Let me level with you — I don’t really like the ocean. I’m a poor swimmer, and I don’t like to be in water where I can’t stand with my feet on the floor and my head above the water. And the ocean has a ridiculous amount of creepy looking creatures in it. Other people may be entranced by coral reefs and playful dolphins, and I’m thinking about those sea stars with the really long arms, and goblin sharks.
If you love to be terrified of stories of the strange creatures that life in the darkest depths of the oceans, you’ll probably enjoy Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant.
Into the Drowning Deep is the sequel to Grant’s novella Rolling in the Deep. I expected it to be a novella itself, but it’s actually a full-length novel. This solves my main complaint with the original book, was that it was mostly a long set-up of who the characters were, with a sudden killing frenzy at the end.
This book only spends about half the story setting things up, which leaves half a story for mermaid mayhem and murder.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Into the Drowning Deep was too much like Rolling in the Deep. You know how Sam Raimi made Evil Dead on a tight budget, and then he got more funding and made Evil Dead 2 and it was basically the same story? That’s what this feels like.
Sure, it’s a different ship and different characters, but it’s the same killer mermaids. There’s not a lot of tension for the reader, because we know the mermaids are out there, we know the secret about the mermaids, and we’re just waiting for the characters to catch up with us.
Much like a big-budget movie remake, Into the Drowning Deep has a lot going for it. A bigger cast, fancier sets, more blood and guts. Unlike a lot of horror movies, it has a diverse cast, too. Not only do we have more than one token female character or minority, but we even have a few characters with disabilities. There’s more than one LGBTQ+ character and there’s even a satisfying queer romance woven into the narrative.
Aside from feeling like a rehash of its prequel, this book’s main flaw is that occasionally it’s characters behave in unexpectedly stupid ways. I mean, maybe I’m a coward, but I’d be a lot more cautious than these people if I was in waters that might be inhabited by killer mermaids, and once the killer mermaids had shown their faces, I’d never leave my room.
Coward or not, I’d probably survive until the end.
If murderous mermaids sound like your idea of a good time, and you haven’t already read Rolling in the Deep, skip that one and go straight to this novel.
Pros: Diverse protagonists, steely-eyed scientists, lots of gore (if that’s your thing).
Cons: Feels too much like the previous book.
Conclusion: After reading this you may reconsider any plans you had to take up yachting or scuba diving. Land-based hobbies are gonna look real appealing.
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