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Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Here's another title that I picked up because I liked the cover. It's dark, it's lush, it says "Utterly Terrifying" on it, it's a Portia book. It was phenomenal! The story is dark and creepy, sure, but it also follows in the wake of Michael Crichton's work—the author of Jurassic Park and Prey--where it is strongly cemented in real world science. Rather than dinosaurs or killer robots, this book gives new life to the mythology of the deep sea creatures known to enrapture men and drown sailors: mermaids.

We open with the tragic death and disappearance (in that order) of our main character's sister. She joined an expedition out over the Mariana Trench with Imagine Entertainment to act in a cryptid mockumentary called Lovely Ladies of the Sea: The True Story of the Mariana Mermaids. Communications were lost, and six weeks later, the ship—the Atargatis—was found afloat. No bodies were recovered, only highly disturbing footage that could not possibly be special effects. Tory, a marine biologist specializing in analysis of underwater sound waves and our lead heroine, is recruited three years later to work on a second expedition with the purpose of finding out what really happened to the Atargatis as well as what creatures are responsible. Tory, her colleague Luis, and many other scientists, researchers, and a couple of reporters, Olivia and Ray, sailed over the Mariana Trench in search of the myth. Needless to say, they found it.

I won't give much more away. Just know going into this novel that there is heavier scientific language, some sections written in SEE (Signing Exact English, an imperfect version of ASL), has an absolutely adorable lesbian romance (but I won't say who between; it's too sweet to spoil), and a good portion of gristle and gore. These mermaids are NOT the pretty Ariel-esque ladies of the deep from the Disney movies. They are ruthless, vicious creatures that are beautifully unique.

I could not read fast enough and at the same time I never wanted it to end. For any mermaid fanatics, cryptid creature enthusiasts, or Michael Crichton fans, Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant is a must.

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