Saturday, November 20, 2010

Book Review: Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

Orion Fiction



Paperback - C Format

November 2010

272 pages

Horror & Ghost Stories

A terrifying 1930s ghost story set in the haunting wilderness of the far north.

January 1937. Twenty-eight year old Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life. So when he's offered the chance to be the wireless operator on an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it.Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway: five men and eight huskies, crossing the Barents Sea by the light of the midnight sun. At last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year. Gruhuken.But the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. Soon he will see the last of the sun, as the polar night engulfs the camp in months of darkness. Soon he will reach the point of no return - when the sea will freeze, making escape impossible. But Gruhuken is not uninhabited. Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark.


After gaining a degree in biochemistry from Oxford University, Michelle Paver practised law, but eventually gave that up to write full-time. She is the author of the internationally bestselling Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series for children, published in thirty-six territories. DARK MATTER is her first adult ghost story. It arises from her lifelong love of the Arctic, which has taken her to northern Canada, Greenland, Scandinavia and Spitsbergen.

Previous Books:

Ghost Hunter (Bfmt 9781842551172 Jun 10);

Chronicles of Ancient Darkness 3-books-in-1;

Oath Breaker;


Soul Eater;

Spirit Walker


Dark Matter is the second creepy ghost story I’ve read in the last month, and a great return to the more traditional format of a good old fashioned scarey story that doesn’t rely on blood and gore to shock the readers. The book is set in London in 1937 on the brink of a new world war.

The main character, Jack Miller, is a down and out soul with no friends of family and lives in the gloomiest part of the city. How could he say no when he's offered a chance to join an expedition to the Arctic Circle, away from the fog and dirt of London? The expedition starts well, but gradually it seems that something, or someone does not want them, as the land of the midnight sun becomes the land of the eternal dark, things seem to start happening, a last revenge...

Dark matter is written in a diary style, first person format, covering the six months of Jack Miller's expedition to Gruhuken, Spitsberg (Svalbard in the modern day). When the 4 months of never-ending darkness of the eternal night set in, Jack feels uneasy, as if something malicious, something malign, is watching his every move, willing him to leave.

This is a great read and I can’t wait for Michelle’s next book to come out if it is anything like this one.

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