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We are the trees. We are the snow.

We are the winter.

We are the peace. We are the rage.

Cut off from civilization by the harsh winter of northern Sweden, the Stromberg family shelter in their old plantation house. There are figures lurking in the ancient pine forests and they’re closing in. With nothing but four walls between the Strombergs and the evil that’s outside, they watch and wait for the snows to melt.

But in the face of signs that there’s an even greater danger waiting to strike, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish reality from illusion. All they’ve got to do is stay sane and survive the winter…

384 pages, Paperback

First published February 1, 2017

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About the author

Sharon Gosling

44 books66 followers
Sharon Gosling began her career in entertainment journalism, writing for magazines in the science fiction and fantasy genre, before moving on to write tie-in books for TV shows such as "Stargate" and the 'reimagined' "Battlestar Galactica."

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5 stars
114 (18%)
4 stars
214 (35%)
3 stars
195 (32%)
2 stars
58 (9%)
1 star
20 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 98 reviews
Profile Image for Cora Tea Party Princess.
1,323 reviews802 followers
December 30, 2017
5 Words: Family, isolation, chilling, mythology, fear.

Part Scandi-noir thriller, part chilling horror, with a side of ancient lore and subtle hint of environmental-awareness... I could not put this book down.

I think the greatest strength in this book, and the aspect I enjoyed the most, is the setting. It's just breathtaking. The atmosphere just builds and builds in intensity until suddenly you look up, and it's snowing outside, and for a moment you're terrified. You can hear the trees. Did a wolf just howl? Is that a spot of blood on the snow?

Don't read this book when it's snowing.

I also loved the family dynamics, the resentment that slowly grows between the characters. It felt natural, it added to the horror. It added to the atmosphere and made it harder to figure out what was real and what wasn't.

There is a sense of surrealism to the story, and everywhere you look are unreliable characters described by an unreliable narrator. This is my ultimate catnip in a book.

I did want more when I reached the end of the book, but ultimately I was happy with the ending and how it was left slightly open. I still don't know what was real and what was not. Was it all in their heads? WHAT HAPPENED?

I'm one of those people who will say that I "don't like horror". But the Red Eye collection? Wow. Even if you "don't like horror" pick it up.

Edit 19/12/2017: The minute it starts snowing I'm going to pick this up and reread it because I can't stop thinking about it. And also I want to be a wee bit scared.
Profile Image for Alice-Elizabeth (Prolific Reader Alice).
1,151 reviews156 followers
October 16, 2017
OK readers, get ready for a long and rambling review on Fir because there is a lot that I would like to say about it. Myself and my boyfriend were really lucky enough to meet the author Sharon at a Literature festival close to where we are from and she was lovely to meet and talk horror stories with, as an aspiring horror writer myself, I've definitely learnt to make a note of all of the nightmares I have when I sleep since between the ages of 5-8 and 17 to present day, I've suffered quite badly with them. At the book event, we both learnt more about the origins of Fir as a story and how Sharon herself actually drove into a forest, just to write and capture down the setting for it. Fir was visually brilliant and deliciously creepy, I really didn't want things to end.

One thing that really stood out to me about the story is the main character's perspective. We as the reader don't know the character's name, how old they are, if they are a boy or a girl. My personal thoughts from reading Fir was that the main character's voice that I could hear in my mind was a 14/15 year old male. My boyfriend had a different theory of a teen girl's voice talking. The story is set in the north of Sweden where the main character and their parents arrive in an old plantation house surrounded by hundreds of trees. But from the minute they arrive, it's very clear that someone doesn't want them there.

Honestly, don't read this book when you are alone in the house, one of the characters Dorothea was such a miserable grump but did play quite a huge role in Fir. I say the age range for readers who want to read Fir is 15+ primarily because of some of the graphic descriptions of most of the scary events that happen throughout.

I read this book as part of a readathon I am participating in called Spookathon, you can follow me on Twitter to see daily check-ins of what I've been reading and my TBR! www.Twitter.com/MarriedToBooks3

I own a physical signed copy of Fir!
Profile Image for Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk).
1,412 reviews2,308 followers
March 6, 2019
Drzewa nigdy nie zapominają i nigdy nie wybaczają w przerażającej opowieści „Las” Sharon Gosling.

Wyobraź sobie stary dom w sercu lasu. Osamotnioną, niemal porzuconą rezydencję, z każdej strony otoczoną odwieczną, gęstą puszczą. Drzewa wydają się tutaj słuchać, patrzeć, obserwować każdy krok. Jakby żyły swoim własnym, leśnym życiem, tak odmiennym od tego ludzkiego. Jakby wiedziały o czymś, o czym nie wiedzą okoliczni mieszkańcy, jakby czekały na coś, co mogą dojrzeć tylko one. Pradawne, szeleszczące, szepczące między sobą dawno zapomniane zaklęcia.

„Las” to horror z krwi i kości, który przeraża perfekcyjnie rozpracowanym tematem izolacji, atmosferą odosobnienia i świetnie rozpracowanym motywem skandynawskich legend. Sharon Gosling od pierwszych stron nadaje opowieści tajemniczego klimatu, a tym samym sprawia, że czytelnik rozgląda się nerwowo wraz z bohaterem, próbuje rozgryźć sekret przyczajony pośród drzew, a na każdym kroku towarzyszy mu uczucie narastającego niepokoju. Bo w Norrbotten nic nie jest takie jak być powinno, a wszelkie logiczne tłumaczenia kolejnych wydarzeń rozmywają się w konfrontacji z tym, co niepoznane, tym, co niesamowite, tym, czego nie tylko można się bać, ale czego obawiać się trzeba.

„A drzewa wciąż szepczą
I szepczą bez końca.”

„Las” to fenomenalna groza, zachwycająca na swój zimowy, leśny sposób.
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,093 reviews2,959 followers
February 2, 2020
3.0 Stars
Set in an isolated part of northern Scandinavia, this was a wintery young adult novel that would be best to read on a snowy day. My favourite aspect was easily the forest setting. The trees really felt like a character in the novel. The main character was quite annoying. As an adult, I just don’t enjoy reading about surely teenagers who complain about their parents constantly. The other characters felt equally flat and the plot was just a bit too simple. Overall, it was a fairly interesting story involving Scandinavian folklore, but it did not give me any creepy feels.
Profile Image for Lucy Banks.
Author 12 books289 followers
February 6, 2017
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Haunting firs, wild wolves and freezing Northern climes... a nice take on the classic 'alone in the woods' horror story...

You've got to feel for the girl. Moved from her comfortable home in Stockholm to the remote wilds of northern Sweden is pretty bad. Finding out you're cut off by snow and in the house with a crazy old housekeeper is even worse, and we haven't even got to the murderous spirits and haunted trees yet.

This YA horror story was well-paced and atmospheric, with just the right amount of creeping spookiness to drive it forward. Dorothea (the housekeeper) was particularly effective; with her insectoid half-walk / half-run and her eerie singing, and the house itself was as much a character as anything else - huge, secretive and rotten.

At times, the isolation and sense of entrapment reminded me of Stephen King's The Shining - in a good way. Let's face it, being alone in the woods is always an excellent recipe for fear. The ending came to a wonderful climax (if not a little gory - loving the presence of a gooey hidden skeleton) but there was something a little unsatisfying about the abruptness of it. Additionally, there were a few occasions where things seemed a bit too convenient - e.g. just happening to stumble on particular photos and so forth. But these are only minor criticisms.

Overall, this was a teen-friendly, well-written horror-romp, with plenty of ambience, spooky revelations and menacing characters. I enjoyed reading it!

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Trzcionka.
691 reviews71 followers
November 22, 2019
Totalne rozczarowanie.. Miało być strasznie - nie było. Nawet pomijając ten aspekt książki, sama historia była zupełnie bezpłciowa i zwyczajnie mało ciekawa. Narrację prowadzi dzieciak. Irytujący dzieciak z irytującymi dziecinnymi tekstami... Myślę, że za dwa dni zapomnę o czym była ta książka i że w ogóle ją czytałam.
Na domiar złego w książce roi się o literówek.. Nie polecam.
Profile Image for J.D..
463 reviews18 followers
December 5, 2020

When Mr and Mrs Stormberg decide to move to a logging plantation, their only child is less than thrilled.
The family soon discovers that not only does the house have a disturbing past, but there's something in the woods that doesn't want them there.

Personal Opinion

Fir had a cool concept, but never really seemed to fully take off. I did enjoy it although it could have been improved with some more spooky action throughout the story.
The location, mass amounts of snow and mental health issues that were involved were a bit similar to The Shining. Plus the 'protectors' of the forest were a cool touch.
Something very uncommon happened in this book though. The MC's name, age and gender was never revealed. I imagined a teen girl around 15 or 16 while reading.
Overall, this one wasn't as freaky as some of the others in the series, but was still an alright winter read.
Profile Image for Ivka.
374 reviews115 followers
October 6, 2017
Moja štvrtá a zatiaľ najlepšia Red Eye kniha. Strombergovci opustia civilizáciu a kúpia lesnú plantáž na severe Švédska. Ibaže... stromy... nechcú... byť... zoťaté!

Fir (JEDĽA!) je fakt dobrá hororová jednohubka, ktorá síce nie je až tak nevídane strašidelná, ale atmosféra zasneženého Švédska je SUPER a po celý čas som bola zvedavá, čo sa ešte stane, a prečo majú jedle vlastne vražedné chúťky. Veľmi sa mi páčil autorkin štýl (až tak, že to padlo na dve sedenia) a rada od nej kuknem aj niečo ďalšie. Nemajte veľké očakávania a choďte do Red Eye s tým, že ste zvedaví - a možno budete rovnako príjemne prekvapení. 8/10
Profile Image for Klaudia_p.
496 reviews81 followers
February 4, 2021
Trochę się obawiałam, bo to młodzieżówka (A ja to już nie bardzo młodzieżowa jestem :D), tymczasem naprawdę dobrze się to czyta. Jest klimat, jest denerwujący, aczkolwiek całkiem sympatyczny, młody gniewny, jest tajemnica i są rodzice, którzy wiedzą lepiej. Niby standardowo, ale nie do końca. Tę książkę wyróżnia malownicza leśna groza, która mnie pochłonęła bez reszty. Tylko to zakończenie jakoś mało satysfakcjonujące, ale może innych przekona.
February 9, 2017
Sharon Gosling’s Fir was an interesting addition to the already extensive collection of YA horror, but like many books in the genre didn’t quite live up to expectations.

Fir tells the story of the Stromberg family, who leave their comfortable inner city Stockholm life to move to a remote tree farm where the Stromberg patriarch hopes to rebuild the lumber business.  But there is something out in the old growth forest that begins terrorising the family, while they try and survive the harshness of Sweden’s remote winters.

There were some fascinating elements in Fir.  The forest had character, and the descriptions of the woods, the cold, the dark and the isolation were incredibly well rendered.  There were some promising moments with the introduction of old world mythology which had the potential to make this a much deeper story and Gosling took the opportunity to make some important and tactful observations about environmental ethics without coming across as forceful or on the nose.

Unfortunately, despite these elements, Fir utterly failed to be believable.  Within the first few pages, it had already fallen into the YA trap of choosing just to have unreasonably rubbish parents to mask the fact that it’s difficult to write a believable relationship between a teenager and a parent once you’re past the age where you no longer rely on them.  I say difficult, whichis why so many YA authors just either omit the adults of the story entirely (I’m looking at you Leo Hunt) or make them such caricatures of bad parenting that the focus naturally sways toward its teenage protagonists. Their reactions to situations and lack of communication with their daughter were simply not believable, and so made the plot feel entirely contrived.

One of the most effective elements was that the plot developed to allow for some ambiguity as to the truth of the ‘supernatural’ occurrences in the book.  I liked this, as it left it entirely open to interpretation, and made the premise of isolation even more frightening.  Letting the characters’ experiences speak for themselves made the local mythology even more interesting, as it highlighted how remote isolation could give rise to fears like these.  Had the book ended before the appendix I might have rated it far higher, but instead, Gosling chose to spoon feed the readers a supernatural ending that detracted from the whole narrative.  A book is only as good as its ending, so had it ended a few pages earlier, it would have been a much better book.

Overall, Fir was a quick and easy read.  It wasn’t particularly cerebral, certainly didn’t bring much to the YA horror genre, but was most definitely full of unrealised potential.  The plot had the potential to be unique with a critical message about environmental responsibility,  but instead just read as a generic supernatural YA story about bad parenting.

Review also at I Blame Wizards.
Profile Image for John Milne.
31 reviews
September 5, 2017
I went into this book not entirely knowing what to expect, as I had never read a Red Eye story before. I knew it would be a horror-based YA, but that was the extent of my knowledge. We bought three Red Eye books when we were on holiday in Cornwall earlier this year so I was hoping I would my first one!

It was a very accessible read, but my god did it take ages to get going. It wasn't until around page 150 that it started to really grip me, and don't get me wrong, I can appreciate that every book needs to give you some back story and introduce you to the characters etc. - but in Fir it unfortunately felt very forced, and as a result I found the first half a little boring.

Once it got going though, it was a thrilling and suspenseful tale of isolation, mystery and fear.. Any horror book that can make you feel uneasy about going out of your front door at night is a win in my opinion! I will certainly be viewing trees in a different way after this read.

Taking that into account, but also taking away a star maybe, because of the few spelling/grammatical mistakes and also how annoying the main character was, I'm giving this three stars.
Profile Image for Tilly Chapman.
268 reviews4 followers
December 14, 2017
Firstly, this isn't the most original of horror stories you will ever read. It's got a creepy housekeeper, an angry teen, stupid life choices, etc etc... the list could go on. However, Fir had me hooked. I loved the Stromberg family, the fact that we never really find out a whole lot about the protagonist, the Swedish setting and above all how eerie the whole tale was.

It had a slow start but once it got going I didn't want to put it down, and I didn't! Think The Shining (I have no idea why this reminded me of it so much, but it did!) mixed with a sinister folk story and that is what Fir essentially is!

This is my third Red Eye book, and it's definitely been the most successful. My only criticism was that there were a few spelling and grammatical errors but aside from that, this book was SO. MUCH. FUN.
Profile Image for Bogdan.
896 reviews1 follower
July 5, 2018
Not so bad, as expected from some other reviews. Still, the ending was kind of unwelcome, but for me, I will lie if I say that I didn`t expect some of it.

Overall the writing was simple, without a lot of unnecessary informations.

We have a piece of mystery, a secular forest and a modern family that wants a new beginning.

But not all the things are as expected. As usual.

This is rated as a YA novel, but I can`t say that it was so evident for me. Because it has some blood in it, some gruesome deaths, etc.

Eventually the rating is somewhere between 2 and a half and 3 stars.

Profile Image for Sandy Ⓢ.
289 reviews9 followers
November 11, 2017
[Reto 2017, libro 92: terror]

4.5 🌟

Es genial la historia, me gustó el desarrollo en su mayoría, sólo un pequeño detalle casi al final que no; el suspenso también me gustó, buena lectura.
Profile Image for Mateusz Dyszkiewicz.
48 reviews37 followers
December 6, 2022
Przez 150 stron nic się dosłownie nie działa, a zakończenie wzięte z dupy strony. Gdy już zaczynało się cokolwiek dziać, że można było się bać, to główna postać zaczynała opowiadać żarty, które powodowały że wypadało się z całego klimatu, masakra.
Profile Image for Jen.
455 reviews9 followers
January 10, 2023
Completely addictive YA horror based upon Swedish/Northern Scandinavian folklore. A very enjoyable tense, unsettling and atmospheric read.
Profile Image for Emily Carter-Dunn.
507 reviews21 followers
February 6, 2017
I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

This is around a 3.5 star book for me.

The story is so descriptive, but in a good way. The icy wind was blowing around in my head, the snow was falling thick and fast in front of my eyes and I felt the trudging of the snow - every last step. The scenery in this novel is so vivid that I could see everything that was described.

I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative of the main character of the book and was as sassy and sarcastic as my 17 year old sister. This personality shone through the terrible goings-on in the book and added a small portion of humour that lifted the book further.

I feel that this book could have been tied together a little better. There is some fantastic mythology included in the book (brand new mythology to me), but this isn't really brought together in the story. It just seems to be something added on to the story to give it a paranormal edge rather than really incorporated to spook and thrill. In the end, this mythology just did not lead to anything.

I did not see that ending happening, but it doesn't really explain things. I would rather the book just ended when the main part ended.
41 reviews
June 17, 2018
This book sounded great from the first page, the trees, the wolves and the setting lead me to believe that this book was going to be a great original horror story. Sadly I was wrong.

For me the book was all over the place from the trees to the snow and than to the history of the house. The book built itself up than dropped off only to build back up again. This was until the very end of the book. The ending of the book was what made me a little bit mad because the ending just ruined the story for me which is a shame because this book could have been so good!.

This book was: an easy read that did have a good reading style, if only the plot line was better than this book would have been awesome.
Profile Image for Emma Bosworth.
49 reviews6 followers
July 16, 2018
I haven't read a horror book in a while and I was very impressed with this book. It was such an easy read that once I started I really didn't want to put down.
Profile Image for asiala_czyta.
302 reviews10 followers
December 13, 2020
"Las" to z jednej strony typowy thriller: dziwny, wielki opuszczony dom zdala od cywilizacji i otoczony lasem; dzieci i niepokojąca staruszka, a także przytłaczający klimat północnej Skandynawii. Z drugiej strony mamy inteligentnego bohatera oraz motywy paranormalne zaczerpnięte z legend. Książka przez pierwszą połowę była powolna i spokojna. Druga część znacznie bardziej mnie zaangażowała, a zakończenie trochę dało do myślenia. Podobała mi się tajemnica wokół domu i plantacji choinek, która go otacza. Narrator i główny bohater myśli i łączy fakty, co bardzo podbudowało moją opinię. Postać Dorotei jest ciekawa, chociaż, moim zdaniem, nie do końca wykorzystana. Rodzice w tej książce dokonują dziwnych wyborów i w ogóle nie rozumiałam ich decyzji. Na początku pojawiają się też postacie, które później nie mają najmniejszego znaczenia. Minusem niewątpliwie jest niewykorzystany motyw paranormalny, bo mógłby być bardziej rozwinięty i pogłębiony. Na pewno byłoby to bardziej ciekawe i zaskakujące. Podsumowując, "Las" to dobra książka, szczególnie dla osób, które interesują się takimi klimatami. Nie będzie ona w gronie moich tegorocznych ulubieńców, ale wielu z Was może zachwycić.
Profile Image for Madelene Waldron.
166 reviews1 follower
May 21, 2019
As someone who doesn’t read horror, this really surprised me. It was compelling and easy to read and the protagonist was really compelling - and very cleverly created with no name or given gender or features. Though I’m now scared of trees.
Profile Image for Carrie.
42 reviews
July 6, 2021
Ciekawa, ale bez szału. Ostatnie 10 stron tak mnie zaskoczyły, że nadal nie mogę się otrząsnąć.
Profile Image for Caroline.
422 reviews5 followers
July 7, 2021
I’ve not read any of the Red Eye imprint before but I will do so now! What a great book this was, great psychological thriller. And just when you think you’ve reached safe haven - bam! Will definitely be recommending this more.
Profile Image for Bruce Gargoyle.
874 reviews144 followers
February 6, 2017
I received a copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley.

DNF at 58%

Ten Second Synopsis:
A surly teen is forced to move to the far north of Scandinavia on the whim of parents who want to take up tree farming. From the moment they arrive, strange occurrences start happening, but the father refuses to leave despite obvious impending doom.

I had high hopes for this one, given that it featured creepy trees - a collective character that, it must be admitted, surely doesn't get enough coverage in YA - and a cold, dark setting that I hoped would be a mental escape from the unrelenting heat of Australian summer. Unfortunately I ended up DNFing at just over halfway, having given the book plenty of time to grab my attention and hold it.

The two biggest problems I had with this one were the slow pace and the stilted dialogue mixed with tedious monologue. I just couldn't be bothered to stick around and find out what the trees were planning, or indeed, if they were planning anything at all and not just a figment of the narrator's imagination. The suspense aspect takes its time in building up, which is perfectly forgivable, provided the characters around which the suspense is building are interesting enough to inspire a sense of protectiveness from the reader. I found most of the characters to be reasonably unlikable - the teen narrator is angsty and moody, the father is arrogant and stubborn and the mother is overly conciliatory - and so would have happily seen them eaten by trees ...or whatever...and for this reason, somewhere along the line the suspense morphed into a sense of impatience and a desire for the trees to get on with eating the characters...or whatever.

The one character who was written to be off-putting, the housemaid Dorothea, actually turned out to be my favourite, simply because at least she had a bit of nouse about her. By the time I put the book down however, my feelings toward Dorothea had merged with my feelings for the hapless others and I would have been quite happy to have seen her eaten first...or whatever.

The setting was the definite standout of this story and set the appropriate tone of mild foreboding, and in some instances, blessed quiet. Had the pace of the book been a bit quicker or had I given a hoot about any of the characters, I probably would have finished this, but I just wasn't enjoying it enough to keep snow-ploughing on.
6 reviews
December 2, 2017
the whole book dragged, like, you want to read it because the plot is good, but it feels like homework, like u don't want to, but you've already started it, so might as well finish it...
and the ending is so INFURIATING, it ends so abruptly, and doesn't explain it.
i wouldn't recommend it to anyone, its a burden.
Profile Image for Leanne Wain.
84 reviews1 follower
June 5, 2017
Originally reviewed at http://mythoughtsaboutbooks.blogspot....

This book is a brilliant, YA combination of Stephen King's The Shining meets the terrifying, snowy, forest-gonna-get-you atmosphere of Until Dawn meets the houses have memories and will show you what they know of James Herbert's The Secret of Crickley Hall. But in Sweden, with a frosty side of conservation and Northern mythology thrown in too.

Firstly, the narrator of this book is just right up my street. Surly, un-affectionate, sarcastic- hello Swedish me. I don't think we ever find out the name of the narrator and once you've read this, you'll realise why that's significant and incidentally, super clever...

Anyway- the teen narrator and her parents move from their comfortable urban life in Stockholm to a remote tree plantation out in the far Northern wilderness of Sweden. Bought for a song from the previous owner when he abandoned the enterprise, Mom and Dad Stromberg are determined to make a fresh start in the lumber business. Their daughter is not exactly thrilled by the prospect and resents her parents for uprooting her. Right away, things aren't what they expect. For one there's an expedition of schoolkids out on a conservation trip with a woodsman named Tomas who warns the family off felling the old growth forest. Unmoved, the dad is determined to cut it down- this is a lumber plantation after all. Tomas takes the opportunity to take the Strombergs out into the Firs to show them the ancient woods and to attempt, in a vague, semi-supernatural fashion, to educate these townies about things that they don't understand. Unseasonable quantities of snow start to fall, cutting the Strombergs off from civilisation and forcing Tomas to cut the trip short, leaving the family with the creepy inherited housekeeper Dorothea.

Dorothea was amazing. Wizened, hunched, scuttling around like an omnipotent beetle, she is key to unlocking the plantation's secrets. Thoroughly unpleasant and filled with superstition, the narrator is constantly hindered and sabotaged by Dorothea as she turns detective, attempting to piece together the plantation's recent and more forgotten history- Polaroids in the desk drawers, ledgers in the study. They tell of accidents, fires, mysterious disappearances going back over the decades. Dorothea has been here through it all and must know what's out there.

I loved the atmosphere of the plantation and its surroundings, particularly the forest; it's one part sinister, one part magic and one part self-preservation- it feels like it has the right to protect itself. There is something fascinatingly primeval about old, old woodlands- who knows what forgotten things still linger there. The trees whisper to one another in between the chapters, demanding what is owed them, threatening and waiting. There are shadows in the forest and they are closing in.

I loved the family dynamics of the book- frayed somewhat by the upheaval from the beginning and going downhill from there. Shortly after the narrator starts to think she sees things, wolves, children, moving in the trees- resentment and tension continues to build between her and the parents that don't believe her. Is the isolation getting to them? Or is there really something supernatural in the snow? There's blood and footprints, teeth, claws and a gusty, windy song that seems to stir the branches. The dad tries to blindly continue with his plan, the mum gets more and more manic and deranged, talking to a ghostly boy. It all adds to the horror and unreality, all contributing to the atmosphere, constantly forcing the reader to decide what's real and what isn't. I bloody love an unreliable narrator and a shaky, is-this-the-real-life foundation of a supernatural or maybe not story.

The narrator's story closes with a grim discovery, a narrow escape and all the plantation's secrets exposed- the parents are satisfied that this is a mistake, they're going back to Stockholm and what a stupid idea this all was. But that's not where the book ends. The appendix blows the whole thing wide open- it's a glorious twist at the end that utterly chills the reader and leaves you demanding to know what happened. What happened in the hours after the narrator's story ended? What happened to Dorothea? WAS IT ALL REAL?? I am normally in two minds about open, mysterious endings like this, but Fir left me reeling.

A thoroughly satisfying, creepy, atmospheric chiller for readers that loved Say Her Name by Juno Dawson, haunted house narratives and anything involving obscure mythology and/or the oppressive darkness of the Scandinavian winter. I will definitely be seeking out more of Tiger Stripes' Red Eye chillers and cannot recommend this enough.
Profile Image for Donna.
1,180 reviews
January 15, 2022
FIR is one of the books in the Red Eye series, the UK’s more current answer to Fear Street updated for the current market. Each book in the series is its own stand alone book, so they can be read in any order. FIR just happened to be the first one I pulled out of the pile. Plus it’s a wintery story and it just seemed fitting (despite the fact that I live somewhere where it doesn’t snow).

Overall I think the concept is really interesting and unique. It touches on a potential treasure strove of folklore that I’m not personally familiar with, in a setting that I largely know nothing about (Sweden). So from that alone I was pretty interested, kind of because I felt like a tourist reading it. Plus it’s interesting to know that there’s actually very little old growth forest left in Europe. Europeans literally harvested it all and what was left got the furk bombed out of it in a couple of world wars. So the idea that what’s left of old growth forest has basically created a way to protect itself from being further destroyed is super cool and creepy. And it lends itself to my natural irrational fear of the woods.

Nailed it from that perspective.

I think the story had some creepy moments that I really needed to dig into to enjoy, mostly because the voice was really good at dissolving the tension. All the tension. All the time. Honestly, it was because the book was a quick and easy read that I didn’t DNF it. Plus I was kind of intrigued to figure out what was going on, but not THAT interested.

It’s written from the perspective of a teenager, somewhere around sixteen. The voice feels authentic in that it reads like the voice an adult hears out of a teen’s mouth, so the style was grating and whiny and at times trying too hard to be hip. It very much read like an adult trying to play a teenager than something that reads more like a teen voice.

And the way in which the story was told was very passive, like backing over details and literally just dissolving the tension. There was no depth to the storytelling, no immersion in it. It felt like someone was just step by step telling me a story, like reading from bullet points. It tried, in parts, but it was too little and it got swallowed up by the rest of the rather bland storytelling.

The relationship between the MC and her parents was odd. I’m not sure if it was written as a way to make it feel like the MC was all alone, but it actually felt like her parents just didn’t care about her. There was no attempt to help her adjust nor concern about her feelings with everything. She was constantly brushed aside and just used as a tool in her parents’ life. I guess that can be a rather accurate situation for some, but on the page it felt more convenient than anything. It was a way to remove the parents from the picture with them still being there.

Honestly, if the story was a little more immersive I probably would have liked it better. As it stands, I’m not a fan of the voice, first and foremost, and that’s a killer for me.

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