I cannot stop thinking about this book and I don’t know if I ever will. From the very first line I was hooked. I had to pace myself while reading cause the story is stressful as FUCK but there was never a time I was bored, never a time I was underwhelmed, never a time I had to force myself to keep reading. The ending left me in what feels to be a permanent state of absolute shock and awe.
Where to start with this raving review?
Well, let’s begin with a brief synopsis of what it’s about. It follows a large crew of scientists embarking on a dangerous voyage aboard a giant cruise ship to the Mariana Trench, a largely unexplored area of the ocean, in search of proof of the existence of mermaids. And oh boy, do they find them.
I um, kinda suck at synopsis so real quick, here’s the official one from Goodreads:
“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 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.”
So there ya go! Killer mermaids, ambitious scientists, and an extremely dangerous voyage into the deep. Now, onto my FEELINGS.
Let’s next talk about the rep. There is rep galore! There’s a bisexual scientist, an autistic lesbian, two deaf characters who have an interpreter, and a physically disabled scientist. There’s lots of use of sign language. My favorite characters were bisexual scientist Tori, the adorable Latino nerd Luis and Olivia, the autistic lesbian news reporter. And GET THIS: the autistic character is basically the only non scientist/genius on a ship full of scientists. She’s a reporter. And she’s fucking amazing in her own way, but she’s not a savant or a math wiz or a science nerd who can spout facts and equations off the top of her head. What a way to break stereotypes. I’m so happy. She’s socially awkward and quick thinking, she has some issues with touch and eye contact, she’s super smart and a little blunt at times. She has trouble comprehending the hidden meanings in people’s words. I loved her! And she’s also a lesbian!! And there’s a sweet little f/f romance that I loved which didn’t feel at all unrealistic or out of place in the bloody chaos of their deadly adventure.
Into the Drowning Deep is told from various perspectives. Like, a lot. But not all of the POV’s are those of the main characters. So many random characters get short perspectives throughout the book and you’d think that’d get boring or confusing but it doesn’t!! NOT AT ALL. It really adds to the creepy, mysterious factor. You’d think that a single third person pov would be the best way to make a horror novel horrifying, because of the limited perspective. But Into the Drowning Deep handles those multiple perspectives SO WELL and I was without a doubt the most scared I’ve ever been while reading a book. Ever.
I’ve seriously never read a more terrifying, stressful, nerve wracking book. There were moments I was literally holding my breath, afraid to turn the page. It was like watching a train wreck, over and over, wondering who would die next, who’d make it out alive, what terrifying encounters were yet to come. Sometimes when I’m reading a scary book this thing happens where my eyes just start streaming tears. It doesn’t happen often cause I don’t get scared by books very easily. But when it does happen, I have zero control over it and I’m usually very good at holding back tears if I have to cause I read in public a lot and well, it doesn’t take much for a book to make me cry. There were multiple moments this happened as I was reading. It was THAT emotionally impactful.
And the mermaids? Holy crap. They’re so far from the demure, dainty, beautiful Ariel of our childhoods that you’ll never look at or think of “mermaids” the same way ever again. These things have TEETH and they are ugly as hell. They’re monsters, and they’re hungry. There is lots of blood in this book, yall. Lots of um, spilled guts and severed body parts and horrific deaths. Call me a sadist but I found it awesome. It was horrific and disturbing and awesome. That’s not the only thing that made it scary though. Grant’s writing is what made it so, because she really knows how to build up the suspense, and her descriptions of the creatures and the gore and the research into these creatures had me literally shaking in fear and shock. I’m glad the book is over, in a way, cause that was one anxiety inducing ride. PHEW!
There is a LOT of science in this book. Lots of descriptions of different types of research equipment/methods, paragraphs and paragraphs of facts about this and that. Info dump mania. But in a good way!!! Cause I was NEVER bored while reading them. I WANTED to read all about the science, I WANTED to know more. I was fascinated and awestruck and beyond intrigued. It was SO interesting you guys!!!! It made me wanna learn more!! Even if I kinda don’t wanna go anywhere near the ocean any time soon!!
I mean, seriously. I don’t wanna hear the word mermaid, look at a picture of a mermaid, think the word mermaid for at least the next 6 months. Don’t look at me, don’t talk to me, don’t even breathe in my direction if it has anything to do with mermaids. Mermaids are dead to me. They’re canceled. Just kidding. Kind of. But I will definitely never see them the same way ever again.
ALSO: Apparently the prequel novella to this book, Rolling in the Deep (which I haven’t read-yet) has been optioned for film. While I’m not as excited as I’d be if Into the Drowning Deep were to hit the big screen (because hello, an autistic character in an actual movie??), I’m still stoked. Because there’s rumors it could be a franchise. And if Rolling in the Deep does well, then we very well might get a movie for Into the Drowning Deep, and for the first time in my life, I, an autistic person, may be able to see a well written and lovable autistic character come to life in movie format. I MEAN HOW AMAZING WOULD THAT BE!!!
I just know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this book will stay with me for the rest of my life. I cannot stop thinking about it, haven’t been able to since I picked it up. I like or love most books I read, but I haven’t felt quite this level of intensity in a while. I’m seriously in shock and have not recovered and probably won’t anytime soon. Pick this book up NOW and tell your friends all about it, so we can get the diverse horror movie adaptation we deserve!!