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Into the Gray

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  271 ratings  ·  80 reviews
"You're using me," I said.

"That might be true, but I also love you."

One is the Lady of the Waking Waters, an immortal mermaid. The other is a thief, who steals lives until a wish can be fulfilled, and a life-changing choice must be made.
ebook, 22 pages
Published April 25th 2018 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  271 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing

“I know a better place than your room at the inn,” I said.

“If you’re not a working girl, there’s no shame to be seen with you.”

“I know a place, a better place, where the wind runs cool off the water. Where I can rinse, where you can rinse, where we’d taste our best for one another while only the deer of the forest look on.”

“You’ve done this before,” he said. He was hungry at my words, at the thought of watching me bathe.

I had. Twice before. He would be my third.

“So have you,” I said.

“What do I call you?” he asked.


“A harlot’s name.”

“Fitting, then,” I said, starting out
Elise (TheBookishActress)
This story is short fiction about a trans girl thief in love with a lady of the pond who kills men– but only the terrible ones.

First of all, the writing is excellent, absolutely engrossing. This story is super atmospheric, which helped a lot. And also, the lead character is written quite well; I found it super easy to empathize with her.

I think the only reason this wasn’t a five for me is that I went into this expecting a romance, and it’s really… not? It’s more of a character arc & coming
may ➹
we love trans women dragging bad men to pools where their mermaid lovers are ready to kill them
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
A trans girl lures terrible men to their deaths by feeding them to her vicious mermaid girlfriend? Yes, please. This was fantastic and sweet and had some incredible bits about love and respecting ourselves, as well as a quote that I adored:
I know what it’s like to need to advertise to the world what you are, so that people don’t just assume you are what they think you are.

Available to read for free on!
Tyler J [They/He] (Wickedjr Reads)
Trans girl thief lures men, but only the bad ones, to her man eating mermaid girlfriend, who if you ask me doesn't really love her. Laria deserves so much better. The Lady (the mermaid) was so emotionless, so cruel in her lack of any emotion. The story made me want to cry. Love how it talks about obsession and respecting yourself.

I know what it’s like to need to advertise to the world what you are, so that people don’t just assume you are what they think you are.
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was really good! A beautiful trans girl lures men back to her lover who is a vicious mermaid. The land girl steals whatever gold or coins the men have to survive on and the mermaid eats her fill of flesh! A crazy, creepy romance! Quick and compelling read.

Free short:
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"We’re not the same," she told me. "It’s not possible for us to lead the same life."

Beautiful trans thief falls madly in love with a mermaid, a hungry mermaid. With a love Laria understands is obsession they lead evil men to die in the Waking Waters.

"It’s always beautiful to watch someone perform their life’s work... the Lady, she was beautiful as she stripped flesh from bone."

Oh yeah!

But really, it’s about trying to find acceptance... in the wrong place.

This dark fantasy felt rushed and clipped, like a compromised novWaters.
I've recently read The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by this author and I didn't like it as much as I hoped (still a solid novella, though), but I loved this. Into the Gray is the story of Laria, trans woman in a medieval-like fantasy village who brings terrible men to the Lady of the Waking Waters - the immortal, man-eating mermaid who is Laria's lover. Also, Laria would want to become a mermaid, but magic like that always has a price.
There are witches, mermaids and magic, the writing is lovely, a
Will definitely be checking out more of this author's work!
May 13, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars, methinks.

We love a short story about a trans woman luring terrible men to the water so her lesbian mermaid girlfriend can eat them! I really enjoyed this, though- the ending was bittersweet but fitting and the writing style was really lovely. Also quite liked the fact that the mermaid was very clearly not a human being and therefore didn't think like one.

Some fave quotes:
○ "I didn’t ask his name, because I didn’t care to know it and because no one would ever/>
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I didn't know I needed this book until I read it.
Here we love trans women who lure men to their deaths for their lesbian lover.
I also adored the writing - it was beautifully poetic.
It's an amazing quick read!
Ezgi Tülü
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
“Is that what you want?”
“I want to be with you,” I said. “However I can.”
“Then do it,” she said. Her eyes were still searching my face. “Be with me.”
Was there no passion in her voice because I didn’t know how to listen for it? Was there no passion in her voice because there was none in her heart? Or was there passion, deep passion, and my terror kept me from hearing it?
4 🌟 Read here.

"I only led the worst of men down to the Waking Waters and death, down to my love in the pool below the falls. [...]

All so that the Lady of the Waters might love me.

Well, that and so I could rob their corpses."

Everyone needs in their lives a story about a trans bi woman leading awful men to her amoral lesbian mermaid girlfriend so she can have a snack before they bang. 👌👌


insta | twitter | blog | booksirens | duolingo
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it

not gonna lie, i was expecting another ending, but it’s okay. the things i liked the most were the writing and henrietta.
i hope i’m not the only one who thinks this book looks a lot like rihanna’s te amo.
May 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-freebie
I like the twists and how the mermaid was a monster. 3 solid stars.
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
lgbt romance about a trans girl who brings men to a sea woman for them to die. very good!
Suzanne Rooyen
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm always frustrated by good short stories in that I want them to be novels!
Really liked this! It is a shorter story but the prose is so beautiful and the characters really come to life in a short period of time. And who doesn't love a dark lesbian mermaid/thief story? I definitely plan on checking out one of this author's longer works now.
Maya Gu
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good short story that combines epic fantasy and mermaids. I wouldn’t call it a retelling, but I loved it’s spin on the “The Little Mermaid”-esque trope.
I forgot to mention that the art is stunning.
Anita Fajita Pita
May 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Ahh, who doesn't love a good mermaid story in which the mermaid eats men? A mermaid is symbolic, and so is this short story.

I read it here on
anna (readingpeaches)
a trans sapphic thief feeding bad men to her mermaid lover.................. a+++ for the imagery & the ending but also there's no emotion in this so
Ana ☾
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, read-in-english
(Maybe 2.4?)

I was lied to. I was fooled. And now I'm sad.

So Laria is a transgender thief who likes girls, and more specifically, a siren, and that is hands down one of the best things I have ever heard about. But, despite all the hype of "trans thief that brings bad men to her girlfriend so she can kill them", the Siren is just using her and doesn't love her; and wanted Laria to give up her life to be with her, even though (again) she didn't love her to begin with. So I don't know why every
I never thought I'd say that, but I, too, would lead men to their deaths just to have a mermaid girlfriend.

What can I say, Margaret Killjoy owns my soul. Her Danielle Cain series already ended me, and it's no different with this tiny hell of a story. In the span of like, 30 pages, I just loved all the characters and felt so invested in the story I gasped out loud several times. As always, the writing is just brillant, beautiful and snarky, and the story is just as twisted and crazy as you could expect
Janelle Dazzlepants
A transfemme lesbian thief feeds awful men to her killer mermaid girlfriend? YES PLEASE.

On the surface (no pun intended) this seems like it'll be a straightforward "be careful what you wish for" fable about a girl wanting to live under the sea with her mermaid girlfriend. But the story unfolds differently, and spectacularly at that. There are chase scenes, fight scenes, magic, murder, and lessons to be learned, but they're not the ones you'd expect!

I'd love to read more in this universe, as it
Abi (The Knights Who Say Book)
This is a cool short story about love and obsession and needing to find the balance between them. It's poetic and surprising, although maybe not quite as beautiful as I expected from that gorgeous cover art. I'm glad I just read it on the website instead of buying it because I don't think it was long enough to make buying it worth it, but if you have like ten minutes to kill this is a good choice to squeeze in.
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
He might have been beautiful on top of me, inside me. But the Lady, she was beautiful as she stripped flesh from bone.

A short story about a thief who led awful men to be eaten by her lover mermaid. Featuring trans female character as protagonist, f/f relationship and magic.
Miss Susan
May 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia
very satisfying story about a trans woman thief/assassin and her killer mermaid lover. i am extremely into mermaid stories where they're fundamentally not human -- really, why talk about mermaids if they're just humans with tails?

3.5 stars
"I know what it’s like to need to advertise to the world what you are, so that people don’t just assume you are what they think you are."

This can be read for free online here.

A trans lady thief/assassin lures evil men to her mermaid girlfriend who kills them. Includes beautiful writing, fairytale vibes and a complicated relationship.

Representation: Trans WLW MC, f/f romance and the LI is described as having medium-brown skin.
Ownvoices/author info: Margaret Killjoy is a nonbinary trans
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Between The Shape of Water and Into Drowning Deep, this was a tale of love magic and blood
I really loved this
Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I was emphatically not into this until the midpoint when it salvaged some of my interest. It was all very male gaze-y, though I am pretty certain that was an intentional device.

On the plus side, I think I prefer this type of siren over the ones in The Little Mermaid or The Siren.

I also think the name of the town (Scilla) is a reference to the Greek character of Scylla, man-eating and all.
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Margaret Killjoy is a transfeminine author and editor currently based in the Appalachian mountains. Her most recent book is an anarchist demon hunters novella called The Barrow Will Send What it May, published by She spends her time crafting and complaining about authoritarian power structures and she blogs at

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