And it comes from the lovely Amber Gilchrist at her books blog, Requiem for Readers (a suitably Gothic title for a site reviewing Shiver the Whole Night Through). Amber’s very kindly allowed me to post up the review in its entirety here, but do pay her a visit at her own site too…
“Originally found on the slush pile at Hot Key HQ, truly making it a diamond in the rough! While this is Darragh’s debut in teen fiction, this Irish author brings all of the finesse of his previous adult crime novels, paired with a unique younger voice, creating a thrilling murder mystery with a supernatural edge…
Aidan as a main character is intelligent, witty and relatable. There is an obvious change in him throughout the novel and it’s interesting to see how that change effects the characters around him. There are some pretty heavy themes of suicide, bullying and hooking up or ‘shifting’ (a term used in Irish slang that can mean anything from kissing to full carnal knowledge. I love it!*) Not to mention he pretty much chain-smokes throughout the entire book.
But it’s these darker aspects that make it real and compelling, I mean don’t we all want to read about someone with grit, integrity and a bit of familiarity? Besides, these ‘themes’ are sadly just a part of life and reading about a character who overcomes his fears and limitations can only help the rest of us, right?
There is also a fantastic exploration of history, where the whole town has a grim backstory, a sordid past that, when examined closely, is just downright scary, giving a glimpse of the mythical Ireland I love most. Darragh links the past and present with an ancient evil that Aidan must confront or risk losing the entire town to its frigid clutches.
As a standalone novel it works perfectly well but that’s not to say I don’t want more, because I do. I think there’s a lot more to come in Aidan and Sláine’s story.”
(*NOTE: There has been a certain amount of theological and/or ecumenical debate about the Irish slang word “shift” – a lot of it, weirdly enough, inspired by a comment from Zach Braff on Twitter. What specifically does the term cover? For me, anything from snogging to heavy-petting/making-out/however-it’s-described-in-your-country; but NOT full sex. However, some people – such as Amber above – are happy for it to include “doing the Vince Barnes”. Here ends the lesson.)