Dark Water: Darkly Atmospheric, Hugely Satisfying

Penguin2.3

Dark Water

224 Pages
Mystery/Psychological Thriller
Nightingale Editions Publishing
Expected Publication Date: October 3rd, 2016
Get a copy here!

Friendship doesn’t die, it waits…

A haunting and lyrical novel, Dark Water is a psychologically intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession.

When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from. Her best friend, the charismatic Anastasia, disappeared after a swimming incident. But what really happened that night by the wrecks?

4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: that ending changed literally everything!; unreliable 1st person narrator; interesting flip flop/use of 1st, 2nd, AND 3rd POV narrations; love the “Now and Then” feel this has; dark and atmospheric prose; realistic, flawed characters

First: HUGE thanks to Sara Bailey and Nightingale Editions Publishers for granting me early access to this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Now, I’m going to do something just a little weird and work my way backwards in this review. Why? Because mystery, intrigue, all things chaotic! No, no, I kid. BUT THAT ENDING! The ending of this book literally changed everything. Don’t get all worked up–I promise to keep things spoiler-free, as always! I will, however, warn you: the first person POV? 100% unreliable. There are hints dropped early on that you won’t realize were even hints until you hit the last few paragraphs. Helena, our main character, will make you question her, will make you doubt her…and then will somehow, someway, sneak her way beneath your skin and force you to trust her at her word. The pieces come together, but they do so in a way you won’t be expecting.

 

That being said, this book is both weird and awesome in its use of perspective. 1st, 2nd, AND 3rd person POV are all used brilliantly. Seriously, I bow down to this author for putting it off and making it gorgeous at the same time–that is SUCH a challenging feat, and Sara Bailey made it seamless. The first few chapters were a bit confusing–it takes a moment to get used to the formatting and the perspective shifts. I also wasn’t entirely sure who the third person POV was until the very end, though this, of course, was the entire POINT of this POV. It all comes down to perspective, and the puzzle pieces dropped in these sections were meant to be jagged, to not all fit together, to throw readers off the trail.

 

The plot is, overall, a bit slower than I was expecting. There’s a sense of “Now and Then” (this is a movie, for those who don’t know it–it’s one of my favorites, go look it up!) in the way the plot jumps from present to past. It is in no way a linear progression, so if you aren’t a fan of cyclical or nonlinear prose, keep this in mind when considering picking this book up–it jumps around. A lot. For this particular book, it worked REALLY well for me personally–it always came back to that one defining moment. It always came back to the instant that changed everything for these characters.

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I am super happy to have been approached with the opportunity to read and review this title! Helena is the PERFECT example of an unreliable narrator, though she manages to fool even the readers through most of this journey. The shifts in perspective are both gorgeously done and, in some instances, unsettling in an enthralling, exciting way. I definitely recommend this to lovers of darkly atmospheric prose, characters with defining secrets, and mysteries that are a little slow in plot but hugely satisfying in answers. I will be keeping my eye out for Sara Bailey in the future. If this is a debut novel from her, I can’t wait to see what she does next!

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7 thoughts on “Dark Water: Darkly Atmospheric, Hugely Satisfying

  1. Pingback: Sunday Post (#32) | betwixt-the-pages

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