It took me a while to get into this book; the beginning is monotonous and lacks pace and plot but this, (I think) is intentional, allowing the author to construct a deeply dark & claustrophobic backdrop to the slowly unfolding plot. The crew of Beebe station hate themselves & each other most of the time and there is deliberately no attempt to engender empathy with the reader, the only solace for both crew and reader alike are their excursions into the thoroughly alien deep ocean environment.
Watts has plainly put a great deal of thought into the rigours of deep-sea living and there are some lovely original ideas both in the science (I like the smart gel concept) and in overcoming the inevitable physiological difficulties. However, the splendidly gloomy atmosphere and the science totally overwhelm the linear narrative and somewhat weak plot.
Despites its failings, I still enjoyed this book and would be tempted to read the second in the trilogy (Maelstrom) if it weren't for the fact that, bizarrely, the third book is out of print. I'll probably give Blindsight a go though.