I think this would make an excellent movie, but spending the whole book in one character’s head was a bit much. It was very atmospheric and interesting, but I did not need to hear Gyre’s internal monologue quite so much.
Gyre is a caver on a planet with some valuable minerals and not much else. Cavers explore to find mineral deposits with the help of super-high tech suits and a team of handlers on the surface monitoring all the readouts. They have to be completely encased in the suits with computer readouts instead of lights because any change in body temperature or actual light could call the Tunnelers, creatures native to the planet who can swim through stone and super-easily accidentally crush a caver. Gyre has fudged her resume and taken on a more dangerous job than normal, hoping to earn enough to get off-planet. She soon finds out that she’s not the only one who fudged things, and her ‘team’ of handlers turns out to be only one person, Em, who is obsessed with some mission that has nothing to do with minerals.
It’s a very cool setup, and Gyre finds out more and more disturbing details as she gets deeper into the cave, eventually learning from Em that 27 previous cavers have died on this exact route before. Em is cagey about what happened, and even about what Gyre is looking for. Again, good story, but every single detail Gyre finds out starts a loop over again: “I should turn around and get out of here!” “But I need the money!” “But I don’t want to die!” “But I kick so much more ass than those other 27 people did – I’ll be fine!” And I get that her motivation is important, but also, I think you need to trust your reader a bit more. If she did the sensible thing and turned around at the first sign of danger, there would be no book. We get that it’s not an ideal situation, but we’re in it now! Just get on with it!
Things are properly tense and atmospheric as Gyre encounters more problems (flooded caverns, supplies running low, signs of a Tunneler), and she slowly starts either losing her mind and hallucinating, or seeing weird things in the cave. She also grows closer to Em, her only link to the outside world.
Like I said, it would be a cool movie – I’m dreamcasting Lupita Nyong’o as Gyre – but I did get a little tired of Gyre’s wishy-washiness. “I’m seeing things!” “No, it’s really there!” “Oh no, I’m going mad!” “But wait, what if I’m not!” I think seeing the action onscreen and less in her head would be excellent.