Last year, in the airport on my way to California, I bought The Ice Twins. It was good enough to keep me so captivated, I forgot to look outside whilst driving down a stunning coast road. (Luckily for me, it’s a long coast so I didn’t miss it all). So when I saw The Fire Child on NetGalley, I was quick to request. It’s the next book from S K Tremayne and for me, didn’t quite hit the same mark.
“The chilling new psychological thriller by S. K. Tremayne, author of the Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller, THE ICE TWINS.
When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.
But then Jamie’s behaviour changes, and Rachel’s perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the spectre of his late mother – David’s previous wife. Is this Jamie’s way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?
As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie’s outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife’s untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie’s words:
‘You will be dead by Christmas.’”
As with many thrillers recently, I was very quickly and suddenly taken in by this book. It was unputdownable, keeping me questioning with such a brilliant air of eeriness, I wouldn’t want to read it close to bedtime. That was for the first half of the book anyway. I think what I didn’t like about this book was the sci-fi element. That’s not because I don’t like sci-fi, I love sci-fi but I just wasn’t expecting it. Thinking about it, it’s not even that it slipped into the territory of sci-fi, psychic abilities, ghosts etc because the landscape and setting lent itself so perfectly to a ghost story but it frustrated me that it then didn’t follow through. It seemed to try to take back the sci-fi/psychic element, trying to give a ‘real’ reason for all the spooky occurances but I found the ‘real’ reason completely unrealistic. It was either luck, explained with something incredibly rare and unlikely, or not explained at all – or a character had lied.
The twist, for me, was a little hard to believe. The ghost story stopped being a ghost story which made the whole build up feel very pointless. Though it was a clever way to tie it all up, it just didn’t ring true for me and I felt like the book built in an incredibly way to just take it all back in a rather clumsy and unlikely fashion.
I can’t fault this book for building suspense and creating a spooky, gothic atmosphere. I can’t fault S K Tremayne from writing brilliantly, her books are so different and unique and it wouldn’t stop me picking up the next book at all. I think in this case, it’s definitely personal opinion and a frustration at an ending which I couldn’t believe in, as I know other people have read it and thought it was one of the best twists they’ve read in a long time. I, unfortunately, was a little disappointed. It felt like a book or film, where at the end they wake up and it was all a dream; a cheat. But the tension, fear and incredibly unique and gothic setting is indescribably perfect and I really enjoyed reading this book for the most part.
The Fire Child is out now.