Thursday, August 2, 2018

Book Review: The Dark Beneath the Ice

Title: The Dark Beneath the Ice
Genre: Young Adult | LGBTQIA+ | Paranormal
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Source: ALA
Format: ARC

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 (goodreads).

The Dark Beneath the Ice was spooky and addictive!

Plot: Admittedly, The Dark Beneath the Ice and I got off to a rough start. There were a lot of vague hints about Marianne and her relationship with her parents that confused me. Little by little, the author shined a light on Marianne's family dynamic and I was able to enjoy myself, and the creepy happenings! This book is being compared to Paranormal Activity and Black Swan. I completely agree that it captured the eerie atmosphere of Paranormal Activity. The haunting started off as something small, a dropped tin box here, an open door there. And then it escalated over the course of the week until it became deadly. However, this book had nothing to do with Black Swan besides having the main character be a ballerina (or former dance in Marianne's case). 

The highlight in The Dark Beneath the Ice was Berube's description of the possession/haunting. The author had a way with words and capturing the chaotic and claustrophobic feeling of a possession. What fell flat was the explanation of the haunting/possession. It was all quietly explained and wrapped up, which wasn't as satisfying given the explosive events.

Characters: Marianne was a character that took all of your sympathy. She was struggling to have a normal relationship with her parents after their not-so-amicable divorce, her best friend was ignoring her, and she was shipped off to her aunt's house. This was a transformative time for Marianne and I just wanted her to come off on top, and she did everything with grace. Even being possessed by an evil spirit, she managed to put other's ahead of her own needs and fought to protect them from whatever was happening with her body. 

The focal point of this novel was Marianne's relationship with her family. Undoubtedly it was messy, but it was real. Marianne had some real anger toward her father and assumed the role of the adult when her mother was at her breaking point. I surprisingly enjoyed Marianne's relationship with her aunt. Her aunt was part parental figure and aunt and I feel that those types of relationships aren't always explored in YA.

A charming aspect to The Dark Beneath the Ice was the budding relationship between Marianne and the local goth girl, Rhiannon. Their romance was sweet and a great contrast to the spooky happenings surrounding Marianne. 

Worldbuilding: The Dark Beneath the Ice was unique because it took place in both the real world and "the beach", the place Marianne's consciousness went when she was being possessed. All of this created a brilliant atmospheric read and I thought it was clever for the author to explain where the mind went when it was possessed. 

Short N Sweet: This October when you're pulling your "Halloween Reads" TBR, this one better be on it!


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