Author: S.k. Tremayne
Genre: Psychological Thriller / Horror / Mystery
Year of Publication: 2015
ISBN: 0007563035 (ISBN13: 9780007563036)
Angus and Sarah Moorcraft are a couple hit hard by tragedy. One of their 7 year old twin daughters, Lydia dies in a horrible accident. While the other twin, Kirstie survives to face the demons of loneliness without her sister. 6 months after the accident, the grief become horror when the surviving daughter claims that she is actually Lydia and it was Kirstie who had died. This doesn’t only cause severe identity crisis for the surviving twin, but also rattle the world of the Moorcrafts.
As they try to give a new start to their lives by moving to a scenically beautiful but mysterious island, the miseries keep on getting more and more miserable. Their attempts to solve the mystery about the identity of their living daughter only end up creating rifts among the family and everything starts falling apart.
This engrossing psychological thriller keeps on twisting the reader along with its ebbs and flows. This is a story of undesired skeletons emerging from the past and posing a threat to end everything the family stands and strives for.
“It’s not so much my own death that is intolerable, it’s the death of those around me. Because I love them. And part of me dies with them. Therefore all love, if you like, is a form of suicide.” – S.K. Tremayne (quoted from “The Ice Twins”)
Being motivated by a particular book by a particular author to read more of his / her books is a testimony not only to the greatness of the first book but also to the writing abilities of the author. In case of S.K Tremayne, I read his second novel “The Fire Child” and fell in love with the author’s ability to knit a web of mysteries and to not let the reader off the hook. Therefore, going ahead to read his only other novel was quite natural.
as far as the book’s ability to keep you hooked is concerned, you are bound to get your time’s worth.
As far as Tremayne’s writing abilities are concerned, “The Ice Twins” is yet another solidly supporting evidence. The way he sucks you into psychological labyrinth and the dark world of supernatural mischief is exemplary. Irrespective of how you respond to the basic idea or how you feel about the characters, you are bound to stay glued and intrigued with his narrative.
Staying true to the other book, “Ice Twins” also haunts you to the limits of exhaustion. As the story unfolds with a gasping pace, it keeps on flooding your mind with questions and makes you desperate to find answers. So…as far as the book’s ability to keep you hooked is concerned, you are bound to get your time’s worth.
When it all gets unraveled, the real cause behind the mystery left me somewhat disappointed
My problem with the book though is with the story and one of its principal characters. The story picks up with a strong promise and the twists keep on intensifying the mysterious fog around the narrative. But eventually when the fog clears, when it all gets unraveled, the real cause behind the mystery left me somewhat disappointed. Though the justification and reasoning is effectively done, yet the actual incident which triggered all the misfortune and confusion, looks absolutely vague; even obnoxious.
The second aspect which I never got comfortable with was the character of the main protagonist (Sarah Moorcraft). Its another thing if that’s how the writer intended us to feel about Sarah, but despite that, even the phases of the book where the intention was to gain her some sympathy, the outcome was not at all the same. Her outlook of the life itself, her intentions towards her loved ones, the level of her intellect and her overall behavior was too one dimensional and shallow throughout. For a reader like me, who looks to connect with the characters of a story and try to relate to their feelings and choices, it was a bit disturbing.
In addition to these two negative factors (which are quite serious for me), there is a certain twist in the story which was not at all called for but it took out a major chunk of the book. Though it eventually got nicely arrayed in the overall scheme of things, yet the very conception of the idea was absolutely rubbish (I am avoiding any spoilers over here).
For me, the final twist is the USP of the book
As I mentioned earlier, despite how I felt about the characters or the story, the narrative and its twists always managed to keep me engrossed. The masterstroke of this narrative though comes in the final two pages of the book. When you start to believe that you have it all figured out and you have got answers to all the questions…BOOM comes yet another twist catches you unaware and hits you hard…real hard! For me…this final twist is the USP of the book and lifts the overall experience to much higher levels than the entirety of the book accounted for.
To sum it all up, though I had serious issues with the protagonist and had multiple disagreements with the rationale behind the story, yet the sheer brilliance of the author’s storytelling skills and the stroke of genius which he pulls in the final pages, the book ended up an above average reading experience.
For anyone who wouldn’t feel the disconnects which I have mentioned, this book will become a real treat. In the end its all about perspective.