I received a copy from Netgalley thanks to Harper Collins UK, Children's.
Initially when I started this book it came across as a bit depressing, it started out at a funeral. With one moody girl, the narrator observing (her father's funeral) her gold digging mother who was putting on a performance of deep grief but not really feeling it. So I put it to one side for a while thinking I would probably get very bored with this very fast.
I did go back to it though, and started again from the beginning. Second time, the more I read the more I found myself enjoying. The tone of the main character, Iris, is quite snarky and bored, and I found myself really liking her character. She lives with her gold digging bitch of a mother and actor wanna be stepfather.
She is told her father Earnest (who I got the impression was much older than his mother) is dying so they are going to England because he wants to see Iris before he dies. Iris has very little to no memory of her father believing he wanted nothing to do with her.
Mother Hannah drags her to the UK regardless or not of whether Iris actually want to go. The catch is Earnest is rich. Extremely rich and has a collection of priceless art and lives in a huge house Hannah thinks they can get Earnest to leave to Iris. Hannah wants what she believes she is entitled to. The woman is a total bitch, utterly self involved and doesn't seem to give a flying fuck about anyone else.
Though Iris has a secret. She is a pyromaniac. She lights fires. She loves fires; while as disturbing as this was, it was quite fascinating to read about the various fires Iris has set through out her life, and the effect it has on her. All consuming, mind clearing, cleansing even.
The story was quite slow and had very little plot to it. The characters involved were what made the story enjoyable, each with their own uniqueness that made them interesting, even the ones I didn't like at all, like Hannah and Iris's stepfather, Lowell who were horrible people. Iris's best friend Thurston is featured quite a bit through flashbacks and memories. He lived in the States when Iris was there, Thurston was quite an unusual character, with seemingly very little boundaries, did giant art things and daft stunts and even held a fake funeral at one point. Weird, but kind of charming at the same time.
Iris also gets to know her father Earnest who tells her about his life and his sister Margot, with whom Iris shares a lot of similar personality traits. The dialogue is witty and amusing, and the whole overtone feels sad as the man is dying and Iris is only just getting to know him and learn some of the secrets her mother has been keeping. They could have had a great father-daughter rapport if given the time. If only Hannah hadn't waited until Earnest was dying and brought Iris back with the idea of getting her hands on Earnest's fortune.
Then there was one hell of a great plot twist right at the end. The plot twist was awesome. But just as things started picking up it was like...that's it. The book ended! It felt so abrupt after that incredible turn of events. I was dying to see everyone's reactions to it and the consequences of what happened afterwards and nothing. It was over way too soon.
Other than that, it did turn out to be a really good read. Different and interesting with some great characters.