Friday, 22 May 2015

Review | Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant

by Mira Grant

My Rating: 

When the Imagine Network commissioned a documentary on mermaids, to be filmed from the cruise ship Atargatis, they expected what they had always received before: an assortment of eyewitness reports that proved nothing, some footage that proved even less, and the kind of ratings that only came from peddling imaginary creatures to the masses.

They didn't expect actual mermaids. They certainly didn't expect those mermaids to have teeth.

This is the story of the Atargatis, lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy. Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the bathypelagic zone in the Mariana Trench… and the depths are very good at keeping secrets.

I know it's all I seem to talk about, but after reading Feed last year I'm basically making it one of my goals to read everything Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire writes. I don't tend to read much mermaid fiction, for the simple reason that a lot of mermaid books don't spark my interest, but when I learned Grant had written a horror novella featuring mermaids I had to have it.

Rolling in the Deep reads very much like a found footage horror film, though it's more along the lines of Trollhunter than The Blair Witch Project. There's a big, ensemble cast of vibrant characters who are doomed from the beginning, and even though there were a lot of characters, and the story is only 122 pages long, I felt as though I got to know all of them really well, and I was never confused about who was who. In fact despite not having much time with these characters I was still sad when they began to get bumped off this mortal coil.

I wasn't sure how well a found footage story would work in literary form, but Grant pulled it off by following so many different people, never lingering too long, and by intersecting each chapter with a segment from a documentary about the expedition. From the first page we're told none of the characters survive, which is really quite clever - knowing these characters are doomed makes us care for them more, while also making us not too disappointed that this isn't a 400+ page novel detailing their life stories. We're given just enough, and that's why this story works.

One of the things I love about Grant's fiction is that she unapologetically fills her SFF to the brim with a whole array of women, and Rolling in the Deep is no exception. We have a woman captain, a troupe of 'mermaids', a TV personality, and plenty of lady scientists, too. Basically, if you ever feel that the SFF you read is lacking ladies with agency, check out some of Grant's fiction.

If you're new to Grant's work, then I'd say this novella is a pretty great place to start! I read it in a couple of hours, and it was a really entertaining read. It wasn't absolutely amazing, which is why it missed out on 5 stars, but it was still pretty darn good, and Grant's still one of my favourite authors.

I recommend it!


  1. This sounds really interesting! I'm not much of a mermaid fiction reader either, but I'd definitely be willing to try this. I love the horror film vibe that you mention - I've seen a mermaid horror film and it terrified me (I'm a scaredy-cat!), so I can definitely imagine that!
    Beth x

    1. That does sound pretty terrifying! If you don't like the usual mermaid stories then I definitely recommend this, it was a lot of fun to read. :)

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!