Addictive UKYA urban thriller set in a spooky castle.
A castle. A curse. A dangerous summer.
Leo has invited Kate and a few friends to spend the summer at his inheritance, Darkmere Castle: as wild and remote as it is beautiful. Kate thinks it will be the perfect place for her and Leo to get together – but instead, she’s drawn into the dark story of a young nineteenth-century bride who haunts the tunnels and towers of the house. And whose curse now hangs over them all.
I’ve really started to enjoy reading YA thrillers again – they remind me of my teenage years when I was obsessed with Point Horror, particularly the amazing Richie Tankersley Cusick.
Darkmere is a good’un. You’ll join Kate as she explores an abandoned castle with no parents, leading to plenty of scares. It’s full of mystery and suspense and a large helping of twists but it adds an unusual blend of urban romance and gothic details to create a frightfully good cocktail.
Darkmere’s characters are frustrating, but equally extremely convincing. I wondered from the outset why Kate was attracted to Leo but it’s true that many teenagers fall for the bad boys so I didn’t doubt it for a second.
I also adored the snippets of Elinor’s story, a treat spread throughout the novel in little bitesize chunks that help unravel the mysteries of Darkmere’s past.
And that ending! I did not see that one coming but blimey it was good. No spoilers here but I will say that Helen isn’t afraid to be brutal, that’s for sure.
I’d highly recommend this UKYA to anyone looking for a fast-paced and addictive read that’ll make you want to jump right in and shake some sense into its characters. Loved it.
**** 4/5 stars