ARC Review: The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Berube

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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. Or even that her mother has checked herself into the hospital.

She’s 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 think it’s owed, leaving Marianne trapped in the darkness of the other side.


**** Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review ****

Trigger Warning: Involuntary Outing of a LGTBQ+ Character

I am very disappointed that I have to rate this so low, I was really looking forward to adding another YA Horror to my recommendations lists but unfortunately that won’t be the case. This was just….bad. Usually I can find a few redeeming qualities but this was a tough one, nothing really stuck out to me and overall I was extremely bored with it.


First of all I felt there wasn’t much of a plot going on, the main character starts seeing and hearing things and believes she is possessed. And thaaaat’s pretty much it. Her parents are separating and she’s dealing with that along with maybe being possessed, there wasn’t a whole hell of a lot left happening and thus lead to my extreme boredom while reading. There’s almost no action, creepiness, or plot twists it just felt like reading a book about nothing. I had zero interest in this book by the end and skimmed the last little bit because I just wanted it to be over. Nothing even remotely related to the original synopsis (i.e. the haunting/possession) happened until 30%! Come on! However, I gave this 1.5 stars because it did deserve that extra half just for me finishing it and not DNFing.

This had so much potential to be a creepy YA horror, it’s about an unknown entity haunting a girl. How do you make this boring and un-creepy? One of the biggest reasons I get scared in movies/books is when creepy things happen and it’s “unknown”! However, I feel the author really dropped the ball here as I found it to be very un-horror like. Sure things would move or make noise but it never felt urgent or scary. This ended up feeling more like a psychological thriller than a horror, which was even more disappointing, especially since I found it to be predictable on top of that.

It also just felt like the story didn’t make much sense and I felt myself asking “why?” a lot. Things would happen but, why? Nothing made sense and not in a “this is a ghost story” kind of way. Fortunately the pacing was relatively fast otherwise I definitely would have ended up DNFing this one.

There was also a ton of extra stuff being mentioned such as Marianne’s past with her parents and dance classes. I do get why this ended up being sort of important but at the same time it felt like too much unnecessary information. I would quite literally dread the moments in the story that would go on, and on, and on, and on about her past because they were just way too long and tedious.

And that ending. The ending was the most disappointing part of this book because it was predictable, not creepy in the least bit, and overall just felt really unsatisfying.


Marianne, the MC, was just sort of okay, I didn’t love her and I didn’t hate her. She was just there. I felt that Marianne was pretty judgemental of others though, she wasn’t always the nicest person. However, I did really like Ron (Rhiannon) though she was a great character with a devil may care attitude and (in my opinion) great fashion sense. Ron was just a good person too, she was misunderstood and judged for her appearance but really has a heart of gold. However, I felt that everyone could have used a lot more development.

It’s also revealed that both Marianne and Ron are lesbians so there is some LGTBQ+ rep, but I can’t personally speak for how well it is represented. However, there is a brief scene where the MC is outed against their will by the “entity”. Of course the MC is very distressed by this especially since this was to a character she had a crush on. I didn’t really care for that scene since it’s pretty insensitive and I don’t understand why it needed to be included. If you want to introduce your character as being gay then do it, don’t do it by outing them in such a distressing manner.

As for any other characters there were a few shown but honestly felt so one dimensional that they aren’t even worth mentioning.


There is a bit of romance between Marianne and Ron, thus the F/F romance I mentioned earlier. I liked the pairing but as I said I can’t really speak for the rep.

in conclusion

What I Loved:

  • Ron’s character
  • LGTBQ+ presence

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Un-horror like atmosphere and events (felt more like a psychological thriller)
  • Boring plot
  • No action, no twists
  • Lots of focus on past experiences that felt long, tedious, and at times unnecessary
  • The ending was unsatisfying and predictable
  • Underdeveloped characters
  • Outing of the MC in a distressing manner


Overall I really didn’t enjoy my time reading this book, there’s nothing I dislike more than going into a YA horror book and walking away with something that feel flat on all fronts especially the spook factor! I cannot say I recommend this one, in fact I recommend not wasting your time and passing on it.

Links: Goodreads / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Amazon

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The Sassy


12 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Berube

  1. Ilsen Leon August 6, 2018 / 3:01 pm

    I’m so sorry this was such a disappointment! I was hoping to read this but now I’m steering clear of it! Hope you find a better mystery read. Have you tried Kara Thomas? Or the book People Like Us? Or Truly Devious? Love to know your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek August 21, 2018 / 9:33 am

      Thank you! I actually have read Kara Thomas’s books before and love them although I still need to read her newest release The Cheerleaders! I also have both People Like Us and Truly Devious on my TBR but they’re two that I’m really looking forward to reading! 🙂


      • Ilsen Leon August 21, 2018 / 11:37 am

        I have to read all of those books but I have it on my physical TBR! I’m glad you enjoyed Kara Thomas’s other works!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Destiny @ Howling Libraries August 6, 2018 / 5:57 pm

    Oh no! 😦 I have heard nothing but bad reviews for this one, and I think this review of yours was the final nail in this book’s coffin for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious August 9, 2018 / 8:31 am

    Ron was pretty much the only good thing about this book; I didn’t enjoy this one at all and honestly I had forgotten everything about the plot until I read your review — and I am now angry about the ending again.

    Hope your next read is better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek August 21, 2018 / 10:10 am

      Thanks Kaleena! I agree with you, Ron’s character was the best part of the book and I didn’t enjoy this whatsoever either (as you can tell!). It really is one of those books that makes me angry whenever I think about it and the time I wasted reading it, that ending was a mess!


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