- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Orion Books; First Edition edition (2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1409123782
- ISBN-13: 978-1409123781
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 59 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dark Matter Hardcover – 2010
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When I began reading it, I got the mistaken idea that it was going to somehow resemble Frankenstein (Shelley), because it began with a letter and is composed as a series of journal entries, which start with the main character beginning a journey to the far north. However, any resemblance to Frankenstein (a novel I hated), quickly faded as the story picked up. It's well-written, but in a very simple style. Perfect for what it's supposed to be.
I enjoyed this novel, and found that I could not read it right before bed. However, it doesn't compare to Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series, which is incredible. It's young adult, but so well-constructed that any adult fan of good literature will enjoy them as well. I highly recommend the audiobooks, read by Ian McKellen.
The prose is often spare and seldom given to wild flights of drama, but for all that, it aptly conveys the creeping fear that can possess those who have been placed in a bleak and hostile environment that is dominated by the relentless cold and dark. Gorehounds will be most disappointed, and those who enjoy lavish and florid set pieces of carnage and pain will likewise find this to be thin gruel. This is definitely an atmospheric piece that counts on the reader to let his or her own imagination invite the fear on in.
I would suggest that those who pick up this book also go on to read Adam Nevill's "The Ritual". Both feature a small group of Englishmen forging into Arctic terrain for which they are not really prepared, and both center on an outsider character who is separated from the others by divisions of class and income and career. Both volumes also take their time to build up the tension and let the anxiety and panic increase, but Nevill's work is rather more literal in certain respects, with more concrete and physical manifestations of menace, and is somehow the weaker for that. Paver's tale, of course, will remind many of "The Turn of the Screw", which may or may not be to the reader's liking, although there are indeed a couple of twists along the way.
A handful of photographs of scenery near the Arctic Circle is included, along with an interview with the author. This is excellent stuff for those who want a bit of a more cerebral horror story and are willing to put up with a slow burn, or in this case, a long freeze.