The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Summary from NetGalley:
Black Swan meets Paranormal Activity in this literary thriller about a former dancer who discovers that sometimes, nightmares are real
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. It’s not even that her mother has checked herself into the hospital.
Marianne is 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 thinks it’s owed, leaving Marianne trapped in the darkness of the other side.
ARC provided by Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley for an honest review.
“There’s no time when you’re drowning. Ten seconds could be a year. Two years. A thousand. Clawing for the surface. Pounding on the underside of the ice. Without thought, without sound, without breath, without anything but the purest terror.”
This beautifully written, very atmospheric story was very hard to put down. Luckily it was a quick read as well. The imagery was gripping especially when the paranormal activities were taking place and I loved how everything related to water, ice and drowning because that was how it felt to be Marianne.
Marianne’s character was very interesting. She really tried hard to understand what was going on as everything fell apart. In some ways she was a very strong character, but she also had her weaknesses. Being inside her mind was just as scary for the reader as it was for her, especially during the attacks. I really liked her emerging feelings toward Rhiannon, who goes by the name of Ron. Ron ends up being the friend that Marianne so desperately needs at this time in her life. Although many of the things that happen would be enough to scare most people away, Ron sticks it out with her to the end.
I liked her Aunt Jen for the most part. She really had a hard time with everything going on around Marianne, but she tried really hard to understand it. She was a bit of a beacon in the storm for Marianne as well. I liked the way that she tried to explain away some of the paranormal activity with what was happening with the weather. Some if it probably could be, but not all. Still, Aunt Jen had her faults, like treating Marianne like she was about 5 years old most of the time and not being honest with her about her own life.
The plot is very fast moving, and the arc of the story is only a few days time. But there are some flash backs, especially to her dance days. Her relationships with her parents are also explored through these flashbacks. You really get a sense of how hard it was dealing with her mother, and how stand offish her father was. Although you do get the sense of how much they love their daughter as well.
Although this is being labeled as a paranormal, and it is, it is also about the demons inside that haunt us. Marianne has plenty of demons, and mental illness in her family. This is more of a journey of how she learns to deal with those demons and her own anxieties and depression. The ending of the book really shows this as well as the scenes with her therapist.
This book is beautifully written with exceptional imagery. The constant rain and threats of flooding as well as the imagery of drowning and being trapped in ice really added to the story. This story wasn’t scary so much as it was disturbing. How someone’s inner conflicts can manifest into a living nightmare. An excellent and haunting read.