Sunday 8 February 2015

Review ~ The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne.

Title: The Ice Twins.
Author: S.K. Tremayne.
Publisher: Harper.
Genre: Psychological Thriller.
Publication Date: January 29, 2015.
Source: Netgalley.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

One of Sarah’s daughters died. But can she be sure which one? A terrifying psychological thriller that will chill you to the bone.

A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.

But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity – that she, in fact, is Lydia – their world comes crashing down once again.

As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past – what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died?

I’d been really excited to read The Ice Twins ever since the moment I first saw it mentioned on Twitter. Photos of the proof copy on Twitter showed a great teaser which had me instantly desperate to get my hands on it:

I am Kirstie
I am Lydia

I am confident and loud
I am thoughtful and quiet

I lived
I died

Or did I?

I was massively intrigued by this. Just the thought of it… Being a parent of identical twins, having one of them tragically die so young and then the doubts over which twin it was that had died. It’s a horrific yet completely fascinating premise and the publisher has promoted this book wonderfully – there’s always somebody talking about this book online and every time I saw one of the teaser images for it, I really, really wanted to know whether it was Kirstie or Lydia who had died. I loved the fantastic concept to The Ice Twins and I was sure this was going to be a pretty incredible novel. But instead, I found it to be very disappointing – a novel with tons of promise of which none of it was ever delivered.

Sarah, Angus and Kirstie (or could it be Lydia) are a pretty dysfunctional family, still badly affected by the devastating loss of the other twin. Any sympathy I might have had for them never really surfaced because they’re both pretty unlikeable from the start, a couple I couldn’t imagine had ever been happy, both who have made bad choices with seemingly little regret. The Ice Twins mostly tells us Sarah’s perspective, and her life is turned on its head, again, when her surviving daughter asks her why she’s calling her Kirstie, when Kirstie is dead. That line was quite a powerful moment in the book, my expectations were high, but I soon felt deflated with the rest of the novel. Angus was not an easy character to trust but I never really found myself that suspicious of him either because his character felt flat and lifeless. I thought he needed a lot more development and maybe hearing more from his side would have done that, although I can’t say I would have cared enough about his feelings if the book was told in that way.

The twin creeped me out. Shortly into the book, the family move to a lighthouse keeper’s cottage set in Torran Island. This uproots the daughter and when she goes to her new school, I felt for her a bit because she was judged and found it impossible to make any friends. Most of the time though, I felt she was weird and whether she was Kirstie or Lydia, I wasn’t too enamoured with the thought of either of them. There were a few side characters who added little to the story, nothing that relevant or that made much sense anyway. The character I actually liked most was the dog, which was a kind of pitiful turnout really but that’s not me saying the author’s characterisation was that bad, the dog did genuinely have more personality than most of the cast with his reaction the strange circumstances this family were faced with. When the family moved to the desperately uninviting home set in such treacherous conditions, I actually worried more for the dog than I did the one remaining twin, Sarah or Angus.

The setting was very eerie and I liked the descriptions of the weather and the location. The writing was atmospheric and I would have loved to have seen a bit more of that, to give this book a more chilling edge that I found lacking. However, it was an aspect I enjoyed and the author makes sure you get a vivid picture of the strange place the family have moved to, especially with the inclusion of photos that broke up some of the chapters. I liked this idea. I don’t think it’s too common in fiction and it really added something extra to this book and left me considering what Angus’ motives were for moving his family to such an uncomfortable, cut-off area. The build-up of the setting was my favourite part of this novel.

It took me a little while to get into this story but once I did, I found it difficult to put down because I was in anticipation of some strongly delivered twists, strongly delivered twists which never really surfaced. I’m not saying there were no twists, this book had plenty of them, but I found them all a little dull and uninspiring. I was waiting to find them creepy, chilling, terrifying and everything of that kind but I didn’t. I’m surprised at that because I really expected to love this book. I read it in two settings and was sure that something would hit me and make me think that The Ice Twins was more than just an intriguing concept, but that’s as far as it went for me. The main twist towards the end was a bit of a letdown in my opinion. I didn’t guess it, as like a lot of this book it was unpredictable, but I had been expecting something a bit more shocking and this book could have been so much more than what it was. I didn’t mind that I had to suspend belief at times, in fact I would have taken suspending belief more if it brought some entertainment but I found it all just a little odd and lacking. There is a lot to talk about with The Ice Twins, so much more than I can say in a review where I don’t want to spoil anything. I think it would make an ideal book club pick and that everyone would differ in opinion. Personally I was left disappointed.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK


  1. Good honest review with lots of detail. Well done.

    1. Thank you, Tanya. Wanted this book to work out better for me but wasn't to be!


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