Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Dolls, Death, and the Deranged - Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell


The weirdest thing about reading this book was not Lilias' bone obsession, the haunting ballad, or the dolls in Rebecca's cabinet. The weirdest thing was that, just a few nights ago, I was looking up scary stories, and I ended up reading about Ouija boards and the experiences that people had had with them. It was completely accidental. I didn't set out to read about them, just to get that thrill of fear, that shiver down my spine.

All of the sites said the same thing: NEVER ask when you're going to die.
"His next, and final, question made the laugh stick in my throat. 'When will I die?'" - Alex Bell, Frozen Charlotte, pages 15-16  

Dammit, Jay!

Motivated by a giant spoiler, Sophie heads off to the Isle of Skye to stay with the cousins she hasn't seen since she was young. Cameron is broody. Piper is perfect. Lilias is strange. And Rebecca? Rebecca is dead. 

She was the spirit Sophie chose to summon.

The plot is driven less by Sophie's desire to find out whether the supernatural was responsible for said giant spoiler, and more by Cameron and Piper's constant attempts to paint one another as the villain of the piece. This isn't Sophie's fault - she's entirely reliant on what her cousins will and won't tell her. What they will tell her is patchy and unreliable. What they won't tell her could fill several books. The suspense builds and builds right up until the climax and is maintained right until the end. I'll admit, I'm bad with suspense, or any sort of mystery. If I don't plough through the entire novel in one go, chances are that I'll pick it up when I'm bored and sleepy and flick right to the end. Disaster averted with this one. Frozen Charlotte held my attention from start to finish.

I love a good Gothic horror, and I would definitely class this novel as Gothic. The setting was almost another character, obstructive and antagonistic, it attacked half of the characters and warped the others. Sophie's cousins live on the Isle of Skye, which is only accessible from the British mainland by ferry. This adds to the sense of isolation in the story.

A good ghost story is one of my favourite things, and this one doesn't disappoint.