he couldn't guarantee that, he might as well turn in his resignation now.

But the glitter in the water had been wrong. Something about it turned his stomach in a way he didn't have words for, had never needed to articulate before; something about it had seemed so inimical that he didn't want to remember what it looked like. When he tried, his mind shied away, presenting him with images of sunlight on the surface, of Gregory frowning at his idle fancies. How could light be threatening? It didn't make
sense. It was just light, after all. It was just light.

Into the Drowning Deep is one of those novels that feels as if the author had monitored my book reviews and offers a surprise, just for me. "So, you enjoy science fiction thrillers? High concept, hard science, like Michael Crichton, except, compelling characters. Nobody named 'Norman Johnson' acting out a plot. Got it. You like women in your fiction? Strong, practical women? You'll have it. Scientists will actually follow the scientific method. Yep. Thrills. How about someone who gets stuck trying to squeeze through a water intake port? How about character and thrills embedded at every turn?”

The sound of the mermaid's hands slapping the wood pursued him as he fled. He turned the corner, heading for the enclosed hallways where th sea was out of sight, acting on some deeply buried instinct that told him he might be safer if he got away from the water. Amphibious or not, the mermaid was a creature of the sea. It wouldn't pursue him too far from its natural habitat.

A man stepped into his path. Luis shouted something unintelligible as collision seemed inevitable. Then strong arms were reaching out of the nearest doorway, jerking him out of the way as the man--Jacques, his features becoming visible as he took another step forward, out of the shadows--raised his sidearm and fired three times. The mermaid screamed, its voice still unnervingly like Luis's own.

He turned his head and found himself looking into Michi's eyes. They were brown, cold and surrounded by impeccably applied winged eyeliner. He had time to wonder who took the time to do their makeup before coming out to hunt mermaids before she was shoving him away, a disgusted expression on her face.

"Really, mate, what were you going to accomplish?" she demanded, her accent painted broadly across every syllable. She sounded like the pure distillation of Queensland, Australia, all sunny skies and brutal murder. "If you were looking to kill yourself, there are easier ways."

"It's dead," said Jacques, stepping into the room. He looked at Luis and sniffed. "Little boy, are you a fool, or are you too stupid to know when you're taking unnecessary chances?"

"Hold on a second," said Luis, scowling. "I didn't take any unnecessary chances. I knew the mermaid was coming, I went to have a look at it."

"Carrying this?" Michi held up his tracker gun. Luis's hands flew to his waistband. Michi looked at him with open pity. "Please. I got it off you while you were trying to decide whether or not my breast was touching your arm. This thing doesn't even have
bullets. It was never going to save you."

"It's a tracker gun, and I'd like it back." Luis held out his hand. He was proud of the fact that it wasn't shaking. Under the circumstances, he felt that was a victory.

"What do you track with it?" Michi dropped it into his palm. She looked almost bored.

"Mostly squid and big fish."

"You wanted to track the mermaid?" Jacques snorted. "We know where the fish-women go. They go down to Davey Jones's locker, and they take you along for the ride."

Seanan McGuire took me for an e-ticket ride with this novel. Into the Drowning Deep is scary and loaded with gore galore, but also science and compelling characters. I was surprised by how much marine biology, engineering and other sciences filled the pages and how McGuire used global climate change to push the story forward, understanding this is a real and major issue and imagining how it could threaten her characters, which in another surprise, are seventy-percent female. The reader is primed for many of them to feed the sirens, but I was emotionally invested in those I hoped would survive. It's a real hit and makes me want to dive into her aka's other science fiction horror.
Profile Image for Philip.
513 reviews684 followers
February 7, 2023
4ish stars.

This is my first Mira Grant book, although I've really the Wayward Children series written by her as Seanan McGuire. It has her signature writing style, but instead of the fantastical inventiveness used in her McGuire books, Grant is decidedly more science fictional. And bloody.

She begins with a cool premise - killer mermaids eating faces - and tries to make it as legitimate as possible by including an array of science-y people and explanations. Works for me, I'm now more or less convinced that a mermaid is going to wriggle up through my plumbing and leave gory chunks of my flesh floating in the toilet. She takes the cool premise and uses it as the basis for a typical horror story/Jurassic Park remake. Which is awesome.

None of the characters are “real” enough to resonate with me (though I do like mermaid-ologist Dr. Jillian Toth), so I wasn't affected when they all started getting disemboweled for being stupid horror movie characters doing stupid things. The romance, likewise, seems more necessary based on trope than truly necessary. It's all just mermaid food in comparison. The pacing, however, works really well; it's not a short book, but I never felt like it was long. It's tense and exciting and even the parts that don't end with trailing entrails are quite readable.

Somehow equal parts popcorn fiction and intelligent commentary on conservation, it's bloody brilliant! 😂

Posted in Mr. Philip's Library
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
547 reviews34.7k followers
November 22, 2022
I’m on BookTube now! =)

”It’s beautiful,” breathed Daniel, and while there were those who would have objected to the reverence in his voice, none of them corrected his statement. It was beautiful, in its own terrible way. So many monsters are.

This book was something else and I have no idea how I survived reading this! XD I’m really such a scaredy fox and all I knew about “Into the Drowning Deep” was that it’s about killer mermaids and an expedition to the Mariana Trench. Well, and that there is an f/f relationship in this book because otherwise it wouldn’t have landed on my #Rainboween list. ;-) So far so good, right? Well, yes, I suppose?! Nothing of those aforementioned things prepared me for the creepy story I was going to read, though. And boy, let me tell you this was quite something!

”We forgot about them, but they never forgot about us. They always knew that somewhere out there they had competition, strange and soft and walking on two legs and defenseless in the water. Most of all, they never forgot that we were delicious."

I think I could have lived with gory scenes and bloodthirsty sirens, but what made this a really intriguing and exceptional story was the fact that those mermaids were extremely intelligent and had no qualms to use their knowledge to their advantage. They knew what they were hunting (humans in case you wondered) and how to get to it and in contrast to the humans they just took what they craved. Namely, meat and plenty of it. If you want to say it in a drastic way you could also say that the Melusine was some sort of all-you-can-eat buffet for them and you wouldn’t be wrong, because to be entirely honest those humans were basically put on a platter with a nice bow.

”So you think they’re watching us?” Luis glanced over the rail. The water was very dark and very clear at the same time, like looking through a window into infinity. A cold hand seemed to run along his spine, sending chills all through him.
"Mr Martines, I know they're watching us. The only question is from how far away." Dr Toth smiled thinly.

So we have intelligent and ruthless sirens, scientists that want a piece of the cake without either realizing or caring that they ARE actually the cake and all the makings for a journey that will turn into a bloodbath. Nice! What I really liked about this story was the fact that we didn’t just get gory and bloody but also a lot of science and philosophy. Due to all the scientist on board of the ship there are a lot of tests and experiments happening but I think it was never over the top and woven so effortlessly into the tale that it always felt very natural and didn’t disturb the flow of the story. Also the atmosphere in this book was amazing! It was creepy, eerie and oppressive! And it was so suspenseful that it sometimes quite literally had me at the edge of my seat!

”This was not where she belonged. This had never been where she belonged. Humanity had chosen the land over the sea millennia ago, and sometimes – when she was letting her mind wander, when she was romanticizing what she did and how she did it – she thought the sea still held a grudge. Breakups were never easy, and while humanity was hot and fast and had had plenty of time to get over it, the oceans were deep and slow, and for them all change had happened only yesterday. The seas did not forgive, and they did not welcome their wayward children home.”

Fun fact I’ve to mention here: I always wanted to become a marine biologist when I was a kid but my asthma and the fact that I live in a landlocked region kind of killed that dream before it even got a chance to grow. Despite all that I was always fascinated with the sea, the Mariana Trench, reefs and everything else that lives in those depths though. And I think this made me enjoy “Into the Drowning Deep” even more because there is this scientific puzzle and every single person on that ship tries to solve it in their own way. Experiencing the story alongside the scientists and watching them while they made new discoveries and tried to understand those creatures that attacked them so relentlessly was extremely intriguing for me. I was probably as fascinated by them as Dr. Toth was and I wanted answers to how they were able to survive too.

”Dr Wilson is correct: the problem with trying to define nature is that nature is bigger than we are, and nature doesn’t care whether we know how to define it. Nature does what nature wants.”

As for the characters: I really liked most of them and actually prayed that they would survive. *lol* But quite honestly not even the ones I didn’t like would have deserved to die the way some of the mermaids victims did. *shudders* I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Some deaths were really gruesome and caused me to take a deep breath in order to be able to read on. Tory – Victoria Stewart – was one of the likable characters and I really liked that she and Olivia got closer during the journey. Tory was definitely a driven character and I really liked her and the way she tried to find answers to her sister’s death. Olive... Olive was amazing and I think it was great to see an on-page character that was autistic and had social anxiety as well. Olivia’s POV and rep added so much depth to the story and I think we need more representations like that in books!

”If one of the mermaids had taken him – one of those deep horrors, with teeth like daggers and the hands designed to catch and keep – then he hadn’t drowned, because he wouldn’t have had time. He would have died before his body hit the water.”

I don’t think I can say a lot about Theo because he represented Imagine and was actually a pretty blank character. His wife Dr. Jillian Toth however, was awesome and I really loved her dry humour and that she went on the journey knowing full well that she was most certainly going to die. Yet that still didn’t stop her because she wanted to see all her life’s work about mermaids put into practice. I’m pretty certain Dr. Toth would have tried to study the sirens even if they would have chewed and feasted on her already. *lol* Yep, that woman was badass and I really liked her, because despite all her fascination for those creatures she was still compassionate and kind. The twins Holly and Heather and their sister Hallie were all pretty interesting characters too. Every single one of them had their own voice and even though they worked in completely different niches (organic chemistry, deep sea diving, linguistics) they were a family and a lively bunch.

“Do I think they found mermaids? Yes. Of course I do. And I think the mermaids ate them all.”


All told, I really enjoyed “Into the Drowning Deep” and the story’s slow decent into tension, havoc and madness. When the book started I wasn’t all too sure if killer sirens would be able to scare me but once the shit hit the fan and the atmosphere got more and more deadly and dire I couldn’t escape the pull of the book anymore. This was horrifying, suspenseful and thrilling and if there was one thing I didn’t like it was the rather abrupt, horror movie like ending. But I guess you can’t have everything so I’ll take it as it is and be glad I never actually met those lethal sirens. ;-)


I’m kinda proud I survived reading this book even though I’m such a scaredy fox, because those sirens were really quite something. *shudders* This was more gory than I thought it would be, but it also had a lot of science in it which was interesting! Loved to study those creatures alongside the scientists. This said:

Full RTC soon! =)


Since Halloween is getting closer and closer it’s finally time to tackle the second book I want to read for my #Rainboween readathon! (The kick off video: Readathon Announcement - #Rainboween aka Rainboweenathon )
“Into the Drowning Deep” has been on my TBR for ages and lots of people recommended it to me so I thought: Why not read about killer sirens that want to rip you into tiny pieces?! *lol*
Also this is apparently includes a f/f relationship as well!? I am intrigued!

Here we go!
Let’s find out if all those sirens want us dead
or if some of them might even want us in their bed instead. ;-P

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Profile Image for Riley.
429 reviews21.7k followers
July 3, 2018
This book promised killer "mermaids" and boy did it deliver
I was on the edge of my seat the whole time
I don't easily scare but there were parts of this book that terrified me so much
catch me never going in the ocean again

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