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.
I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for a long time and I’ve been wanting to read it for longer. I’ve seen love for it here and there online, but that love was intense. Plus, it sounded out of this world amazing. What hides in the depths of the sea has always terrified me, but in a way where I can’t help but want to know more. And this book seemed to promise just that. To travel to the deep, to unravel the mysteries that hide there, and be queer as heck while doing it. I was very eager to read it and I’m still surprised it took so long for me to pick it up! Trigger warnings: ableism, blood, death, gore
Freaking dang. I’m floored this book hasn’t gotten more attention than it has. It’s something special. Something that terrifying and something that thrills and something that absolutely begs to be translated to a screen. (SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE A MOVIE?) This book is incredible.
The POVs? I don’t think I’ve ever been so in love with what a book did with POVs. This is a masterclass at how to pull off third person omniscient point of view. We’re able to get into so many characters’ heads and every single one of them serves a person. Every single one of them makes another puzzle piece fall into place. I loved how it gave such a sweeping scope of this story and everything that was happening. It was brilliant.
The POVs work so well because this book is written so incredible well. It feels like ever single word was meticulously thought out and carefully placed. And the amount of research that probably went into this, wow it seems enormous. There’s so much detail in the scientific parts and this book is made up of scientific parts. There’s so much about the ocean and how it works and what could be hiding in it. And it’s presented in a way that was understandable, but also managed to seem like someone with multiple degrees in their field would say. Everything about the way this book was written is just wow.
I knew going into this book that it would be terrifying. But I also wondered how much of that would hit the mark. Mermaids are such a romanticized thing and the image that comes to mind with that word isn’t usually something horrifying. This book laughs in the face of that. It also doesn’t waffle around with the discovering of mermaids. It gets straight to the point and it doesn’t stop there.
When reading this book, I would get so into that my sister or mom would talk into the room and it would literally scare me into letting out a yelp. It’s that immersive. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen so deeply into a book and if I have, I haven’t fallen this deeply in a long time. It’s pull is strong and hard to resist.
Along the same line, the tension and suspense were impeccable. This book is always on edge. I always felt like I was waiting for the next thing to happen; always desperate for the next piece of information; always desperate to see what was going to happen next. The whole book follows the same pattern, but I never felt like it got redundant and I never felt exhausted by the pure suspense and tension this book drives forward. It works.
My only complaint is that I would have liked the ending to be dragged out a little longer. I would have liked to see more of the aftermath. This book writes the rest of the story so thoroughly. It stretches scenes so everything single detail can be included. I just felt like the aftermath was so short and so quick, when more could have been added. Though, I do know that this book was supposed to be a sequel, but didn’t sell well enough for the publisher to buy it. PLEASE BUY IT. IT DESERVES A SEQUEL. Anyway, the ending does reflect that there’s more to come and maybe if a sequel had be written, the aftermath wouldn’t have felt so rushed.
Really, this book is as good as everybody says it is. It travels to the unexplored watery depths, it terrifies, it horrifies, it’s bloody, it’s queer, there’s deaf characters and sign language used, there’s remarkable writing and remarkable use of POVs. I can’t give enough praise to this book, because it truly is something incredible.