Book Review: Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant ★★

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“What you have to understand about the mermaid legend is that it’s universal. No matter where you go, the mermaids got there first. Even inland, if there’s a big enough lake, I guarantee you there’s a local community with a story about women in the water with beautiful voices who lure men to their deaths. Where there’s water, we find mermaids. Maybe it’s time we started asking ourselves exactly why that is.”

😐 Very disappointed in Into the Drowning Deep, unfortunately. I had heard such great things about it, and I was in the mood for something chilling and scary, so I thought it would be the perfect read right now. I really wanted to love it! However, it just didn’t work for me. At all. It was poorly constructed, repetitive, unintelligent, and very dull. It was basically Sharknado with mermaids. Spoilers ahead.

Man, I’m bummed. I was very excited to read this one and I had pretty high expectations going in, because I had heard how well-written and smart it was, how gory and scary, and thought provoking. It wasn’t. I was expecting a high-class thriller/horror book about killer mermaids, which sounded awesome. I did not get that.

What I got was a VERY poorly written, bland, melodramatic, cheesy, preachy, boringgggg book about stupid characters. Oh and a couple mermaids thrown in for good measure. Except they’re not really mermaids, they’re like weird mutated frogs or something????? 🤨🤷‍♂️ It made no fucking sense.

The best part of the book for me was the very beginning, which is the complete opposite of what I have heard from other reviewers who say it has a slow start, but really gets good in the end. No. It gets terrible in the end. The beginning is where everything was being set up. There was intrigue and suspense. There was drama and backstory and mystery and shady corporations. I was here for it! I was like hell yes. This is going to be so good. I can’t wait to get out on the water and see what happens!!!

The characters started out great. I was interested to see how they would all come together on the new expedition and intermingle. I really liked Dr. Toth at first and her no-bullshit attitude about the mermaids. I liked Tory and her quest for answers/revenge. I kept waiting for their characters to grow and do something, for the things we learned about their personalities and research to make a difference, and change the course of action in the plot.

Here I am, still waiting.

So, we finally get onto the ship, after a bit of a long introduction (that I really enjoyed!!) and from there, the book just lost all of its great potential and, frankly, started to suck. The moment everyone is on board, we the readers are told how the defense mechanisms on the ship, the armored shutters meant to protect everyone, are not working. Umm ok, so this multi-million dollar, super important voyage to redeem the company behind the first mermaid attack is going to launch their ship full of scientists, KNOWING that the shutters don’t work. Not only that, but they hire an entire security team for looks alone, so that they’ll look better on camera, knowing that the majority of them can’t even shoot straight. They have one lone camera girl to record everything and virtually no idea how to organize a successful research expedition. It makes no sense. At all. It’s insulting to try and force us as readers to just accept it so that the author can move her plot forward. And you know what???? By so heavy-handedly foreshadowing everything, it takes away ANY suspense that the author was trying to create. Oh, I wonder what is going to happen now??? It was so predictable from this point forward.

Another thing about them all coming together on the ship, was the insufferable points of view that were thrown at us then. I guess this was third person omniscient, as the author jumped from character to character all over the place and suddenly we were reading/hearing everyone’s thoughts. It was jarring at times and too, too much. At one point we are in the head of a parrot fish, at another point a dolphin, everyone on the damn ship, and the mermaids. I did not care about half the people we were hearing from and it made the story dragggggggg so much. There was no suspense!! Not everyone needed screentime to tell us some inane bullshit that really had no relevance to the story or to making them more sympathetic to readers.

The main characters were awful, once they embarked for the Mariana Trench. Tory was absolutely useless and her only reason for being there was to create a forced relationship with the camera girl Olivia (cause the middle of a mermaid attach is the best time for some girl on girl action). It was so out of place and made no sense in the context of their situation; it felt to me like a push from the author just to check off the “romantic subplot” box. Bonus points because it was LBGTQ+! More on that in a second, though. The camera girl was such a dumb character and was inconsistent as all hell (her Comic-Con story???? WTF was that??). She was also apparently autistic, but you wouldn’t really know unless you were told. Sure, she had social anxiety, but it wasn’t explored as anything other than something “quirky” to make Tory want to protect her. Dr. Toth became so strange, too. I didn’t understand her character at all. This is her life’s work and she finally discovers that mermaids are real and then gets mad when people want to make a big deal about it? She was such a cliche, dower mouthpiece just preaching about how we are killing the earth. Oh, and they’re not mermaids, they’re sirens. Get it right or Dr. Toth will glare at you!!! Because…..why?? I have no fucking clue why that was even a thing. Because they ended up being male? Sirens were also traditionally female figures, so what is the difference between calling them mermaids or sirens?? I do not get it. The deaf twins were cool at first, but then one was insanely stupid and got herself killed immediately, and the other one was extremely rude and also pretty brainless. The third sister was a terrible representation of a grieving sibling AND the “dead sister” storyline was already played out with Tory. Ugh, good lord. I pretty much hated everyone.

So, I mentioned that the book became super predictable?? Well after Heather, one of the deaf twins, died, the progression of the story was handled SO WEIRDLY. No one even seemed to care. Like no one was freaking out that she was just devoured by mermaids, no one was calling for the ship to turn back or for the shutters to be deployed. It felt so off. It went from that huge, catalytic event, to just nothing again. I feel like if the author was going to focus more on the relationships, the preaching, and the random science bits she wanted to through around, then she should not have had Heather die so early on in the story. Because it made everything after just fall flat and feel unbearably boring. Everyone’s reactions on the ship rang false to me.

Then, for the rest of the book, we are forced to bounce back and forth between all of these awful characters who are worrying about everything but the imminent mermaid attack, while also being told how dangerous and terrifying the mermaids are. Ok, then act like it maybe???? There are a few more deaths of unimportant people who are either killed off because they’re “bad” or to try and make us feel sorry for the survivors (sorry, but I had literally zero connection to Ray and couldn’t care less that he was Olivia’s “big protector” 🙄). It annoyed me SO MUCH that the author made it totally obvious who was going to die, based on how much effort she put into writing the characters. Oh the evil couple that likes to big game hunt? Clearly they’re going to get killed off. Tory’s ex that called her a slut in his inner monologue? Dead. The mean-girl scientists that liked to drink and had the AUDACITY not to know sign language?? Eviscerated. Blah blah blah YAWN. It was such lazy storytelling. I was so over it.

The ending was way too drawn out, even though nothing really happened, and very stupid. Olivia climbs a laundry chute, Tory holds her breath for like 2 hours straight (while swimming right through about a hundred angry mermaids and not getting a scratch on her…suuuuure), and the Big Reveal about the female mermaid came out of nowhere and made no sense. And the solution!!! Oh my god. So these idiots go through this whole ordeal and are suffering multiple mermaid attacks, holed up in a room, trapped and injured. And here comes Tory fresh from her deep dive under the ship to tell everyone that the Mega Mermaid is on the way to eat them all. And her solution is….get this….to turn on all the lights. Are you. Fucking. Kidding me. You’re telling me that the ship’s lights weren’t already on this whole time? Or that some lights from a ship (a ship that this giant mermaid could easily devour) are going to somehow stop it from attacking??? I am so done. I cannot handle any more of this garbage story. After “defeating” the mermaids, the crew is rescued and there is about one rushed page of epilogue to wrap things up (although they leave things open for a sequel that I certainly will not be reading).

Apart from the trash characters, stupid plot, and poor pacing, this story was plagued with really really awful writing. Like surprisingly bad. This author, I found out, is also Seanan McGuire (Mira Grant is her pseudonym) and I have heard really good things about her other series The Wayward Children. Everyone loves it and talks about how beautifully written it is. But after this?? I honestly have no desire to pick it up. Into the Drowning Deep had various grammatical and punctuation errors in it. The dialogue between the characters was cliche and cringey. They sounded like knock-off Jaws or Jurassic Park actors. Characters would declare something extremely obvious like it was some super profound revelation. All the time! The messages the author was trying to convey were way too heavy-handed and forced. Yes, we need to conserve our oceans and protect the environment. Yes, we should make an effort to understand and communicate with deaf people. Yes, animals are intelligent and shouldn’t be mindlessly slaughtered. But good god. If you wanted to write an op-ed piece about environmental conservation, you should have done so. Don’t force–feed your audience preachy lectures in the middle of your thriller and expect them to give a crap about what happens. And don’t add in a forced female/female relationship, an underdeveloped autistic character, and a (really pretentious) deaf character just to check off your PC boxes, ok? Its fucking insulting.

The biggest thing I noticed with the writing though, that bothered me almost more than anything else, was how repetitive it was. It was absurd! I remember thinking that this couldn’t possibly be in here again. Surely that’s a mistake. But no. There were so many phrases and words that were used over and over again.

  • “on the map it says here be monsters”
  • “the skin tightening around their eyes”
  • “dressed like Emma Frost”
  • “came down from the trees”
  • “the ocean doesn’t forgive”
  • “we forgot them, but they never forgot about us”

That’s just what I can remember off the top of my head, but boy was it noticeable. The general science bits were repeated and rehashed constantly. too, as if we were returning from a commercial break and had to get a recap every single time. It was very distracting and read very amateur. I was honestly surprised by the poor quality of writing, after hearing so much praise heaped upon this author.

Overall, this book was just not good. I loved the premise. I really enjoyed the beginning of the book, where there was still some engaging mystery and intrigue. And the mermaids did actually seem scary! I was interested in learning more about them, but it never really happened. The necropsy scene was literally one of the only ones I was excited about, once everyone boarded the ship. Why couldn’t the focus have been more on stuff like that? Also, the way the book was separated into sections, based on the different levels of the ocean: very cool! I loved that touch. However, in the end, I kind of feel like I wasted my time with this one.

I like playing with frogs, but not ones like that!!

What did you guys think about this one? I feel like I am in the minority here, so I’d be interested to know your thoughts!

Thank you!

Title: Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep #1)
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: Horror | Fantasy | Science Fiction | Thriller | Adult | Mythology: Mermaids
Publication Date: November 14th, 2017
Page Count: 440
Buy It:  Book Depository Wordery

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant ★★

  1. Oh, thank you for this! I’ve read so many glowing reviews that don’t match with what I’m reading that I’m thinking I picked the wrong book lol

    I’m just over halfway through and trying to finish this feels like a chore now, I don’t know if I can or want to finish it. The characters are awful, there’s a lot of telling and never showing (the author could surely waited a little bit more for the first kill and, you know, develop the relationships and creating some suspense), heavy handed preaching, predictable twists and if I ever read “the lovely ladies of the sea” again, I’m just going to break something.

    Glad I’m not alone here on feeling disappointed! I really wanted to like this book.

    Liked by 1 person

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