cover image Into the Drowning Deep

Into the Drowning Deep

Mira Grant. Orbit, $26 (448p) ISBN 978-0-316-37940-3

There’s some solid gore and nastiness in this sequel to Grant’s novella Rolling in the Deep, but a mix of overwrought prose and questionable decisions prevent it from being much more than a 1990s horror throwback. Years after the ship Atargatis disappeared while attempting to film a fake mermaid documentary for Imagine Entertainment (a fictional company in the SyFy vein that inexplicably shares a name and nothing else with a real studio), the company finally decides to send another expedition, this time one with actual scientists. Key among the crew are marine biologist Victoria “Tory” Stewart, whose sister vanished on the Atargatis, and Dr. Jillian Toth, a sirenologist who considers herself a leading expert on mermaids. Grant’s concept—mermaids as vicious creatures—is golden (and a late revelation about their biology is pretty nifty), but the prose gets bogged down in cliché (“She would show them all” appears, unironically, as a standalone paragraph) and long and meandering passages with little payoff. The neat hook and Grant’s fan base will still prop the book up, but there’s too little depth in these depths. (Nov.)