Title: Rolling in the Deep
Author: Mira Grant
Release Date: April 6th 2015
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Genre: Horror, Novella, Adult Fiction
Goodreads Rating: 4.01 (of 3845 ratings)
representation: varied (a lot of characters) – some include: deaf character (ASL); m/m romance, physically disabled characters, various ethnicities, and more
content warnings: death, murder, gore, intense sequences of violence
I now understand all the hype for this series. This was a couple hour crazy ride that I was in so deep. I never really found myself creeped out by sirens/mermaids until reading this book (I mean, Ariel is a gem besides the clear authority issues but I mean). I mean, I was creeped out period – even though the closest water I was close to was the water in my shower, but I was feeling tense?? and scared??? and other creepy things???
This book was wonderfully tense and complex. I loved the world, and it was just so intriguing. I couldn’t get enough of it. It was suspenseful, and the world building was done just right. I do think a few things were missed – even though this was a novella, I do wish the characters were slightly more developed. I think there was so many that it took me a good while to place them all and by then, it was almost too late? However, the characters were all pretty good, and it was a good, diverse cast that all stood out. I just wanted more depth – wow, look at that pun. I also felt like there was just something missing from it.
However, this novella was so good. I’m officially hooked (stop, Mandy, stop), and I can’t wait to devour the next one – much like these mermaids do to, like, everything. An Anna rating since it was so close to being perfect.
Title: Into the Drowning Deep
Author: Mira Grant
Release Date: November 14th 2017
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Genre: Horror, Adult Fiction
Goodreads Rating: 4.03 (of 9691 ratings)
representation: f/f romance (bi and lesbian MCs), ASL (deaf and hearing users), Asian side character, Latinx side character, autistic MC, MC with chronic pain
content warnings: big game hunters, death, murder, intense sequences, grief, death of animals,
I don’t know how, but Grant managed to make mermaids scary in the Marianas Trench somehow feel tangibly frightening? This book was suspenseful, creepy, and makes me have faith that not all horror is just graphic, shock value stuff.
I loved how deep Grant would get into the characterization. This story has a large ensemble cast. It’s hard to determine main characters because there really are just so many. However, the characters felt tangible, and despite just how unlikable some of the characters are, you still understood why they did what they did, and perhaps even felt a few things for them?
This book really was frightening. I was a little dubious at just how scary it could be – I mean, it’s about mermaids in the Marianas Trench? I’m not going to be near large bodies of water and it’s not like ghosts or murderers that break into houses or wait in alleyways. How could I feel tense or terrified? However, Grant did it. She managed to make mermaids scary even in my desk at work, nowhere near anywhere mermaids could appear.
The story was intriguing and captivating. I thought it would take a million years to get through 17 hours. However, I was almost always listening to the story, and I ended up breezing through this story in record time. I also appreciated how accessible Grant made the science in this story that I was even intrigued with it.
One of the issues that I had with this story was…honestly, I felt like we could have had at least 100 less pages? While I appreciated the time that Grant did to craft her characters, she had a habit of going into long detailed prose out of nowhere. We would be in the middle of the mermaid attack, and she would launch into at least 5 minutes of backstory on a character. It was jarring, because I was ready to keep going with the action, but I was left with more characterization.
The story started off really slow as well. I really just wanted to get on the boat and get the story going with killer mermaids, but Grant went on a lot of really long tangents of ecological issues including captivity for ocean animals (like orcas and dolphins), global warming, etc. While I agree with some thoughts, I just didn’t want to spend 20 minutes on them when I’m ready to get to a little bit of action? I knew I was in for a wild, exciting ride after reading Rolling in the Deep, but it just felt like it took forever to get there.
There also comes the question of which came first: the chicken or the egg? No, I haven’t cracked (omg, why so many puns today). Which do you read first: the prequel novella or Into the Drowning Deep? To be honest, I’m still not sure. I read the prequel first, and it truly did help me understand exactly what happened – because trust me, Into the Drowning Deep mentions the first story’s events so very often. However, there is a bit of a spoiler that is mentioned in the first story that does take away a big twist that happens in the full length story. It wasn’t enough that it upset me, but had I not had that little tidbit, I might not have guessed it. But the twists and turns were done really really well in this story. Overall, I still might recommend reading the novella first, since it did give a good amount of history that I could understand what I was prepared for.
Overall, this was such a wonderful story, and I was captivated, tense, and impressed with this horror novel. I definitely will be checking out more of Grant’s novels, and I definitely recommend this to those that are looking for a foray into adult horror and perhaps a different look at mermaids than Ariel. I think I prefer the conciseness of the first one a bit more, but this was still great. An Ariel rating, since I think it’s only fitting.
I also watched The Little Mermaid: Live when I was listening/reading this, and y’all, I’m not sure I can look at Ariel the same way.
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