Friday, 16 December 2016

Book Review - Dark Matter - Michelle Paver

'How odd, that light should prevent one from seeing.'

Dark matter follows Jack, a class conscious, poor, 28 year old man joining an Artic expedition in the late 1930s. Due to continuous unfortunate circumstances, Jack is left alone at the camp for weeks at end, with only the huskys for company, during this time he suffers and intense haunting of unknown origin.

As you know I am always on the search for a good horror novel. I don't know why but I never seem to really find horror/ghost stories in book shops, most likely because I don't know who or what to look for, so when I stumbled upon Dark Matter I jumped at the chance for a good scare.

The book is written in journal format from Jack's point of view, and this is conveyed very well. He comes across as an unreliable narrator, holding things back from his journals till later on in the story due to his own embarrasment - and I think that is realistic, when I was younger and kept a diary it was the most boring read as anything interesting would be left out due to fear someone would find what I had written and humiliate me...

I think everyone's favourite character in the book will be Isaak the husky. Jack for some insane reason doesn't like dogs when he first starts the expedition, he doesn't like them and feels embarrassed for those who fawn over them. However, over time and increasing isolation Jack forms a bond with the dogs, he sees what intelligent creatures they really are, and learns that he needs this bond, especially with Isaak as times get increasingly dark.

The story behind the haunting itself was interesting, but vague. I understand that Jack himself was stuck in the Arctic so didn't have all the resources to find out what happened to cause the events he suffers, and the story mostly come to him in dream/imaginary form, which was fine, but lacked the details I would have really liked.

I wouldn't say the story itself really scared me. I read the book late one night and didn't feel I needed to stop at any point due to fear, infact I wanted to keep going, to see how far this haunting would go, how dark it would get. However, I would say that after I had finished the book, that is when I started to get creeped out. Laying in the dark, unable to really see anything but black, much like Jack in his cabin, my imagination did start to get the better of me; its winter here too, so the coldness of my toes mixed with the darkness did create an atmosphere that was eerily similar (though a thousand times less arduous) than that of Jack's.

Overall I think I would give this a 3/5. I enjoyed the book, and I thought it was well written - I will be looking for more Michelle Paver works in the future, but I would have enjoyed it if there were more subtle thrills throughout the story, if there was an eerie prescence even when it was supposedly calm. I suppose becuase I really want a good scare book I am being particularly picky - this book was good, and I can see it scaring a lot of people, but I still wanted more.

Have you read Dark Matter? If so, let me know what you thought in the comments below!


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