Author: Sharon Gosling
Age/genre: YA Horror
Published by: Stripes
Publication date: 09/02/17
My rating: ★★★★★
Synopsis from Goodreads:
We are the trees. We are the snow.
We are the winter.
We are the peace. We are the rage.
Cut off from civilization by the harsh winter of northern Sweden, the Stromberg family shelter in their old plantation house. There are figures lurking in the ancient pine forests and they’re closing in. With nothing but four walls between the Strombergs and the evil that’s outside, they watch and wait for the snows to melt.
But in the face of signs that there’s an even greater danger waiting to strike, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish reality from illusion. All they’ve got to do is stay sane and survive the winter…
I LOVED this book, in fact, there wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like. Creepy forest, creepy children, disturbingly creepy housekeeper and local myth and folklore. My reading slump is officially over!
FIR is Set on a Scandinavian tree plantation in the middle of nowhere. The story follows the Stromberg family who have just bought the plantation and is told from the POV of their teenage child. It took a little while to properly get started, though there’s just enough there to make you feel uneasy. Especially with Dorothea lurking in dark corners of the house and the trees whispering to you unexpectedly.
The forest will not forgive
Local folklore claim Varulv roam in and belong to the forest, and for generations a child has been offered up to appease the forces of the forest in order to dwell there safely. Of course, no one apart from Dorothea and Tomas (a teacher who brings a group of kids to the plantation each year) believes this. As the days pass, and Mark Stromberg decides to cut the trees down in the old forest, our protagonist starts seeing children outside the house, children who aren’t part of the group. Snow storms randomly hit out of nowhere and things take a dangerous turn. The plot and character development was well written. Scattered throughout are pages written from the POV of the Varulv and trees which only added to the suspense. And that ending! I do love those endings, I won’t spoil it for you.
What was incredibly interesting that I didn’t think about until after I had finished was both the name and gender of the protagonist is unknown. It’s left to reader to decide, it wasn’t until starting my review and not being able to think of their name off the top of my head that I realised. I questioned nothing throughout because in my head, the protagonist was unquestionably female. This I loved, it showed that even when you think you know everything, you actually know very little. I was left questioning everything after.
I highly recommend FIR to anyone who loves YA horror, and other books in the Red Eye series. Maybe don’t read it around trees though…
Have you read FIR? I’d love to know what you thought, let me know in the comments.