I don’t care for mermaids. Nor have I ever been interested in zombies. I have never wanted to read about diseases and outbreaks. And yet, I’m obsessed with Mira Grant. I am slowly working my way through everything she’s written. And she’s quite prolific. I never ever would have picked up her books if a friend hadn’t recommended her to me. The reason being I don’t really read scary books—I don’t like having nightmares. But her books are not horror at all. They probe what could happen if. . . . And sometimes what happens are dangerous situations that the average person is not prepared to handle. I know I most certainly am not. But after reading her books, maybe I would make it along a little farther in the story than the first person to die.
Into The Drowning Deep is about a marine biology documentary group that investigates a previous documentary group that disappeared after going to research mermaids. There’s the research staff, the documentary crew, the ship staff, the security staff, and the company staff (that bankrolled the trip). Things happen, people explore, see things, record things, love each other, and some die.
The problem with writing about Mira Grant’s books is the plot is so good, and the twists so unexpected that I don’t want to spoil the gift that she has written for us. Instead I will write about her oeuvre.
Grant is a phenomenal and creative writer who creates trust between herself and her readers. (She even developed another writing persona so she wouldn’t alienate her readers since these books were so different from what she was known for). Developing her characters with care, they are real and flawed and sometimes they hide things from us. Grant doesn’t, but her characters are so real, that some of them distrust everyone. She creates doctors, academics, scientists, and journalists to allow for different perspectives of her story. Using them, she opens chapters with citations and quotations from these respected academics and doctors.
Grant’s books are first and foremost driven by a great story. And supported by strong characters (leads are always strong women—swoon). And both are done with immaculate language and grammar. She places people in her novels that aren’t always depicted in fiction (unless it’s in an after-school special sort of way). Her characters are defiant, sometimes not very likable to the people around them, they are flawed and cannot always save themselves or others. They try their best even when they know it’s not enough. And you lose some of them. And you’re heartbroken. I remember losing one in the Feed trilogy and I had to put the book down and breathe. We lost another one in the Parasitology trilogy. That was a rough one too. When we lose characters, she has built them up enough for us to care. We mourn losing them and they stay with us.
I don’t like scary books. Really I don’t. And I don’t know that these books would be considered scary. They aren’t horror. They are what, science fiction? Because her books are about when science goes bad because humans have tried to improve things. Most of the time, bad things happen because of good intentions. And perhaps that’s what is scariest. Because like always, man tries to improve upon what already exists and fails miserably. It’s our hubris to improve upon things. Curing the common cold. Curing allergies. These seem like good things to eradicate. But at what price? That price, of humanity falling apart allows for others to profit off the chaos, uncertainty, fear, and death. And it is that profit that feeds some and fuels the paranoia and mistrust.
I’ve read a lot of books since I was given my first Mira Grant book. And I’ve definitely discovered authors I love as much as her. But I love her so much that I would say I’ve only found one other author a year that I’ve loved as much as her. She is one of those authors that I will forever follow and buy whatever she writes, regardless if it’s about mermaids or parasites or aliens or boogeymen or the Lochness monster or Bigfoot. Really, anything she writes, I will buy and read because I trust the story she will tell me. I trust her characters will be the kind I want to see and root for her to survive. And ultimately I just trust Mira Grant.