Published by Orbit on November 14th 2017
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“Mankind has a responsibility to the Sea.”
I loved this book! It is a little bit of everything. I loved that it was intelligent, well researched, fascinating, entertaining and had me at the edge of my seat. This was a real page turner for me combining horror and mystery with science. A book about Mermaids you say? I say it is a book about greed, the quest for knowledge, a quest for answers, sea life, scientific exploration and of course, mermaids. This book is also about what happens when what you go searching for…. finds you. What happens when your need for answers clouds your judgement? What happens when the worse happens and you are on a boat in the middle of the Ocean?
“Nothing is worth the risk of being lost.”
Seven years ago, the Atargatis, set off to film a “mockumentary” off the Marina Trench. No one survived that voyage. Footage was found that showed a horrible slaughter on board. The footage was written off as a hoax. But there are those who thought the footage was real. There were surviving friends and family members who wanted answers. There were those who saw this as an answer to his/her life’s work. There were those who saw this as the opportunity of a lifetime to do research, to hunt and to find answers. They know the risk and they are all happy to undertake it. This will make them famous. They will be the ones who can validate if mermaids really do exist, or they will be the ones to dispel the myth. They see this voyage as a win-win situation.
Thus, a new ship sets off for the Marina Trench. Full of scientists, doctors, hunters, dolphins, the latest technology and a journalist to record it all. These people have seen the footage. Some believe the footage to be real, some believe it is fake, others go believing they will not survive the scientific exploration. There are a lot of crew members and scientists on this ship (cruise ship). I will not describe the individual people except to say that one character, Victoria Stewart, a marine biologist, lost her sister on the Atargatis so hers is the most personal story, but is still one of many. Another positive of this book is that although there are a lot of characters, this book was not distracting in the least bit. This book is so wonderfully written and thought out that having a huge case of characters is not confusing at all. It is easy to keep track of them as they all have distinct personalities. You will never confuse one character for another – even in the case of twins, YAY! Speaking of the characters, they were all believable. Some are instantly like-able, some seem a little aloof, some had ulterior motives, etc. These characters had flaws and felt very real.
“It was beautiful, in its own terrible way. So many monsters are.”
Once the ship gets to the Marina Trench, the Mermaids make their appearance. Yes, readers, characters you find like able will meet their demise. The Sea can be a cruel place and mermaids are NOT Ariel from the Little Mermaid. They are intelligent, brutal, violent, crafty and dangerous. The crew and scientists quickly learn that they are dealing with creatures who have adapted so well over time that they can survive in the sea and on the boat for periods at a time. The scientist believe they are on the safest boat, it was designed to keep them safe, it is technologically advanced and built to withstand almost anything – ALMOST anything.
I was not expecting to LOVE this book as much as I did. This book is so wonderfully written and there are sections that are told from various points of view. We see the POV of a dolphin, a mermaid, and several characters. This was done brilliantly! I honestly think this was one of the smartest horror books I have ever read. The scientific terms, the medical terms, etc. never weigh down the story or make it hard to understand. I think they actually enhance the story. I don’t think I have ever said that before. I think it is a rare gift to be able to make, say, marine biology make sense to a non-scientist.
Plus, this book is pretty much non stop suspense. I was actually nervous while reading this in parts. Who will live? Who will die? Don’t forget they are on a boat in the middle of the ocean, who will save them? Can they be saved? Will they save themselves? What happens when you walk into a lions den – or in this case explore a mermaid’s trench? Well, what did you think was going to happen?
“And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” -Nietzsche
This book is beautifully written, clever, creative, suspenseful, thought provoking, creepy, eerie and at times horrific. The storytelling is riveting. I literally could not put this book down. This book does not disappoint. As the “pages” turned this book got better. The story built and there were so many characters to like and root for. Knowing that they all can’t survive adds to the suspense and drama of the book. Grant also has very vivid descriptions in this book, I could imagine what the mermaids looked like, I had images in my mind for all of the characters.
Not a fan of horror? Take a chance on this book! It’s intelligent, entertaining and so damn good! A book about mermaids? One might say, “eh, not for me” well, think again! I LOVE when a book can knock my socks off. This one did it. It’s a heart pounding voyage that I am glad I took while sitting safely in my chair.
I highly recommend this book!!!
Thank you to Orbit books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.