Review: Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep #1) by Mira Grant

34523174

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. But the secrets of the deep come with a price.

Several years ago there was a popular mockumentary on tv about mermaids. They weren’t The Little Mermaid type of mermaids, either. And there were people who didn’t understand that it wasn’t a real documentary and got really upset over it. When I heard of this book, it reminded me of that tv show and I knew I wanted to read it. This is not the kind of book I normally read and while there were many parts I really enjoyed, there were many I didn’t care for either. My thoughts are kind of all over the place on this book and my review will be, as well.

Science, Science Everywhere! I knew from reviews I read before starting this book that there was going to be a good amount of science involved. This isn’t something I generally appreciate in novels, but I thought I could skim through those parts if I needed to. The thing is, though, that the majority of characters were scientists and scientific thoughts was just part of their POV. There is no getting away from the science in this book. I was thankful I read this on an e-reader that I could easily look things up, as terms were thrown around without any explanation. Even though I didn’t exactly like this part of the book, I thought it was incorporated in a way that made sense and there wasn’t a lot of over the top description.

It was super preachy on environmental issues. If you’re someone who use the terms “Climate Alarmists” or “tree-huggers”, this book might be a little too much for you. It’s kind of one long, never-ending lecture on how humans are bad and ruin the planet. However, the book is about scientists, so you should expect those kinds of conversations.

Lots of great character development, but not very likable characters. The book bounces around many different POVs. While I don’t always like that technique, I thought it worked really well here. We even get the POV of the mermaids a few times, which I really enjoyed. I felt like we got a good deal of character development from all the POVs we got and even though that made the book a little long, it was worth it. Unfortunately, I found almost all of the characters pretty unlikable. And the ones I did like are the ones I probably shouldn’t have (i.e. Michi and Jacques. They were crazy and awful, but fun to read).

There is gore, but not as much as I expected. For being a horror novel, I expected a lot more death and gore than what was involved. There was a lot more time spent on scientific explanations than on horror. There were some really well-written scenes of suspense and fear, but for the most part I didn’t really feel the urgency for survival from the characters that I wanted. While there were many deaths, there were very few that actually made an impact.

Overall, I liked Into the Drowning Deep, but not as much as I was hoping to. The chapters were long and the pace was pretty slow most of the time. I felt like I spent all of my free time reading and it still took me several days more to finish it than I was expecting. I felt like the character development and the moments of suspense were enough to save it from the slower paced science information for the most part, but then I found the ending really anticlimactic. This book is listed as #1 in a series, but I’m not sure if there will be more books coming or just because there was a prequel novella. I do plan on reading the novella and I might consider reading a sequel if there is one. If you’re someone who like a little horror and a lot of science, this book might be for you.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

Review: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous Beauty

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

I very impatiently waited for this book to become available at the library and unfortunately found myself very underwhelmed by it. I was expecting an honest-to-goodness mermaid story, but it focused much more on land and ghosts and curses.

Hester was a likable enough character, but I just never connected with her. She meant well and worked hard to figure things out, but she often came off as immature and even a little stupid. This is perhaps not completely her fault, though. The story is told in alternate timelines, which is one of  my favorite styles, but it didn’t always flow well together here. As the reader, we make a lot of discoveries and connections in the 1800s timeline and Hester would make those same discoveries much later. Because of this, the pace felt off and the things that were big deals to Hester were already “been there, done that” for me.

I also didn’t care for the romance plotlines. Syrenka and Ezra had insta-love and so did Hester and Ezra (though I’m more ok with that since it goes along with the plot). There are hints of possible romance between Hester and her best friend Peter which are never resolved.

Overall, I found Monstrous Beauty disappointing. It did have an interesting premise and some original ideas, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting and the use of dual timelines did not work that well.

2 stars