About a year ago, right around that awful dark period of my early post-grad life, I stumbled upon this eye-catching novella by a familiar author. Rolling in the Deep (yes, exactly like the Adele song) by Mira Grant had a concept that I believe wasn’t (and still isn’t) explored nearly as much as its frilly, Hollywood-esque counterpart – man-eating mermaids. As someone who lives in a tropical country and has lived within reasonable distance from the sea for her entire life, I was intrigued. Mermaids have always had a special place in my heart and is a staple in my country’s telenovela culture (seriously, there was a time when mermaid teleseryes dominated the local TV networks *cough even though they essentially had the same story rehashed a billion times over cough*).
After years of seeing mermaids exclusively as these beautiful, magical dames of the sea that just can’t help themselves around human men (for some reason), it was with great satisfaction to see them portrayed as the bloodthirsty, apex predators of the deep waters as I’ve always suspected them to be. I mean it. Mermaids just can’t possibly look as conventionally “human” pretty as mainstream media depicts them. Things that live and thrive in the deep bellies of the sea look monstrous. Their environment dictates them to have grotesque and dangerous bodies. Just look at the angler fish. They’re terrifying! It makes absolutely no sense that mermaids would have human features instead of practical, hideous anatomies.
But I digress.
I devoured Rolling in the Deep in one sitting and could not wait for the novel to come out. Rolling was the story of how a pseudo-science channel, Imagine Network, sent a hodgepodge of experts in the cruise ship Atargatis to set sail to the Mariana Trench. Though billed as a serious attempt to find and document the existence of mermaids in the deepest part of the ocean, no one on the Atargatis really believed they’d find mermaids. And they were right. They didn’t find mermaids. Mermaids found them. And ate them. All of them.
Into the Drowning Deep is set seven years after the tragedy of Atargatis, starring the sister of one of the ship’s victims and a boatload (literally) of other interesting characters, all of whom aim to prove to the world whether the carnage of the failed cruise ship was a hoax or not. Spoiler: it’s not.