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In this terrifying tale, three friends set to work renovating a rundown house in a remote, totally isolated location. But they soon realize they are not as alone as they thought. Something wants them to leave. Meanwhile, in a nearby town, a young doctor investigating the suicide of an elderly woman discovers that she was obsessed with his vanished son. When the two stories In this terrifying tale, three friends set to work renovating a rundown house in a remote, totally isolated location. But they soon realize they are not as alone as they thought. Something wants them to leave. Meanwhile, in a nearby town, a young doctor investigating the suicide of an elderly woman discovers that she was obsessed with his vanished son. When the two stories collide, the shocking truth becomes horribly clear. In the vein of Stephen King and John Ajvide Lindqvist, this horrifying thriller, partly based on a true story, is the scariest novel yet from Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, who has captivated the attention of readers around the world with her mystery series featuring attorney Thora Gudmundsdottir. Now, Yrsa will stun readers once again with this out-of-this-world ghost story that will leave you shivering.


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In this terrifying tale, three friends set to work renovating a rundown house in a remote, totally isolated location. But they soon realize they are not as alone as they thought. Something wants them to leave. Meanwhile, in a nearby town, a young doctor investigating the suicide of an elderly woman discovers that she was obsessed with his vanished son. When the two stories In this terrifying tale, three friends set to work renovating a rundown house in a remote, totally isolated location. But they soon realize they are not as alone as they thought. Something wants them to leave. Meanwhile, in a nearby town, a young doctor investigating the suicide of an elderly woman discovers that she was obsessed with his vanished son. When the two stories collide, the shocking truth becomes horribly clear. In the vein of Stephen King and John Ajvide Lindqvist, this horrifying thriller, partly based on a true story, is the scariest novel yet from Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, who has captivated the attention of readers around the world with her mystery series featuring attorney Thora Gudmundsdottir. Now, Yrsa will stun readers once again with this out-of-this-world ghost story that will leave you shivering.

30 review for I Remember You

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I Remember You caused me to see shadows everywhere in my house, no matter how many lights I turned on, and I turned on a-plenty while reading this novel. If not for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, I'd not have selected a book in the horror genre. Because horror. Especially novels. A movie is done in 2 hours. A book takes over my life. So when you read a novel you wouldn't select for yourself in a genre you don't care for, and it makes you very uncomfortable and you don't sleep well while you I Remember You caused me to see shadows everywhere in my house, no matter how many lights I turned on, and I turned on a-plenty while reading this novel. If not for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, I'd not have selected a book in the horror genre. Because horror. Especially novels. A movie is done in 2 hours. A book takes over my life. So when you read a novel you wouldn't select for yourself in a genre you don't care for, and it makes you very uncomfortable and you don't sleep well while you're reading it and yet you conclude it's hands-down one of the best-written books you've read in the last couple of years? It's that good. Yrsa Sigurdardottir has written the quintessential ghost story. Her style is reminiscent of Poe in that she wastes no words. She introduces multiple characters in two distinct but ultimately merging story lines and yet the reader is never confused and has no difficulty remembering who's whom. She explores the impact of death and loss on multiple characters, without distracting from the action. She made my skin crawl and ratchets up the claustrophobia of being trapped with a ghost. At night. On an island without electricity, batteries or communication devices. And a dog. A dog I worried about endlessly because I'm that reader - the one that can cope with all manner of inhumanity to man, but doesn't choose to read anything where the dog dies. So I'll tell you now in case you are like me - the dog makes it. Worry about the people. And read I Remember You during the daytime.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    When I read that Simone St. James said that I Remember You is the scariest ghost story she has ever read then I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. It may have been a 6 month wait at the library but it was definitely worth it. While I am not a very religious person I will say that since I was a youngster ghost stories always appealed to me. I just love them but finding the good ones is sadly few and far between. There are a lot of different threads through out the story so let me break it down When I read that Simone St. James said that I Remember You is the scariest ghost story she has ever read then I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. It may have been a 6 month wait at the library but it was definitely worth it. While I am not a very religious person I will say that since I was a youngster ghost stories always appealed to me. I just love them but finding the good ones is sadly few and far between. There are a lot of different threads through out the story so let me break it down a bit.... First we have a trio of friends, Garder and his wife Kartin along with there friend Lif, that have decided to purchase and restore a dilapidated seaside home in hopes of renting it out in the summer. The house is located in an abandoned fishing village that is surrounded by the sea. It isn't too long after arriving when they discover they aren't alone at all. There is a presence and it isn't happy at there arrival. Then we have a psychiatrist, Frehr, who's son, Benni, went missing three years earlier never to be found. Soon after his marriage deteriorated. He now spends his time working nearly around the clock to keep his mind from thinking of what may have happened to his young boy. We also find out that a local preschool has been vandalized in a most disturbing way. Stranger yet it is very similar to another school that was vandalized 20 years earlier. That case remains unsolved. An elderly woman has recently committed suicide in a local church and strange markings are discovered on her body. What's most shocking is when they discover she was obsessed with finding Frehr's son even though he and his family have never even met this woman. Sounds complicated, right? Yrsa Sigurðardóttir manages to bring all these story lines together in a most intriguing way. This book has two things I normally dislike, long chapters and long paragraphs, which tend to slow down my reading. In this case it worked perfectly for me. Talk about atmospheric and while the chapters could be lengthy they always end with a cliffhanger that makes you salivate for more. I had to know what in the heck was going on and I was not disappointed. There are quite a few chilling and creepy scenes to be had but the mystery was just as intriguing as the haunting which is a sign of a terrific writer in my opinion. If you like ghost stories with a side of mystery then I would highly recommend giving this one a try. 4 spooky stars!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Trudi

    I love to be scared and suspended in a state of heebie-jeebies. I crave the dread, succumbing to the paranoia and to that always elusive (but much desired) sensation of epic creep. I don't mind when authors reach for the gross out (that's all fine for a good bit of schlocky fun); but where horror's beating heart really lies -- where it lives and breathes in the darkened shadows -- is in the dread and creep. That's how it all began with Gothic fiction. Those are its roots baby, and on some primal I love to be scared and suspended in a state of heebie-jeebies. I crave the dread, succumbing to the paranoia and to that always elusive (but much desired) sensation of epic creep. I don't mind when authors reach for the gross out (that's all fine for a good bit of schlocky fun); but where horror's beating heart really lies -- where it lives and breathes in the darkened shadows -- is in the dread and creep. That's how it all began with Gothic fiction. Those are its roots baby, and on some primal level as voracious consumers of the tale, this is still what we crave when we ask somebody to "tell us a scary story". Of course, horror by its very nature and definition is extremely fluid and subjective (I would argue the most subjective of all the genres). What scares and unsettles us is so specific to the individual. Horror can be, and often is, in the eye of the beholder. It's an emotion that happens in the nervous system, not the brain. Horror can be smart and demanding of its reader/viewer, but the desired experience is to feel during and think later. I'm always on the hunt for the next thing that's going to scare the pants off me. Over the years, there have been long dry spells. I'm getting older, and more critical. I don't scare as easy as I used to and most of my horror consumption of late has been of the film kind, not the book kind. That doesn't mean I stop looking. I'm always looking. When a co-worker brought I Remember You to my attention, I was intrigued. It was in translation from Icelandic. I had never read anything by an Icelandic author before and this particular one was being touted as terrifying. So I took a chance, and I'm really glad I did. This is a ghost story, and like a lot of the best ghost stories, there is a mystery that demands to be solved. I Remember You is a duel narrative that switches off every chapter. The first narrative is of three friends who travel to a remote abandoned village in Iceland. Their plan is to renovate a property there and make it a travel destination for those seeking natural beauty and escape. From the first moments of their arrival, the friends begin to notice strange occurrences. As the days pass, things get stranger and more frightening as the group realize they are trapped with no easy escape. The second narrative follows a doctor whose son disappeared three years previously. His body was never found and the loss continues to torment him and his estranged wife. As the chapters flip back and forth (often ending on a cliffhanger), the tension and stakes ratchet up accordingly. The two dueling narratives eventually collide and combine in a most satisfying way. This isn't a fast-paced story. It takes its time. Each reveal meant to be savored. I recommend reading this late at night, preferably with the wind howling high and loud outside your window and if the lights should flicker, well -- don't be alarmed. It's just the wind. I enjoyed this book a lot. It's moody and atmospheric and creepy as all hell in parts. This would make a fantastic movie (I'm going to betray my reader heart here and say it would probably make a better movie than book). I love ghost stories on film and if you love any of the following movies, you will probably love this book. The Changeling Stir of Echoes Session 9 The Others The Devil's Backbone The Innocents The Ring (2002) and Ringu (1998) The Shining As an added bonus I will ask you: Do you want to see something really scary? Click here.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eilonwy

    Three friends -- a couple, Katrín and Garðar, and the recently-widowed Líf, plus Líf’s dog, Putti -- travel to the abandoned village of Hesteyri to renovate a house to provide guest rooms during the summer tourist season. But as soon as they arrive, strange things begin to happen. Is the isolation just playing tricks on their minds? Or is something truly eerie happening? Meanwhile, a middle-aged psychiatrist has moved to the town across the fjord from the abandoned village to escape his failed m Three friends -- a couple, Katrín and Garðar, and the recently-widowed Líf, plus Líf’s dog, Putti -- travel to the abandoned village of Hesteyri to renovate a house to provide guest rooms during the summer tourist season. But as soon as they arrive, strange things begin to happen. Is the isolation just playing tricks on their minds? Or is something truly eerie happening? Meanwhile, a middle-aged psychiatrist has moved to the town across the fjord from the abandoned village to escape his failed marriage and the loss of his son, who disappeared without a trace three years earlier. When Freyr is called by the local police to the local elementary school to analyze the mind of an unknown vandal, he gets pulled into the mystery of another boy who disappeared 60 years before his son, just before a similar act of vandalism at the same school. As he delves deeper into the past, eerie coincidences abound. I cannot decide what rating to give this book, so I’m going with three stars. My reading experience looked like this: First chapter, with the threesome: Sigh. Could there be any more bog-standard set-up for a horror story? Characters decide to go to a completely isolated area, unreachable except by boat, to a house with a sketchy history, at a time of year when bad weather is likely to make it hard for the boat to come back for them. Plus the characters are completely clueless and seem to have forgotten all sorts of obvious supplies, like candles. Remind me never to go anywhere beyond the nearest corner with these people. Second chapter, with Freyr: All right, this is an interesting set-up! So many clues and possibilities. Third chapter through middle of book: The suspense in Hesteyri is building. I’m really caught up in the mood of this story, even if I do still think these three people are neither very bright nor very interesting. The abandoned town really is creepy, and I want to know what each odd occurrence signifies. I find myself living in the story even when I’m not reading it. Freyr’s story is moving quickly, pulling in ever more threads with lots of potential. Plus every chapter ends on a cliffhanger, which makes the book really hard to put down. Middle of book to final quarter: Frey’s story is moving decently, but the alternating chapters set-up of the two plots is starting to make the continuing events in Hesteyri feel a bit forced. I read every word of these chapters to be sure I don’t miss anything important, but they do drag a bit. Plus I start worrying about the dog more than the people, and flip to the end to see whether he’s still there. (view spoiler)[ He is! (hide spoiler)] Final quarter to last page: Wow, the author brought these stories together brilliantly. I can’t believe she came up with all these threads, kept track of them all through the whole book, and then actually tied them together. I still have a few questions about the mythology and the characters’ motivations, but overall this was quite satisfying. I can put this book down and finally sleep in peace. Last page: Wait a minute. WTF?! And then that WTF reaction made me start nitpicking the whole book apart in my head. This was a solid 4-star read for me right up until that moment. Now part of me wants to give it 2 stars for irritation. Things that bugged me, in case anyone who’s read this recently, or more than once, can help clear any of them up: (view spoiler)[ I’m confused by the double-ghost story. Were both Benni and Bernodus haunting that house? The malevolent/angry ghost mythology leaves something to be desired; I wish there had been a little more about it in the story than just the one conversation with the medium. Líf’s characterization is all over the place. (Although it still beats Katrín’s blandness.) Plus, when all the reveals are being made, I’m left wondering why the hell Garðar would have invited Líf along in the first place. Speaking of Líf, I spent most of the book thinking her husband had died within the past year, but then it seemed like it must have happened three years before? How do Garðar, Katrín, and previous owner just disappear? Who did Garðar buy that house from? What was with the 1940 people dreaming of green? That was Benni, not Bernodus Are the school vandalisms really explained? And last, but not at all least, I don’t understand why Freyr would want that house where his son lay dead all those years. And taking poor little Putti back there would just be cruel! What the hell is the motivation for this? (hide spoiler)] This was a really thrilling read for me 98% of the way through, and then it just ended on a sour note. I don’t regret reading it, and who knows, I may even reread it someday because the story was interesting enough for that. But I do wish I hadn’t been left with quite so many questions, or those really unnecessary last couple of paragraphs. As a note, I assumed the author had made up the abandoned village, but it’s a real place! Half of me wants to go visit it now, and the other half of me says, “Well, not after reading this book and picturing the place as full of malevolent ghosts!”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Obsidian

    I honestly don't know what to say. This story blew me away. And the ending. I got the shivers. A really great ghost story taking place in Iceland. I will have to read other books by this author in the future. This was a great book that kind of takes certain aspects of "The Ring" and then makes it it's own thing. I thought all of the characters were developed very well and then we get thrown a twist towards the end that had me rushing back to read earlier passages of the book. I loved how things I honestly don't know what to say. This story blew me away. And the ending. I got the shivers. A really great ghost story taking place in Iceland. I will have to read other books by this author in the future. This was a great book that kind of takes certain aspects of "The Ring" and then makes it it's own thing. I thought all of the characters were developed very well and then we get thrown a twist towards the end that had me rushing back to read earlier passages of the book. I loved how things tied together in the end and how I didn't get the full picture until it was given to readers. Very, very, good horror book. "I Remember You" follows different characters. First, we follow a group of three friends: Garder and his wife Katrin, and their widowed friend Lif who have bought a home in Westfjords. They have decided they will take their funds and make a perfect getaway for people looking to escape. It takes a bit, but we find out via Katrin's third person point of view that her and Garder's funds are almost gone. The financial crisis has left them almost bankrupt and they are depending on the house to provide them a living. Lif's husband died suddenly many months ago and at times Katrin is irritated with her, but ultimately doesn't know what she would do if she lost Garder. Things seem ominous for the threesome when they have a captain of the boat that they are on that the house they are going to doesn't have a good reputation. And of course once they move into the home to start renovations, it seems as if weird things keep occurring and they start to see a young boy around the place who suddenly disappears... The story then jumps to follow a man named Frehr who is a psychiatrist. Frehr seems to really care about his patients and when he is asked to help the police when they are investigated who vandalized the local pre-school. We then find out that Frehr has a tragic past. His son Benni, went missing three years earlier and was never found. He and his wife's marriage imploded because of it. The book switches back and forth between the group of three to Frehr and his investigations with the local police. When the police start to wonder if a woman who committed suicide has ties to Benni and the vandalism, things take a hard turn. The writing was phenomenal. I was really dumb to read this book on a cold and rainy day in VA. I had a migraine for most of the day so thought, hey I will stay up and read this book. I doubt it will be very scary. Bah. I am an idiot. This book gets into you and you start to worry about every little creak your house is making. Sigurðardóttir ramps up the tension so badly while you are reading that you just have so much tension being built up that you may fly through chapters. The flow of the book works very well too I thought. It takes until almost the end when you start to line up what you have read to find out what happened to characters mentioned and what is going to happen to the characters we have been reading about at that point. The setting of the abandoned village gave me the willies. And even when Frehr is in his own home you start to feel nervous after a while. Everything feels so cold and desolate as you go through this book. As I said, the ending was definitely a gut punch and I enjoyed it. I read this book for the "Ghost Stories" square.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Simone St. James

    Okay, this is quite possibly THE SCARIEST ghost story I have ever read. Translated from Icelandic, it's a completely terrifying tale of three people trying to renovate a remote house where something is haunting them... at the same time, across the fjord, a woman commits suicide in a strange way and there is a disturbing vandalism incident at a school... and a doctor's son has disappeared and there is something weird going on all around and I just wanted everyone to get on a plane and RUN AWAY FR Okay, this is quite possibly THE SCARIEST ghost story I have ever read. Translated from Icelandic, it's a completely terrifying tale of three people trying to renovate a remote house where something is haunting them... at the same time, across the fjord, a woman commits suicide in a strange way and there is a disturbing vandalism incident at a school... and a doctor's son has disappeared and there is something weird going on all around and I just wanted everyone to get on a plane and RUN AWAY FROM ICELAND because it's like the whole country is haunted. The tension just cranks higher and higher until all the stories converge. I had to read this with the lights on, and now I'm a nervous wreck. The Goodreads listing here is sort of incomplete - the book is available on Amazon in all formats. By all means read it but be aware it is SUPER scary. It's going just beneath The Woman in Black as one of my all-time scary reads.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Martin Belcher

    I discovered this book completely by accident and for some reason it begged me to read it and I'm so glad I did. I was hooked from the very first few pages and left at the end with a satisfied twist that keeps me thinking about it (the hallmark of a good book in my opinion). I Remember You is a chilling thriller come ghost story based partly on a true story and written originally in Icelandic by the author, Yrsa Sigurdardottir (please don't ask me to pronounce it!) it has been translated into En I discovered this book completely by accident and for some reason it begged me to read it and I'm so glad I did. I was hooked from the very first few pages and left at the end with a satisfied twist that keeps me thinking about it (the hallmark of a good book in my opinion). I Remember You is a chilling thriller come ghost story based partly on a true story and written originally in Icelandic by the author, Yrsa Sigurdardottir (please don't ask me to pronounce it!) it has been translated into English and for most of the book you would not know you are reading a translation. It can be a little difficult at first reading some of the Icelandic names but you soon get used to it. The book has two viewpoints, one is Gardar and his wife, Katrin and their friend Lif renovating a truly scary derelict house in the Westfjords of Iceland in a deserted old fishing village miles from civilization. The second part of the story is about a doctor, Freyr who has split with his wife Sara after they lost their son Benni, who disappeared without trace and has been pronounced dead. The group of friends renovating the deserted cottage realise over the space of a truly chilling couple of days that they are not alone and are being terrorised by an evil entity. Meanwhile Freyr is investigating a suicide of an elderly woman and he finds that she was obsessed with his vanished son Benni. Slowly these two stories emerge, suck you in and then collide in such an extraordinary and unforeseen way. The descriptive text is bone chilling and truly disturbing in places, the cold and sometimes harsh landscapes of Iceland come through vividly, this is not a book to read late at night on your own, believe me! Highly recommended. Five stars. Why can't all books be this amazing.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kimalee

    No overt blood or gore just unrelenting dread. If you like splatter porn this is not for you. However, if you appreciate a slow building plot that finishes like a freight train this is your book. Great writing and appears to be a nice translation. Btw the dog doesn’t die.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Valerio Gargiulo

    There is so much going on in this novel, it kept me guessing all the way until the last page. I liked the way Yrsa ended the story. It's definitely a very well written ghost/missing person book, with excellent characters and a strong plot. There is so much going on in this novel, it kept me guessing all the way until the last page. I liked the way Yrsa ended the story. It's definitely a very well written ghost/missing person book, with excellent characters and a strong plot.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    “They screamed as loudly as each other when a small hand reached around the corner. Four pale, yellowish fingers appeared, gripping the wood, then disappeared just as quickly.” Me to this book: I will NOT remember you. In fact, I’ve already forgotten quite a lot since I finished this one. Memo to self: please do better at writing reviews soon after finishing a book. It’s not a BAD book, don’t get me wrong. It’s actually quite frustrating because the potential is there, but it’s never fully realise “They screamed as loudly as each other when a small hand reached around the corner. Four pale, yellowish fingers appeared, gripping the wood, then disappeared just as quickly.” Me to this book: I will NOT remember you. In fact, I’ve already forgotten quite a lot since I finished this one. Memo to self: please do better at writing reviews soon after finishing a book. It’s not a BAD book, don’t get me wrong. It’s actually quite frustrating because the potential is there, but it’s never fully realised. A brief synopsis: three friends go out to an abandoned house in an isolated village in the Icelandic Westfjords to start some renovations. But they might not be alone in this village after all... *eerie music plays* There are two main storylines in I Remember You, one of which focuses on the friends in the village, the other follows a man back on the mainland who lost his son a few years before. The chapters alternate back and forth, which can only really be successful if both narratives are equally compulsive. Unfortunately I found myself more invested in the renovation storyline, so it was often with a *sigh* that I would read the mainland chapters. I Remember You was sold to me as a scary book, and at times it did border upon being a little creepy. I buddy read this with Gemma @cemetery.of.forgotten.books and we both agreed that the scares might have worked better if we were reading it on a cold winter’s night, as opposed to reading it with the sun streaming in through the windows. Also, every now and again I’d feel a tad thrown off by the descriptions of female physical traits - comments on their figures etc. I just found this a little strange in a book by a female author. It’s not the best book and it’s not the worst, but if you’re looking for a thriller with creepy elements it might be worth checking out! 3 stars.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Barbara K

    A well crafted blend of crime novel and ghost story. Yrsa Sigurðardóttir makes the most of the bleak and isolated Icelandic setting to ratchet up tension and draw us in to multiple stories. One involves three friends set on renovating an old house in a remote location accessible only by boat. In the next, a policeman and a psychiatrist investigate a 60 year old mystery that appears to having ongoing repercussions. And there is a third, having to do with the disappearance of the psychiatrist’s yo A well crafted blend of crime novel and ghost story. Yrsa Sigurðardóttir makes the most of the bleak and isolated Icelandic setting to ratchet up tension and draw us in to multiple stories. One involves three friends set on renovating an old house in a remote location accessible only by boat. In the next, a policeman and a psychiatrist investigate a 60 year old mystery that appears to having ongoing repercussions. And there is a third, having to do with the disappearance of the psychiatrist’s young son three years prior to these events. This read was even more enjoyable than it might have been otherwise because my buddy-readers, Nancy and Lisa, and I each saw the book from a different perspective. Our wrap up zoom discussion session over the weekend pulled it all together in ways that heightened everyone’s appreciation. I won’t say more about the plot here because separating reality from ghost story was part of the fun. Recommended for fans of ghost stories, or mystery readers who don’t mind some potential ghastliness thrown in

  12. 4 out of 5

    Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)

    A 'Slow' Story!... Finally, I'm finished with this book! I felt like I kept reading & reading it would just never end! I wanted to read this book because I really like Simone St. James and she gave this book 5 stars on GR. I figured since Simone knows how to write fantastic ghost stories then it must be good. Well that just goes to show you that everyone has different tastes and expectations. A 5 star review for one person, may be a 3 star review for someone else...   Since I spent so much time on A 'Slow' Story!... Finally, I'm finished with this book! I felt like I kept reading & reading it would just never end! I wanted to read this book because I really like Simone St. James and she gave this book 5 stars on GR. I figured since Simone knows how to write fantastic ghost stories then it must be good. Well that just goes to show you that everyone has different tastes and expectations. A 5 star review for one person, may be a 3 star review for someone else...   Since I spent so much time on this book already, I'm going to make this short. The story was slow & boring. There were a couple of chapters that had some creepy parts but that was about it. All of the suspense was taken out of it by the author's writing style of tell, tell, tell. It had the perfect Icelandic setting and could have been very atmospheric but even it wasn't done well. The majority of the story actually read more like crime fiction, so if you're in the mood for a good creepy ghost story, I would find something else to read!  #20 Books of Summer Bingo 1. I Remember You- Yrsa Sigurđardóttir (Book Bust or Bummer)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dimitris Passas (TapTheLine)

    WOW! Scandi Noir at its best! This is the best novel by the queen of Icelandic thriller/horror genre Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. Great read, highly recommended!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Imi

    I Remember You is a chilling, suspenseful ghost story, written in the style of a Scandinavian thriller. The plot is built several strange, seemingly unrelated mysteries, which are slowly uncovered and investigated by a psychiatrist, named Freyr, in the town of Isafjördur; the disappearances of two children decades apart, a peculiar suicide of an elderly woman and the mysterious vandalism of a school. There is so much going on in this book, including numerous revelations and twists to keep the pl I Remember You is a chilling, suspenseful ghost story, written in the style of a Scandinavian thriller. The plot is built several strange, seemingly unrelated mysteries, which are slowly uncovered and investigated by a psychiatrist, named Freyr, in the town of Isafjördur; the disappearances of two children decades apart, a peculiar suicide of an elderly woman and the mysterious vandalism of a school. There is so much going on in this book, including numerous revelations and twists to keep the plot speeding along, and the connections between all these strange happenings are cleverly done. The story and the links between these different people and places are very complicated, and although I'd guessed a few of the revelations by the end, most of the twists were surprising and immensely satisfying. However, at its core, this novel is an atmospheric and tense ghost story, one without any unnecessary gore, and the most terrifying scenes take place far from Isafjördur, in a haunted house in an isolated village of Hesteyri. Yes, Sigurðardóttir uses pretty much every horror cliché imaginable (haunted house, creepy giggling children, strange noises in the night...), but that didn't matter, as I felt that the supernatural element was so well done. I was constantly on edge reading this. Think twice before reading this before bedtime! I haven't enjoyed reading a book as much as this in a long time, and this would have been an easy 5 stars, if not for my slight disappointment of the characterisation of one character in particular, (view spoiler)[Líf. I couldn't help finding the treatment of her character a little heavy-handed, as it seemed so obvious that the reader wasn't meant to like her, and this made her connection in Freyr's story and her ending much more predictable than the rest of the revelations. I found her character frustrating the whole way through (not that she was the idiot Katrín seemed to think she was. In fact sometimes her actions made a whole lot more sense than Katrín's...), mostly because I liked the other characters so much and I could see that Líf was only there because she was meant to be some kind of plot device later on. Well, I was right about that, but it was frustrating that she was indirectly blamed for certain things, just because she was attractive woman that Freyr or any man could never be expected to resist and not have an affair with. Of course. It's a shame because her character could have been really interesting, what with her manipulative nature, her apparent murder of her husband and attempted murder of Katrín, but things didn't turn out that way. (hide spoiler)] Really that's one minor complaint though, as the rest of it was utterly fantastic, making this one of the most enjoyable books I've read all year. Highly recommended!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Crime by the Book

    THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. Part Nordic Noir, part bone-chilling ghost story, I Remember You is my personal favorite book by one of my top favorite authors. Read this story if you want an Icelandic spin on a classic haunted house premise. It's a slow-burn but it's totally creepy, and it laces together a mystery with some very chilling and authentic-feeling supernatural touches. LOVE this book! Read my full review on the CBTB blog! http://crimebythebook.com/blog/2018/7... THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. Part Nordic Noir, part bone-chilling ghost story, I Remember You is my personal favorite book by one of my top favorite authors. Read this story if you want an Icelandic spin on a classic haunted house premise. It's a slow-burn but it's totally creepy, and it laces together a mystery with some very chilling and authentic-feeling supernatural touches. LOVE this book! Read my full review on the CBTB blog! http://crimebythebook.com/blog/2018/7...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bea

    Five stars for managing to be both very scary and emotionally gut wrenching. The story was literally chilling! Such a good mystery with supernatural elements.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katharina

    Now I need to get my hands on some Care Bear DVDs... Otherwise I won't be able to sleep again. Ever. Now I need to get my hands on some Care Bear DVDs... Otherwise I won't be able to sleep again. Ever.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    Wavered between 3 and 4 stars. Ultimately I went with 3 because I was disappointed by aspects of the characterisation and didn't find the conclusion of the book as successful or effective as the earlier parts. Still, there is much to enjoy here and I definitely liked this much more than the previous book I've read by Sigurðardóttir, The Day is Dark. That one was part of a crime series, whereas I Remember You is a standalone novel which is part horror story, part mystery. The central plot involve Wavered between 3 and 4 stars. Ultimately I went with 3 because I was disappointed by aspects of the characterisation and didn't find the conclusion of the book as successful or effective as the earlier parts. Still, there is much to enjoy here and I definitely liked this much more than the previous book I've read by Sigurðardóttir, The Day is Dark. That one was part of a crime series, whereas I Remember You is a standalone novel which is part horror story, part mystery. The central plot involves a couple, Garðar and Katrín, along with their friend Líf, travelling to Hesteyri, where they have jointly bought an old house they intend to renovate and turn into a guesthouse. It's an extremely isolated community, cut off from any easy route back home or way of communicating with the outside world, and now winter is approaching, the village is deserted apart from them. Meanwhile, in the town of Isafjördur, a psychiatrist named Freyr is assisting in the investigation of a strange act of violent vandalism, in which a preschool has been ransacked and defaced. So much is crammed into this book. There's the ghost story surrounding Garðar, Katrín and Líf's house. There's the vandalism of the school, its similarity to a crime decades earlier, and the mysterious fate of various children who attended the school at that time. There's the sudden, inexplicable suicide of an elderly woman named Halla, the strange scars found on her body, and how these things might be linked to the other events in the story. There's the enduring mystery of the disappearance of Freyr's son, and how this may be connected to the disppearance of another boy, not to mention the fact that Freyr's ex-wife Sara is convinced that Benni is trying to communicate with her from beyond the grave. Add in the characters' relationships with each other (often complicated) and the many revelations that unfold as Freyr and his police colleague Dagný's investigations progress, and the story is practically bursting at the seams with information and overlapping plot threads. I honestly found the ghost story in I Remember You one of the most terrifying I've read. Yes, it employs pretty much every cliché of the genre, but what's more frightening than an evil, GIGGLING child ghost?! (view spoiler)[THE HAND!!! (hide spoiler)] The tension is ratcheted up to an almost unbearable level and, about halfway through, I reached that point of terror and involvement where I was almost too frightened to keep reading, but so riveted I just HAD to find out what would happen next. The mystery is more prosaic, and the chapters about Freyr interested me much less than those set on Hesteyri (except when the ghost appeared). That said, the supernatural thread running through every event in the story makes it consistently interesting and avoids too much predictability. One of the things I found most offputting about The Day is Dark was the too-obvious and somewhat clumsy foreshadowing involved in the portrayal of one particular character; unfortunately, the same thing happens here. (view spoiler)[Líf, like Friðrikka in The Day is Dark, has a personality which is all over the place, some of her behaviour implausible, while at other times her actions are described as irrational or extreme when they plainly aren't. (In fact, I felt she was actually being more sensible than Garðar and Katrín, whose optimism about their situation/the 'haunting' often bordered on stupidity.) She is too clearly intended to be impossible to like, and I knew something was being set up here, I just didn't know what. And, sure enough, in the end she turns out to be a scapegoat for so many things, implicitly responsible for the disappearance of Freyr's son because he was cheating on his wife with Líf when the boy went missing (and of course, it was all her fault because she was so attractive that he could never have been expected to resist her). (Obviously, she has committed a real crime as well in the apparent murder of her husband - but I was still a bit taken aback that Freyr felt no sympathy or pity for her at all at the end; her death was pretty horrible.) (hide spoiler)] With quite a lot of background detail about the characters' lives, and unresolved suggestions of a budding romance between Freyr and Dagný, I wouldn't be surprised if this turned out to be the start of a new series. There is certainly mileage in these characters, and I'd happily read another mystery investigated by them, provided it contained some of the strange and dark elements that made this one so gripping. This really restored my interest in Sigurðardóttir's other work - and it has a deliciously dark ending as well, (view spoiler)[although I was disappointed Katrín had to be killed off. Think I would have preferred Katrín to live and Líf to end up as the vengeful ghost (hide spoiler)] . A pity about some of the characterisation problems, because without those it would easily have been 4 stars.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    I Remember You is a great book. Not especially scary, but very interesting, especially when you start to realize how both storylines (the three friends on the island and the doctor with the missing son) are connected towards the end of the book. I think the ending was great especially the very last part. Muahahaha I listened to the audiobook version and I quite liked it and I recommend reading or listening to this book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This was creepy enough that I had to designate an official "stop reading this" time every day when the sky grew dark and switch to the new Sam Irby to take my mind off of horrible ghost children haunting the damaged house you'd never find me trying to renovate on a deserted island in the middle of winter. This was creepy enough that I had to designate an official "stop reading this" time every day when the sky grew dark and switch to the new Sam Irby to take my mind off of horrible ghost children haunting the damaged house you'd never find me trying to renovate on a deserted island in the middle of winter.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jon Recluse

    I picked up this book on the recommendation of my book buddy Tressa, and I am glad I did. I REMEMBER YOU is a brilliant literary ghost story/mystery that delivers in spades. Yrsa Siggurdardottir weaves a chilling tale of multiple mysteries, past and present, with a classic ghost story, allowing each to unfold naturally, like a strand of ivy, as they wander towards their singular point of origin. Highly recommended.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Antonomasia

    An Icelandic ghost story (which doesn't really suit its American high-school sounding title) that for me at least, had a great balance of the amusing and the slightly edgy. A lot of people have said they found this book genuinely scary, and I can see how that could happen as it plays a lot on universals like noises heard in the house, odd shadows, things seen out of the corner of the eye, dogs howling unexpectedly. I can't pretend to be hardened, because only a couple of years ago I did get jump An Icelandic ghost story (which doesn't really suit its American high-school sounding title) that for me at least, had a great balance of the amusing and the slightly edgy. A lot of people have said they found this book genuinely scary, and I can see how that could happen as it plays a lot on universals like noises heard in the house, odd shadows, things seen out of the corner of the eye, dogs howling unexpectedly. I can't pretend to be hardened, because only a couple of years ago I did get jumpy after watching some 1940s and 50s horror films (the idea of ghosts specifically doesn't worry me, though they did make me very sensitive to noises) - but for whatever reason, whether it's the different medium or any number of other factors, this story didn't have that effect. I read it like a type of low fantasy, curious to find out what the natural laws in this particular world would be, what would turn out to be human, what would turn out to be supernatural. It may have been that open mindedness wrt causation that meant I found the big reveals in the later part of the book genuinely suprising. A couple of supporting points were easy for the reader to work out earlier than the protagonists, because the author gives the audience more information than the two separate parties of characters have. It's also not impossible that someone reading this when more awake than I was might suspect certain other things earlier. Alternating chapters tell the stories of two sets of people, with significant debt to horror stock characters. The first are the group of poorly-prepared people in an isolated building - silly yuppies from Reykjavík plus one teacher, who bought a run down house just before the crash, who have gone there in the winter to try and do it up cheaply so they can get some money back renting it out in summer. [At one point sidetracked into looking at pictures of Hesteyri, I can see why people would want to go there - stunning scenery, also fluffy baby arctic foxes.] A subtext of the story is the reckoning of the financial crisis on the shallow lifestyle that had dominated before. One of the owners has already died, peacefully, before the book opens, which lends foreboding, and the silliness of the endeavour is emphasised in true horror movie fashion: The three of them, all alone in the dead of winter in a deserted village way up north in the middle of nowhere, without electricity or heat, and the only way back by sea. If something happened, they had no one to rely on but themselves. Although it's not *quite* as stupid a project in weather terms as it might first sound - climate charts for this coastal part of Iceland show winter temperatures only slightly lower than the coldest bits of Highland Scotland - it's not average minus 30 and the like. I have a guilty-pleasure liking for books and programmes about doing up old houses (and a less embarrassed one for stories about the outdoors) and for a while I wanted to hear more about the work and the plans, hoping that Sarah Beeney would come along and give them a lecture. There is amusingly obvious foreshadowing at times, but more often the realist tone made me think in very matter-of-fact terms. The other strand is that of the rationalist-scientist confronted with the supernatural and trying their damndest not to believe. Freyr (which strikes me as a burdensome name, but perhaps it isn't unusual there) is a doctor recently moved to a cottage hospital in north west Iceland, across a fjord from the deserted village where the three friends are. [No maps in this book, but the Wiki entry on the Westfjords shows just about everywhere mentioned.] He's a psychiatrist who's returned to general medicine as a way of reducing his stress levels, almost burnt out by the disappearance of his young son, his wife's subsequent breakdown and their divorce. Of course, the locals avail themselves of his specialist knowledge and he finds himself called in to help investigate the suicide of a retired woman, and less formally by the policewoman who lives across the road, who's trying to work out the motivations behind a peculiar attack of vandalism and graffiti at a local kindergarten. In the past few months I've read a couple of popular fiction portrayals [by Anne Holt & Dorothy Koomson] of characters who were allegedly psychologists but whom I sometimes doubted had opened so much as a first-year textbook on the subject. By contrast, Freyr was excellently drawn. He is highly self-aware, constantly monitors his thoughts, talking himself round and trying to pull back from anything that might tip him over the edge. More so than, say, some types of counsellor might be, he is concerned with labels, "normality", and trying desperately to make sure he continues to appear as one of "us" not "them" in his professional world - yet he is still made sympathetic by having a more humanistic approach than it's implied the norm is, more interested in listening to elderly rambling patients. (view spoiler)[His instance of professional misconduct is textbook, kind of a cliche but also one that makes sense and shows that this is an author who's done some research. (hide spoiler)] There may be an interesting bit of religious symbolism, but it needs someone who knows the language better to confirm: (view spoiler)[not long ago, I heard that the name Liv is Swedish for Eve; if Líf is the same in Icelandic - bloody impossible to Google - then perhaps it's significant that Líf (newer, imported values) seduces and has the potential to bring down Freyr (older Icelandic way of life) but ultimately perishes - as a parallel to Iceland needing to go back to a less consumerist lifestyle after the crash. Katrín's ghost could represent lingering damage to the public sector - as well as someone who had stronger professional boundaries set up as a future agent of revenge against Freyr's infringement and othering. A rather zombie-minded one acting on behalf of a greater force, as it's hard to imagine her live personality wanting to avenge Líf as an individual: collectivism/public-spiritedness now promoted above individualism? (hide spoiler)] Yes, the writing has its clunky moments, especially in the early part of the book where infodumping could be more subtle, but as I often enjoy schlocky old horror more than the finely crafted or the gory, that wasn't a problem - and the book managed to have genuine suspense as well.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Let me just start this review by warning you that I still have goosebumps whilst sitting here writing this, with all the lights in my house blazing and the knowledge that I will be terrified of venturing out in the dark for some time to come! I Remember You was by far the creepiest book I have read all year, and the choice to listen to this on audio on my commute to and from night shift was both a blessing and a curse: a blessing, because it kept me terrified and awake even after a looong busy s Let me just start this review by warning you that I still have goosebumps whilst sitting here writing this, with all the lights in my house blazing and the knowledge that I will be terrified of venturing out in the dark for some time to come! I Remember You was by far the creepiest book I have read all year, and the choice to listen to this on audio on my commute to and from night shift was both a blessing and a curse: a blessing, because it kept me terrified and awake even after a looong busy shift, and a curse because I was terrified of getting out of my car in the dark! Let’s start with the setting, which was simply perfect. A creepy old house in a remote spot on the Icelandic coast which can only be reached by boat. No phone reception. No electricity. Not another living soul in sight. Would YOU go there in winter to work on a house you have never even laid eyes on? After reading this book, the answer will be a definite: “No way!” However, our three main characters Garðar, Katrín and Líf (plus their little dog) think it is a great idea to spend a week away from the rat-race of their busy jobs in Reykjavik to restore the cottage they hope will bring them some money as a holiday rental come summer, when the remote village of Hesteyri will be brimming with tourists. Perhaps the first inkling they get of the foolhardiness of their plan is when the skipper of the boat they chartered to get them there warns them of the fate of the house’s previous owner, who disappeared without a trace before he could complete renovations himself. Or perhaps at the very moment he hands them the key to another house in the village, just in case they need a safe shelter. Or was it when he tells them that there is no phone signal, and no electricity, so they will need to keep their phones charged in case they have to call for help from a nearby mountain? Perhaps they should have heeded the warnings, because some of the group may not make it out alive ... I have only just discovered Yrsa Sigurdardottir this year, and I am already addicted to her writing. Rarely has an author been able to evoke such a perfect setting and an atmosphere of suspense as Sigurdardottir has created here. Iceland, with its remoteness, its inclement weather and long winter nights really provides the perfect setting for a spooky thriller with some supernatural themes that made this an outstanding creepy read for me. The story plays out in two separate POV’s: one exploring the fate of the three friends in Hesteyri, the other from the POV of Freyr, a psychologist helping the police with the investigation into the strange suicide of a woman in a local church. A woman who seems to have information regarding the mysterious unsolved disappearance of Freyr’s little son three years earlier. Sigurdardottir manages to cram a lot into this spooky read, from the mystery surrounding the women’s death, to the case of little Benni’s disappearance, to the fate of the three friends in Heseyri – and more! I just adored everything about this book, the supernatural element adding just the right amount of goosebumps to a clever, multi-faceted mystery. These type of books are as rare as hen’s teeth, which is why I Remember You is one of my most exciting discoveries of 2018. Very highly recommended to lovers of the genre and all readers looking for a creepy, atmospheric read by a master of suspense. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    While I give this book 3 stars overall, it deserves 4 stars for the scare factor. Since horror can vary so widely on the scares and sometimes I just want a read that will send shivers up my spine, I want to be clear on that. It's one of the creepier books I've read recently, although it does rely too heavily on the end of the chapter quick scare rather than the slow buildup. This book also gets some bonus points for combining a mystery with a horror story. But it also loses some points for that, While I give this book 3 stars overall, it deserves 4 stars for the scare factor. Since horror can vary so widely on the scares and sometimes I just want a read that will send shivers up my spine, I want to be clear on that. It's one of the creepier books I've read recently, although it does rely too heavily on the end of the chapter quick scare rather than the slow buildup. This book also gets some bonus points for combining a mystery with a horror story. But it also loses some points for that, too. While I love a mystery, I don't like mixing my supernatural scary stuff with my police procedural so sometimes that didn't quite mesh for me. And finally, a strong use of the double narrative. Even if it's maddening to switch stories right when you get to the good stuff. But even though it had a lot of strong elements, ultimately the prose and I just didn't quite work together in this book. Some of it may be the Scandinavian style and that I'm so used to my American horror following a specific template. I also felt like even though it did some very interesting stuff, it also relied too much on the same old. Ultimately a lot of the tropes (especially in Katrin's narrative) felt tired. And by the time the book started to get to some of its twists, they were less effective than they would have been 50 pages or so earlier, especially when they all started to pile up together. Eventually it just lost some narrative steam. This is one of those times where a book has the potential to be really really good and so I am harder on it than I would be with one that's not nearly as effective. This is still one of the better horror novels I've read and I'll definitely be recommending it to people.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Μαρία Γεωργοπούλου

    The most terrifying book EVER! I couldn’t sleep at night and for the first time in years, I couldn’t read after dark! The story is amazingly written and it is obvious that the author has a real talent writing scary stories. The reader will not learn the whole truth until the very end of the book. Definitely a must-read if you are a fan of this genre! The most terrifying book EVER! I couldn’t sleep at night and for the first time in years, I couldn’t read after dark! The story is amazingly written and it is obvious that the author has a real talent writing scary stories. The reader will not learn the whole truth until the very end of the book. Definitely a must-read if you are a fan of this genre!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael Jensen

    Things that are scary: Great White sharks, terrorists, Orcs. Things that are not scary: this book. At about the halfway point of I Remember You, I began to suspect that I was really not going to like this book very much. And as I read more and more I began to "hate read" the book, only determined to finish it so I could rip it in my review. What didn't I like? 1) As mentioned above, the book isn't the least bit scary. Instead, we get chapters and chapters of things literally going bump in the night Things that are scary: Great White sharks, terrorists, Orcs. Things that are not scary: this book. At about the halfway point of I Remember You, I began to suspect that I was really not going to like this book very much. And as I read more and more I began to "hate read" the book, only determined to finish it so I could rip it in my review. What didn't I like? 1) As mentioned above, the book isn't the least bit scary. Instead, we get chapters and chapters of things literally going bump in the night and a small child giggling. Over and over. Do things get progressively worse? No, not really. Lots of creaking floorboards, wet footprints, bad smells, and giggling. That's pretty much the first 80% of the book. Which brings us to 2) The characters in I Remember You suffers from what I call Horror Book Syndrome. When suffering HBS, characters display an incredibly ability to keep ignoring supernatural events. To the point they look like idiots. Idiots I want to see die because they are so stupid. These characters have HBS even worse than normal because in one chapter they realize there is no way what is happening could possibly be happening, but then in the very next chapter they're back to ignoring it. Speaking of characters... 3) ... I wanted them all to die. And die horribly. Okay, I guess the father wasn't terrible, but he suffered such a bad case of HBS that I pretty much loathed him as well. As for the three characters that go out to the island -- Katrina, Gandar, and Lif -- OMG, what a bunch of pathetic morons. I hated spending time with them. Lif was by far the worst and I wanted anyone -- Katrina, Gandar, the ghost, Vladimir Putin -- to kill her. Gandar wasn't whiny, but he's a fricking moron, and Katrina is a passive person who basically is begging for what happens to her at the end. Speaking of the ending... 4) When the two storylines finally come together at the end, it's very rushed and a lot of it is pretty convenient. How the storylines weave together isn't bad, but this point, I was so sick of creaking floorboards, bad smells, giggling, and the dog who KNEW something strange was going on (cliche), that I simply did not care. The ending also isn't very satisfying because it was pretty clear in a general sense why the ghost was doing what it was dong and the specifics simply weren't very interesting or fresh. As for the final twist, it comes out of nowhere. This is a bad book. Read at your own risk.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tressa

    First of all, just look at the cover of this book with it's generic title. A menacing man? woman? teen? in a hoodie? How good could this thing be if they cared so little for it (or the American version of it) that they slapped such an uninspired cover on it? I had this book on my e-reader for half a year, sliding past it when I was on the hunt for a good, meaty page-turner. I decided to give this book a try, and even though I resisted falling into it for the first few chapters, it soon became on First of all, just look at the cover of this book with it's generic title. A menacing man? woman? teen? in a hoodie? How good could this thing be if they cared so little for it (or the American version of it) that they slapped such an uninspired cover on it? I had this book on my e-reader for half a year, sliding past it when I was on the hunt for a good, meaty page-turner. I decided to give this book a try, and even though I resisted falling into it for the first few chapters, it soon became one of those stories that I immersed myself in, even reading it during the day in a public setting, which I rarely do. Since I knew nothing of this book or the author, I thought it would be just a ghost story set in Iceland, but it's also a clever mystery about a psychologist named Freyr whose six-year-old son goes missing. Sixty years before, another boy went missing in the area. The chapters about the doctor and a detective slowly sorting through evidence make a case for how these disappearances are connected, and each of their chapters ends on a cliffhanger that gets answered in following chapters in such an organic way that it never becomes annoying or tiresome. And then you have a third story set in the present day about a young married couple and their friend (and, gulp, her dog), who are dropped off on an isolated island in the middle of winter to renovate a home the couple bought in the hopes of renting it out in the springtime for extra income. Immediately strange things start happening that can be shrugged away with this or that explanation...at first, but it's not long before they drop all pretense and accept the fact that they are at the mercy of an angry supernatural presence set on revenge. I Remember You has some very spooky and chilling passages in it—I am not ashamed to admit that I jumped late one night while reading it when a phone notification went off—and also some beautiful ones that set this apart as a literary ghost story in my book. This is the type of supernatural story where the frights are limited only by your imagination. Highly recommended.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Abandoned this book. I think either the translation was bad or the writing was bad. To me, it read very flat and lifeless. Just not for me, I guess.

  29. 4 out of 5

    debra

    Well done! I think it would have been scarier if I had read it rather than listened , and the "cliffhanger" at the end of each chapter would have been less annoying, Well done! I think it would have been scarier if I had read it rather than listened , and the "cliffhanger" at the end of each chapter would have been less annoying,

  30. 4 out of 5

    matejcik neasi

    I did like the setting (remote village, only accessible by boat, in the cold and dark Icelandic winter), the story itself is decent, overall it was a pretty good read. However, there is a lot to be desired. The writing is not all that gripping, and several times I caught myself skipping whole paragraphs while waiting for the author to "get to the point already". There is a lot of background exposition, but at least 50 % of that has no relation to the story, and doesn't serve for character buildin I did like the setting (remote village, only accessible by boat, in the cold and dark Icelandic winter), the story itself is decent, overall it was a pretty good read. However, there is a lot to be desired. The writing is not all that gripping, and several times I caught myself skipping whole paragraphs while waiting for the author to "get to the point already". There is a lot of background exposition, but at least 50 % of that has no relation to the story, and doesn't serve for character building either. Most of the chapters end in a sort of cliffhanger, but sometimes the author has to resort to explicit foreshadowing to accomplish this, and that feels pretty unnatural. As for the plot, the book tries to build up to "revealing dark secrets" sort of thing, but in the end, the dark secrets themselves feel contrived and somehow too trivial to carry the atmosphere.

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