Book Review: The Accident Season – Moïra Fowley-Doyle

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‘It’s the accident season,

the same time every year.

Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.’

The Accident Season has been hailed by many, as an incredible book, my local Waterstone’s had a particular fondness for it, so I thought I might as well pick it up. The novel focuses on the ‘Accident Season’ a time of cuts, bruises and at times even deaths. Moïra Fowley-Doyle takes suspicion and fear and sets it right in the middle of modern day Ireland. Our protagonist, 17 year old Cara, is an ok narrator, at times I got frustrated with her simplicity and would much rather have followed her older sister Alice, who seems a lot more interesting to me. Added to this is Cara’s ‘ex stepbrother’ Sam and her best friend the witchy Bea’ The Accident Season is a tale of secrets and makes you, at times, question what is real.

I think my biggest gripe with this is that for about ¾ of the novel it moves very slowly. There are twists in the book but the problem is that some of the biggest ones I managed to work out fairly early on, which was a shame. It sits in this strange thriller, horror world but at the same time tries to follow the normal lives of four teenagers. I really struggled to believe in the season itself and all the terrible things that are meant to have happened. To me it just seemed like they all had a bit of a terrified mother (which later makes much more sense than for most of the book) who wanted to wrap her kids up in cotton wool.

As well as the kids dealing with their mother’s fears, there is also a mystery to be solved, in the form of Cara’s classmate, Elsie. While looking through photos Cara soon realises that Elsie is in each and every one of her photos, even though it’s impossible. While Cara enlists the help of Bea and Sam to work out if Elsie is following her they make a starting discovery, Elsie has disappeared and no one seems to know who she is. I can say with absolute certainty that the Elsie part of the plot is definitely the most interesting and I wish there had been even more of it in the book. At times it feels a little like there are other issues that are just there to pad out the novel rather than to add to it.

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There is a big element of fantasy and folk tales throughout, which is something I really liked. I wish it had been bought into the plot earlier as the first few chapters just seem a bit strange without it, you don’t really understand why a sane person could come up with the idea of an ‘accident season’. There are a lot of accidents, but I think I sided more with Alice’s rational thinking too much to really enjoy the novel. It is not in any way that this novel is badly written, Fowley-Doyle does have a knack for story telling, but I couldn’t help but feel throughout that this would be better suited to a film script. I’m saying it now before it happens, this would make a kick ass film and I expect it to be picked up sooner rather than later.

I’m giving The Accident Season three stars ***, like I said before it wasn’t badly written, I just lost the excitement at quite a few points throughout. I need a book that is impossible to put down and for most of The Accident Season, it was easy to walk away from. That said I think if you are into a bit of mystery and horror this is worth a read.

Review by Chloe Metzger

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