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Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep, #1)
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Group Reads Discussions 2018 > "Into the Drowning Deep" Full Thoughts *Spoilers*

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message 1: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - rated it 3 stars

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Okay!! So...did it grab you? :D


Melanie | 925 comments I most definitely found myself staying up late to read this book.

Here’s my question for the science people: How legit is it that humans can converse with dolphins?


Josen (josens) | 9 comments Melanie wrote: "I most definitely found myself staying up late to read this book.

Here’s my question for the science people: How legit is it that humans can converse with dolphins?"


Well you know I was able to get past that part and believe it just because dolphins are very intelligent. But I did have questions about them "making the choice" to do it to obtain their freedom.


message 4: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen (jenthebest) | 501 comments This book was a fun summer read. To me it was reminiscent of Sphere and The Abyss, with the underwater mysteries and with the enormous beastie slowly rising to the surface..

Seanan McGuire's writing style annoys me at times, there was too much repetition.

Also what was with changing the name from mermaids to sirens - I guess because they were male they weren't 'maids' and a mermaid expert would think about these things, but the switch felt a little clunky.

I had fun with this, read it quick, and will ultimately probably find it pretty forgettable.


Jordan (justiceofkalr) | 395 comments Okay so, I love this book with a few nitpicks.

1. The setup. While the setup was going on it seemed to take forever. But then once the action started I felt like I somehow hadn't had enough setup to care about the characters. I'd have been fine if there was less setup and they were all just expendable horror movie style characters. But there was just enough setup that I felt like I should care about them as characters but not enough for me to actually do so.

2. The end. So there's this giant female mermaid/siren, who was going to charge the ship and they speculate that's what happened to the Atargatis. But if that was the case wouldn't the ship have had visible damage? From all the intro stuff it seemed like the ship was found in pretty good shape, just without the people.


Bruce (bruce1984) | 386 comments Jen wrote: "Also what was with changing the name from mermaids to sirens - I guess because they were male they weren't 'maids' and a mermaid expert would think about these things, but the switch felt a little clunky."

Agreed, but I didn't get the sirens either, even if they're male. Aren't sirens still supposed to be female, at least from Greek Myth?


Bruce (bruce1984) | 386 comments Jordan wrote: "So there's this giant female mermaid/siren, who was going to charge the ship and they speculate that's what happened to the Atargatis. But if that was the case wouldn't the ship have had visible damage? From all the intro stuff it seemed like the ship was found in pretty good shape, just without the people."

That's a good point, and it seems it would have added a lot to the story to have the ship damaged/sunk also. That would have deepened the mystery of it.


message 8: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen (jenthebest) | 501 comments I thought the little ones fed the big one. So she would come near the surface, and the little ones would clear out all the people from the ship & throw them overboard to the big one. So the ship would come out of it pretty unscathed. That was my take.


message 9: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 9646 comments Mod
Jen, that's how I understood it.

As for merperson vs. siren. I googled it after I finished, and spent a few hours (yes) reading about all kinds of water spirits. I did eventually see the difference, but can't remember it anymore.

I also wanted to google all the biology stuff, but didn't end up doing it. I've forgotten everything by now, but as I was reading I wished I'd known how accurate everything was.

I rated it 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 stars at the time for the sheer relief that it wasn't very horrory at all. As I've now forgotten almost everything about it, maybe 3 stars would be more appropriate.


Jordan (justiceofkalr) | 395 comments Huh, I thought I remembered her saying something about the creature ramming or charging the ship, but maybe I mentally added that in. I'll have to go relisten to that bit!


Jordan (justiceofkalr) | 395 comments Okay, found the bit I was thinking of "and she can slam into a ship this size and throw everyone off their feet." Which looking back doesn't necessarily say that she will do it, just that it's a possibility. So I guess I just assumed from there.


message 12: by Bruce (last edited Jun 15, 2018 11:50AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bruce (bruce1984) | 386 comments Anna wrote: "I also wanted to google all the biology stuff, but didn't end up doing it. I've forgotten everything by now, but as I was reading I wished I'd known how accurate everything was."

I thought the evolutionary biology stuff was fascinating. I didn't actually look any of it up either and I'm not a biologist, but it seems like Grant did a good job of research on this part.


message 13: by HeyT (new) - rated it 4 stars

HeyT | 445 comments When she says she knows how the Atargatis died I took it to mean that the males would do anything to feed the female so they would stop at nothing to get all the food off the ship. I think she mentions something about the males being frenzied by the female.


message 14: by J.W. (new) - rated it 5 stars

J.W. | 219 comments I loved it. Grant does such a good job melding the pseudoscience of hard sci-fi with super pulpy B-movie (term someone used in the non spoiler thread that I loved for this book) goodness. It was like reading a book of a SyFy channel movie but having it be good. Probably a bit too long, but still very enjoyable. I look forward to what’s next in the series though this one could stand alone.


message 15: by Lexi (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lexi It was less horror than I expected and I expected at least one of the main characters to die. The biology was good enough but some of the medicine was a bit wonky. I probably won't read the next one. What about you all?


message 16: by Mario (new) - added it

Mario It was a great read. The dolphin part was completely unnecessary, but other than that I liked the story! It reminded me of Michael Crichton's books.
I also ended up doing a lot of searches online after reading the book! The science behind the story was very interesting.
I will read any upcoming books in this series.


message 17: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - rated it 3 stars

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Agreed with most of you. Too long, too much explanation, a few bizarre plot holes (why would Imagine, hell bent on redemption, sail with a ship that wasn't fully protected? Why did extremely smart people keep wandering off?) but ultimately a good pulpy B-movie creature feature. A bold narrative choice that had the questionable success of creating the feel a low budget monster movie lol

I do wish there'd been a little bit more emphasis on researching things other than mermaids and academia...a few of the characterizations felt off for me, especially against a backdrop that was obviously the subject of much thought by the author.

Authors, voyons. Les Quebecois aren't just "the French in Canada." Stahp. Americans aren't Englishmen in Virginia, why would a culture from almost 200 years earlier than Virginia share much besides a basic grammar with their ancestral home? *pet peeve*


Josen (josens) | 9 comments Lexi wrote: "It was less horror than I expected and I expected at least one of the main characters to die. The biology was good enough but some of the medicine was a bit wonky. I probably won't read the next on..."

Mermaids and sirens were never my thing but I pushed myself to just get into the story, which I did and I thought it was good, but I don't think I'll read any more books with them.


Sarah | 2611 comments Lexi wrote: "It was less horror than I expected and I expected at least one of the main characters to die. The biology was good enough but some of the medicine was a bit wonky. I probably won't read the next on..."

This was me too. I was hoping for just a little more horror in there. I was expecting it to be Luis or Blackwell.

I wish the scene with the Minnow and Heather hadn't been allowed to de-rail so fast. That was one of the highlights of this book for me. I think it would have done a lot to build suspense if Heather had actually made it to the sea floor and explored and caught glimpses here and there and then gone back into the water.

Actually- I think it would have done a lot for the whole novel if the suspense had built a little more slowly. The whole middle felt slow/long to me. Finding the mermaids in the first 1/3 was sort of a let down.

And then at the end I had to laugh when Tory, Olivia and Luis leave the lab, see a mermaid/siren, and then immediately go: "Oh crap we need to find an open lab to lock ourselves in!" You mean like the lab you JUST LEFT?!


Ariana | 657 comments I'm in the same boat as most folks. It was pretty slow for me to start, but then I finished in a rush. I never would have picked this up on my own, since horror isn't my thing, but I enjoyed it. I agree that it has a B-movie feel to it, and so I tried to suspend my disbelief just like I would with a schlocky movie so as not to get hung up on questionable plot points. It sometimes worked.

As someone who's spent time in the STEM side of academia, I laughed at the characterization of the more ignoble and self-serving scientists, like Jason and Dr. Lyons. "Scientists: they can be a**holes just like everyone else."

I think I may need to take a break from Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant for a little while. I recently read the first three novellas in the Wayward Children series (starting with Every Heart a Doorway) also, and I feel like all her stuff has some very creative and engaging ideas in it, and I've liked all that I've read. However, there's also a lot of random philosophizing and repetition that bog things down without adding a whole lot.


message 21: by Hank (new) - rated it 2 stars

Hank (hankenstein) | 1130 comments I am having a hard time with this one. I really liked Feed and pretty much liked Rosemary and Rue but Drowning is falling flat. I know I am in trouble when I don't care after someone dies. None of the other characters really do either or at least it isn't coming through on the page.


message 22: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - rated it 3 stars

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Hank wrote: "I am having a hard time with this one. I really liked Feed and pretty much liked Rosemary and Rue but Drowning is falling flat. I know I am in trouble when I don't care after someone dies. None of ..."

How do you feel about movies like Sharknado, Hank?


message 23: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel | 1327 comments I finished - I really enjoyed it - I think what allison said in her blurb elsewhere is right on - how you feel (or felt for me) about B syfy movies is how you feel about this. And so I was delighted and engrossed. ;)


message 24: by Hank (new) - rated it 2 stars

Hank (hankenstein) | 1130 comments Allison wrote: "How do you feel about movies like Sharknado, Hank?"

Not enthusiastic? But even in Sharknado (I did watch it), I wanted somebody to live. I think I am rooting for the Mermaids right now.


message 25: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - rated it 3 stars

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Hank wrote: "Allison wrote: "How do you feel about movies like Sharknado, Hank?"

Not enthusiastic? But even in Sharknado (I did watch it), I wanted somebody to live. I think I am rooting for the Mermaids right..."


Me too!! But that was some amount of fun for me :)


Ellen | 521 comments Melanie wrote: "I most definitely found myself staying up late to read this book"

Me too and when I did go to sleep dreamt I was being eaten by a mermaid.


message 27: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 9646 comments Mod
I didn't get particularly creepy feels from this, which is fine by me. As a contrast, the book I'm reading right now (China Mountain Zhang) has a scene with water that spiked my anxiety levels like crazy! I think it's because it's so easy to brush off killer mermaids, but it's hella scary when the danger from nature is real.

I really don't do well with horror, it's either ridiculous, but not in a good way (supernatural) or terrifying, which isn't great for my anxiety (realistic).


message 28: by Hank (new) - rated it 2 stars

Hank (hankenstein) | 1130 comments Mermaids on 3! 1, 2, 3, Mermaids!!!


message 29: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - rated it 3 stars

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Hank wrote: "Mermaids on 3! 1, 2, 3, Mermaids!!!"

My real disappoint was that there weren't moremaids.


Ariana | 657 comments Allison wrote: "My real disappoint was that there weren't moremaids."

Yes! I was sad for the giant mermaid at the end who didn't get to eat all those tasty scientist. She came all the way up from the bottom!


Melanie | 925 comments I have an overactive imagination, so books with less detail sometimes ignite it more than explicit writing. The description of the initial A. expedition was what ignited the creepy for me. I just visualized it completely. I’m assuming that is what the prequel short story is about?

It also didn’t help that I foolishly always read the book at night right before going to sleep.


Melanie | 925 comments I am classifying this as a sci-if book. I don’t see how it qualifies as fantasy?


message 33: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - rated it 3 stars

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Melanie wrote: "I am classifying this as a sci-if book. I don’t see how it qualifies as fantasy?"

I think the mermaid aspect hearkened to the fantastical. It did feel like it was attempting sci fi though.


Oleksandr Zholud | 831 comments I just finished it, liked it less than her other novels. The part with dolphin-philosophers was a bit too far I agree. I actually liked that the author let Heather die when she disobeyed the order to pull back: for one should never hope to do want one likes and don’t care for consequences.
The biology/evolution part about mermaids was interesting but absence of real life aquatic life with hands and a tail instead of legs make me think that some kind of extraterrestrial/fantasy/parallel world explanation would work better.
What irked me is that paragraph:
Virtually everything about Holly and Heather Wilson was identical, from their faces to their fingers. Even their hearing loss matched. Both had been born deaf. The precise cause of their deafness had never been identified. The girls were healthy, happy, and well adjusted; the family had already lived near a good Deaf school when they were born. The question of cochlear implants had been left until Holly and Heather were old enough to answer it for themselves, and by the time they’d been asked, they hadn’t wanted the surgery. They enjoyed themselves and their reality as they were.

As you can understand from Wikipedia or other sources on the topic that for some in the Deaf community, cochlear implants are an affront to their culture, which, as they view it, is a minority threatened by the hearing majority (as also pointed in the novel). My point is that the implants (which are still far from perfect) are most effective in the earliest possible age, because the brain regions that are responsible for hearing cannot be developed in later age. This is the same as a Monocular deprivation experiment, which shows that if an experimenter deprives an eye of a new-born kitten, for even a few days, during this period is sufficient to cause major changes in ocular-dominance-column anatomy and physiology and the kitten cannot later see with this eye because there are no necessary mind paths. So leaving it for a decision after the person is old enough will actually steal their chance of hearing.


Bruce (bruce1984) | 386 comments Melanie wrote: "I am classifying this as a sci-if book. I don’t see how it qualifies as fantasy?"

I classified it as sci-fi also.


message 36: by Bobby (last edited Jul 13, 2018 07:15AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bobby | 869 comments Finished today. I used to like horror movies a lot, but I lost interest a while ago. When I watched them, I absolutely loved the Syfy originals. The plot was always kind of ridiculous, and there was a ton of suspension of disbelief necessary, but they were always fun.

I think that's why I enjoyed this one so much. It was a book form of those Syfy originals. I actually like that you don't care too much about the characters, because that's what B horror is all about. I wouldn't be as entertained if I had come to care for all of the characters that are dying in these horrible ways. Instead, it's just mindless fun to read about something ridiculous happening to fake people.


Erica | 4 comments I gave it 3 stars. I LOVE mermaids and sirens and all oceanic creatures, but this was just... ehh I don't know how to put it honestly. Too much description, too much lead up. It would have been better off as a movie. I felt like very little happened for 400+ pages. Maybe it would have been more interesting if it involved more of the female mermaid rather than Tory seeing it, them activating lights, and boom! story done??


message 38: by Gary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gary (plaidchuck) | 55 comments I was really into all of the climate change stuff in the near future along with the self driving cars and advances in medicine. Too bad they really didn't expand much on them. I definitely liked the Scifi tilt of the book emphasizing the mermaids as simply advanced predators rather than some dreamy mythical beings.

I do agree the ending got resolved too neatly.


Tizzy | 7 comments I just finished reading it (read the whole thing in less than 4 days as part of a race to get it done before the month was over, something I'm proud of!)

I'll add to the voice that the book begins too slowly, the ending is too sudden and neat to the point of feeling void, and some of the fiction involved (the talking dolphins!) did the book no favors, actually harming the suspension of disbelief considering this is supposed to be taking place just four years from now.

The horror part also seemed to start a bit too suddenly, and I agree the minnow should've lasted longer - perhaps a couple expeditions before the attacks began. As it is, the novel goes from peace and quiet to all-out war against the sirens in basically one scene, when there could've been a buildup.

Eh, I still had fun. It reads very much like a horror movie, but a very well-written one considering the standards of the genre. It's enjoyable, if not particularly groundbreaking or thought-provoking. Feels a bit like junk food on that regard - you know it isn't feeding you, but it's tasty nonetheless so you enjoy it anyway. I'm glad I read it just because of that, it kept me entertained which I believe was Grant's main goal on writing this.

I've written a full review explaining my thoughts if anyone is curious or masochistic enough to want to read it :P


Clare Buchanan | 4 comments I really enjoyed this book. I couldn't put it down! So the science doesn't always pan out, so the characters aren't always believable, so the ending fell a bit flat with the giant siren being freaked out by all the lights, so what? Mermaids are real and they want to eat our faces. Awesome. I wanted more detail about the captured siren in the tank - we were teased a little by what he said to his siren pals to stop them eating the scientists - I felt that was a thread that should have been followed. Did he tell them that the scientists were HIS captives? Cos that's what it sounded like. So how would that play out? We had a brief scene from the point of view of the sirens earlier in the book, but another to explain the captive sirens thoughts would have worked really well here I thought.

If there is a sequel I will definitely read it.


message 41: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - rated it 3 stars

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
So glad you liked it, Clare! I agree, I was hoping for more about the captured siren. Could have been a sort of "first contact" thing if we'd followed up on that a bit! That could have been cool.


message 42: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel | 1327 comments I agree Claire! But I’ll bet money the sequel will involve that captured siren. It will probably call it’s buddies and eat lots of people on the seashore or something. Hooray!!


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