Posted 20 hours ago

Dark Matter: the gripping ghost story from the author of WAKENHYRST

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Michelle Paver has written a number of children's books and some historical romances that don't really interest me.

Kangchenjunga, as well as other mountains, are places of wonder, where the immense scale becomes alien, and where euphoria morphs with desolation. Dark Matter features an Arctic expedition in 1937, when four young men set off in a Norwegian vessel to spend a year on the remote land spit of Gruhuken on the Barents Sea.Jack is a man of science, and he is all too eager to explain away the feelings of dread and menace he sometimes feels when venturing outside. And perhaps—perhaps there’s something about me that makes me a sort of physical medium for that energy: like a battery, or a lightning rod? I found the book had a dry humour in parts which worked as I suppose in that sort of situation you would have to try see the dry funny side of things.

No such justification is needed - there are enough clues along the way to show intelligent readers that Paver does not share the views of her characters. From a time of myths and ancient magic will come the legend of the lost city of Atlantis, tales of gods and warriors - and the rise of a hero. To battle the loneliness and desolation; yes, even with the many comforts that our modern age affords. The characters were also rather weak, and I didn't necessarily feel the pull that I'm guessing the author wanted me to feel. Paver's writing style managed to read like a diary or first person tale from an actual survivor of a mountain climbing disaster.

It's the kind of unobvious horror that slowly creeps up on you, and makes you want to keep reading to the end. there he will find meaning to his life, camaraderie and fellowship and an intense crush on one of his fellow adventurers, and an atrocious and deadly ghost. I was diverted, and there are even a couple of beautifully worded thoughts about the nature of culpability, regret, and brotherhood. The loose ends were tied up nicely but I felt like they were rushed and compacted into just a few pages. The most striking part is the portrayal of Jack's increasing fear, paranoia and confusion as he faces the horrors of Gruhuken and its never-ending darkness alone.

Mission accomplished: at last, a story that makes you check you’ve locked all the doors, and leaves you very thankful indeed for the electric light. At a time of high anxiety, reading this (earlier than I intended; it's out in October) was a sort of treat to myself, and it worked perfectly, the sinister atmosphere completely engulfing all other worries. I really wanted to love Paver's books, the premises sound like the type of fiction that I love but they fail to deliver. Our narrator Stephen is a likeable guy from the get-go, he’s a little bit clumsy and his self-deprecating humour adds a lighter tone to the novel. The setting is a mountaineering expedition in the 1930s to the world’s third highest mountain, Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas.In London in 1937, 28-year-old Jack Miller is stuck in a dead-end job and jumps at the chance to be a wireless operator on a year-long Arctic expedition to Gruhuken on the northeast coast of Svalbard, though he has reservations about the class divide separating him from the other, Oxford University educated, members of the team. Stephen Pearce, his brother Kits, and a handful of other intrepid explorers have a mission ahead of them. Robert Glenister and Ian McDiarmid star in a gripping BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of William Peter Blatty's classic horror novel. Written entirely in the first person in the form of Jack’s journal entries, Dark Matter is atmospheric and believable in the extreme – and actually quite believable too, as all Jack has with him to last that cold, dark winter are the sled dogs, a tinny radio, and his own thoughts on paper.

The details conjure up the atmosphere of infinite space and edge-of-the-world reality faced by the group in a very convincing manner and the passage from the blinding light reflecting on the ice to the relentless darkness set a heavy weight on my chest as I was reading. Pete Shah is a 70-year-old lapsed Muslim NYPD detective who, after being told he must serve another five years before retirement, is framed for the murder of a prostitute. This is the sort of book you don't see too often these days, indeed you might be fooled into thinking it was written contemporaneously. Paver is the mistress of suspense” agrees Amanda Craig in her review of children’s books for Halloween in The Times. But the expedition seems to be cursed - even before their ship departs one member of the crew drops out.Over the course of weeks, eerie happenings disturb his peace of mind: a masked figure from Sardinian folklore lurks in the bush, and a blood-covered sewing dummy appears in his attic. I thought the premise turned out to be really quite unique in a genre where there isn’t much room for newness. Isaak made me like Jack, which is quite an accomplishment because Jack is a self-important, self-absorbed grouch.

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