Thursday, 14 September 2017

It's a Prequel! (Charlotte Says by Alex Bell)

"Houses talked all the time, it was just that nobody ever thought to listen." - Alex Bell, Charlotte Says, Page 112

Charlotte Says is the prequel to Frozen Charlotte . Set in 1910 at Dunvegan School for Girls, it follows Jemima Black, a seventeen year old who lost her mother and stepfather in a house fire she can't quite remember. It answers several important questions, such as why the Frozen Charlotte dolls are evil, how they ended up on the Isle of Skye, and why they ended up LITERALLY CEMENTED INTO THE WALLS OF THE BASEMENT.

There's something addictive about this book. I found it fairly mediocre at the beginning and yet I also couldn't put it down, as if to stop reading would be to break the spell. I think part of the problem was Jemima. I did not like Jemima. The first two people she met, she immediately disliked. One went on to treat her terribly, whilst the other was just plain catty. It wasn't until later that it clicked that Jemima was the one narrating the story...

There's a number of side characters. Henry, the love interest, who's sweet, and kind, and not much else. Or, at least, that's the way he seems. A decision that he makes at the end makes me wonder if there isn't more going on beneath the surface. Miss Grayson, who treated the girls and Jemima in exactly the same way. Abusively. Although, I suppose, given the time period, most of it wasn't at the time. Cassie, who was catty, yes, but no cattier than Jemima herself was with her. Of the schoolgirls, Estella gets the most focus. I guessed the truth about her very early on - mainly because of Jemima meeting Dolores.

The second half of the book will shock you. I got elements of what really happened the night of the fire correct, but nowhere near the entire thing. After that, Jemima becomes much more involved with the Frozen Charlotte dolls and the real games begin... 
Do you prefer prequels or sequels?