Endorsed as being a book for the fans of Gone Girl and other psychological thrillers, The Ice Twins is author’s S.K. Tremayne’s debut. After one of Sarah and Angus’ twins die, they move to an inhospitable island in Scotland with the surviving twin. But there’s a problem – the surviving twin, Kirstie, is claiming she is Lydia and it was instead Kirstie who died. When Angus travels away for work, leaving Sarah and Kirstie/Lydia stranded on the island during winter, Sarah becomes more and more tortured as she tries to work out what happened on that fateful day.
While the concept is good, it takes a while to get into the plot. It’s only around page 70 - a quarter of the way into the book - that they finally arrive in Scotland and from then on, it becomes a little easier to get into the plot. There’s always the idea that identical twins can be ‘creepy’ and ‘unnerving’, and Tremayne really plays on that by having the identity of the surviving twin shrouded in mystery.
Despite the initial premise and some moments, The Ice Twins was not the most imaginative or spectacular book. The writing style was quite repetitive at times nor was Sarah or Angus particularly likeable characters. Sarah comes across as being indecisive and doubtful – not that the situation would not have called for it – but it was at times rather irritating.
The setting and the atmosphere it created was pretty much perfect. The isolated island is a typically Gothic setting that does an excellent job of setting the atmosphere, especially later on when it is just Sarah and the surviving twin. However, The Ice Twins is somewhat lacking in its pace: it feel odd with parts that are more slow-going than others. A tighter editing could have prevented the tangents that do appear now and then.
Despite the novel’s faults, it is not a bad book by any means. With the expectations that come with being endorsed with Gone Girl, it can feel a little disappointing. But it is a good enough read. And that was it. Good, just not great.