Book Review: The Choice by Samantha King

What if you had to choose between your children? 

Then:

Madeleine lived for her children. She'd always believed she'd die for them, too. But on the morning of her twins' tenth birthday her love was put to the test when a killer knocked on their door and forced her to make a devastating choice: which child should live, and which should die - her son, or her daughter?

Now:

Madeleine stands silent on the periphery of her now fractured family, trying desperately to unravel why her world was so suddenly blown apart. But while everyday life continues around her, memories of everything leading up to that tragic day return in agonising flashes.

And that's when she realises her family's life still hangs terrifyingly in the balance...  

Published 20th April 2017 by Piatkus (UK) 

As a mother, I really can't think of anything more terrifying than being made to make a choice between which of my children should live or die. I mean, how do you even do that? It's easy to say I wouldn't do this or that, but really, in such a situation who the hell knows what we would do? It's beyond my own imagination.

The Choice tackles this dilemma, when on the day of her twins tenth birthday, a masked gunman forces their way into Maddie's home and demands she choose which of her twins should be spared. It's a shocking and brutal opening, leaving the reader in utter, heart-stopping, horror before switching to three months later, when a grieving, disorientated and mentally broken Maddie is trying to piece together what happened that day.

It quickly becomes apparent that not everything is as it seems, as through a series of flashbacks and dream like states, the reader becomes as disorientated and confused as the fragile Maddie. I thought the way Samantha King portrayed her seemingly tenuous grip on reality was superb. And then when the massive shocker of a twist came, it made it only more impressive. I seriously had not been expecting it at all. I had no bloody idea where this book was going. It was so crazily twisty and gripping, I got thumb ache from pressing the next page button on my kindle so quickly.

Samantha King's writing is extremely engaging and convincing, with the whole book written from Maddie's perspective. I could feel her confusion, fear and consuming guilt. Yet there's a niggling feeling of is it real? Who do we trust? trickling through this story and is maintained right until the end. The Choice is fascinating as it explores parental favouritism between siblings and the effect of resentment and envy into adulthood. But there are many other themes running throughout, covering some uncomfortable topics, all of which interconnect and build to result in a catastrophic result.  

If I had one tiny complaint, then I felt the ending seemed a bit rushed and maybe an epilogue chapter would have just rounded it off. That's just me though, I like closure! Other than that small niggle, I thought The Choice was excellent. It had me gripped from beginning to end and with twists at every turn, it was an adrenaline-fueled, heart-pumping roller coaster of a ride. If you're a fan of great psychological thrillers, then you won't be disappointed by this one.

(I read an advance ebook edition courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)

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