Having loved Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series and setting my sights from an early age on wanting to be a mermaid when I grew up, I couldn’t wait to read Grant’s latest book, Into the Drowning Deep.
When a ship, the Atargatis, destined to shoot a mockumentary in the mysterious Mariana Trench, intending to expose mythic deep-sea creatures – in other words, mermaids – as real, loses its entire crew in horrific circumstances, the whole affair is, basically, hushed up as a hoax. Nonetheless, there is shocking footage a few a privy to which tells a different and dramatic story, just as there are those who suspect that the crew stumbled upon something they shouldn’t have and paid the ultimate price.
Fast-forward to seven years later and another ship and crew are assembled by the same entertainment company that launched the first. Only this time, the purpose is to find out once and for all what the real fate of the people on board the Atargatis might have been and if what those who have witnessed the footage believe could possibly exist. Tying up the rights to any discoveries, scientific, televisual and otherwise, there are audiences to be entertained and good ratings to drive as well as a great deal of money to be made should all go according to plan – whether or not mermaids are real is, to the powers that be, secondary in the scheme of things. Included among the assembled crew are colleagues of those who never returned the first time and the embittered sister of the entertainment company’s face of the previous doomed voyage, Victoria. Determined to find out once and for all what happened to her beloved sister, Victoria, now a scientist, is also hell-bent on revenge.
The crew, scientists and others chosen to partake in this new voyage all have their reasons for being there. Friends and enemies are made, professional competitiveness rears its ugly head and all the problems associated with living in close proximity on a ship, even one afloat on a huge and dangerous ocean, come to the fore. But not even the petty jealousies and rivalries of the group can prepare them for what the deep is about to unleash upon them…
Packed with knuckle-biting excitement, characters that you love and loathe for their strengths and flaws, science and pseudo-science, this novel is a page-turner par excellence. The explanation for the crew’s discoveries, the fate of those on the former vessel and everything that happens once the Mariana Trench is reached is gratifying, nail-biting, frustrating and heart-stopping all at once.
Even though I don’t think I want to be a mermaid anymore, I couldn’t read this fast enough.
Recommended for lovers of sci-fi, fantasy, reimagining of myths, environmental impact novels, or just a darn good read.