Author: Amelinda Berube
Genre: Young Adult / Horror
Format: Hardcover 336 pages
Release Date: 1 September 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
My Rating: ***
This advance review copy was provided to me by NetGalley. This is an honest review based on my personal opinions of the book.
I must admit, the YA genre isn’t usually my first choice when i’m browsing for a book to read but i’m not sure why! This book has proved yet again that you don’t necessarily have to be a ‘young adult’ to enjoy the YA genre!
The main character Marianne starts off having a tough time of it to say the least. Her parents are in the process of getting divorced, her mothers had a nervous breakdown, her best friend has moved away and she is dealing with the normal teenage emotions of feeling like she doesn’t fit in. This, however, is not the worst of her problems.
Strange things happen around Marianne and she becomes convinced she is possessed by a ghost. Determined to try and take control of the situation she attempts to communicate with the ghost which needless to say, does not go according to plan.
One thing I thought was a nice touch by the author is the recurring descriptions of ice and water used throughout the book to describe Marianne’s emotions. I thought this tied back nicely to the title and helped create that chilling, cold atmosphere which the author was portraying.
I wasn’t entirely sure where this book was going at one point. This isn’t necessarily a criticism, in fact, in this instance it was actually a positive because as a reader I felt compelled to read to the end to find out what was actually going on.
The fact that the book is portrayed as ‘Black Swan meets Paranormal Activity’ made me think at the start of reading that Marianne’s character might slowly slip into a more sinister alter ego. I personally would have liked to have seen this angle explored a bit more deeply. However, the paranormal activity side of things is very apparent right from the beginning of the book which didn’t really allow for the possibility that Marianne simply might be losing her grip on reality to stretch further into the story. In my personal opinion, if the paranormal activity had been a bit more of a slow burner throughout the book, this might have kept me as a reader guessing for longer.
I liked how the author wrote about the relationship between Marianne and her mother. The breakdown of her parents relationship has clearly affected Marianne but she’s trying desperately to hold it together for the sake of her mother who is also not coping. Having been in the past myself a child who has experienced this, I could relate entirely to Marianne’s fears for her mother and wanting to protect her whilst at the same time experiencing conflicting emotions towards each parent.
My only real criticism of this book is that for me personally I felt the plot could have been slowed down slightly to leave the reader with the element of guess work and surprise. Having said that though, I did really enjoy this book and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who likes their books with a supernatural theme.
I will definitely look out for this authors work in the future and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!
About the Author
Amelinda Berube is a writer and editor with a small department in the Canadian public service. She holds a bachelor of humanities from Carleton University and a master of arts from McGill. The Dark Beneath the Ice is her debut novel.
Follow me on Twitter @BooksBucks