ARC provided by Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Book: The Dark Beneath the Ice
Author: Amelinda Bérubé
Genre: YA horror, paranormal
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
My rating: ★★
Something is wrong with Marianne.
It’s not just that her parents have split up, or that life hasn’t been the same since she quit dancing. Or even that her mother has checked herself into the hospital.
She’s losing time. Doing things she would never do. And objects around her seem to break whenever she comes close.
Something is after her. But a first attempt at an exorcism calls down the full force of the thing’s rage. It demands Marianne give back what she stole. And Marianne must uncover the truth that lies beneath it all before the nightmare can take what it think it’s owed, leaving Marianne trapped in the darkness of the other side.
Oh gosh, this review is not going to be pretty. I’m sorry! I think I am getting pickier when it comes to the horror genre. Throw in an unreliable narrator, and I’m probably going to knock one star off automatically. I’m really sad I did not love this book. It just wasn’t for me. But I really do think that it would be the perfect read for Halloween time.
The Dark Beneath the Ice follows Marianne, a high schooler whose parents are separating. Once her mother commits herself to a hospital, Marianne temporarily goes to live with her aunt. While with her aunt, Marianne begins to see and hear horrific things. Of course, no one believes her, and Marianne also questions her own sanity.
The things I liked were short lived: The creep-factor really slowed down for me once I got to the last 20% of the book, and by that point I was forcing myself to finish. I really liked Rhiannon (Ron), but her character started to annoy me by the end as well. I also didn’t understand the purpose of Ron’s psychic mother at all. She was so pointless. And while mental health is a huge theme, I felt like it was only touched in the beginning (doctor visits). There wasn’t a clear explanation about what was triggering Marianne’s visions/hauntings.
Then there’s the ending, which just felt so rushed, lackluster, and confusing. I don’t really understand the point of anything that happened.
The Dark Beneath the Ice is being marketed as Black Swan meets The Exorcist meets Paranormal Activity. The overall concept sounds like my jam, but in truth, I cannot get past a dull, whiny, unreliable narrator. I’ve read enough of those and wish it was a trope that would die.
I’m sorry, I know this review is harsh and I really don’t like writing negative reviews because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But I was left feeling very let down after finishing this book. I think I’m partly to blame. I shouldn’t have requested this ARC because I’m starting to lose interest in YA horror. But I so appreciate Sourcebooks Fire for approving this copy for me, and I always look forward to writing reviews for them!
Overall I think that if you’re a fan of YA psychological/paranormal horror with an unreliable narrator, then you may like this one! And it would be perfect to read in October!