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49 Reviews
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 out of 5 - neither his best nor his worst
I approached this book with trepidation. I loved most of Simmons' ground-breaking early and mid-career work (Hyperion, Illium) and really enjoyed the slow burn of The Terror, but I was bored by Drood, and hated the constant political intrusion of Flashback. Where would this book fit in?

Well, it's in between. It's got some tension, although not as much as The...
Published 10 months ago by A-Canadian-in-London

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Novel of Peaks and Troughs... but Mostly Troughs
The Abominable is a novel of peaks and troughs, unfortunately more troughs than peaks. To start with, the blurb on the back is very misleading, hinting at a supernatural thriller instead of a book anchored solely in the art and lore of high-altitude climbing. Yetis are hinted at in the book very briefly, yet they never appear despite the hints offered by the blurb, cover...
Published 13 months ago by Honest Chap's Reviews


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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the book it says it is, 1 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The Abominable (Paperback)
This book promotes itself as a thriller along the lines of a Stephen King novel. Yeti's chasing climbers up Everest.... It is far from that. 200 pages in and still no mention of a yeti.This book is a deception and it is a shame because it is an excellent mountaineering book. Simmons has the ability to write well and does serious research into the actual historical background. It is a shame he does not have the confidence to market the book for what it is rather than dress it up to try an appeal to a wider audience. Dan Simmons deserves to be the lead character in Stephen Kings "Misery" !
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for Me, 9 Nov. 2013
By 
Ben Bridges (lowestoft, suffolk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Abominable (Kindle Edition)
I'm amazed at the number of positive reviews this book has received. From the introduction, in which author Dan Simmons recounts his meeting with a terminally-ill old-timer named Jake Perry, whose story forms the book to follow, it just seems contrived and clumsy. Simmons presents himself as alternately a best-selling author one minute, then as a somewhat naive and inexperienced-to-the-point-of-embarrassment researcher the next. Questions are asked solely to impart answers to the reader and don't feel like real dialogue at all. These characters simply don't 'speak' or act the way you and I do.

Anyway, once we get past the introduction, the story is picked up by Jake Perry himself. But again there are numerous heavy-handed references to real-life events in order to set the scene, and for reasons best known to himself, Perry/Simmons tells his yarn in the present tense -- always a bit off-putting.

As a story it's no more than so-so. A stricter edit and a more subtle approach to the material would have helped immeasurably. But what the hell? Give it enough publicity and people will buy it anyway, so why bother?
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1.0 out of 5 stars One Star, 22 Nov. 2014
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E. Arderne "Mirin" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Abominable (Paperback)
very good came quickly
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 10 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: The Abominable (Hardcover)
All good thank you
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terror in Tibet?, 2 Dec. 2013
This review is from: The Abominable (Hardcover)
I loved The Terror, absolutely loved it ...The Abominable is not The Terror in Tibet, no matter what the cover and blurb suggests...

Brilliantly researched the first part of the book is an absorbing study of mountaineering in its Golden Age, the 1920s when tweed jackets and stout walking boots were the order of the day and anyone using oxygen was seen as a "rotter". The depth and breadth of Simmons formidable research is his hallmark and your enjoyment of this book will depend on your liking for detail...and lots of it.

I imagine many readers might not have the stamina for this preliminary journey. But if you do you are rewarded by a strong atmospheric and emotional reading experience. The middle third of the book is a uncomfortable reminder of how absolutely unforgiving Mount Everest can be to those foolish enough to attempt to climb her vertical slopes.

Lacking the creature set pieces of The Terror, The Abominable becomes a 'Boys Own' thriller/murder mystery with an action-packed finale near the summit. The big reveal was Disappointing with a capital D. A deceptive book in so many ways - it's not a sequel to the Terror, it's not about Yetis, the framing device is fiction and there are a myriad of deceptions in the story.

No it's not the Terror, it is altogether a different animal, but The Abominable shares the weaving of fiction with historical fact, characters you care about and a thumping good story...and lots of information about crampons.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an interesting and fast paced read, 22 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The Abominable (Kindle Edition)
A good book, which when totally immersed in, draws you into the story. Maybe tails off a bit towards the end but by then you are hooked
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story so make sure you have plenty of free time once you have started on it ..., 10 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The Abominable (Kindle Edition)
Wasn't sure what I was going to find when I started the book but then I found I couldn't put it down, even in the middle of the night! Great story which keeps on making one wonder if what was written could have happened, if in a slightly different way. I have always thought that Mallory and Irvine reached the summit of Everest, especially now that we know that the Second Step on the North side can be free climbed as demonstrated recently by Leo Houlding and Konrad Anker. A few typos and grammatical mistakes but otherwise a gripping read. My only question is : why the title chosen as it could put readers off if they are not into horror fiction and that would have been a shame. A definite 5 stars for me.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok, 27 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Abominable (Kindle Edition)
Rather drawn out. And the climbing portrayals were a bit too technical & elongated for me, probably interesting for a climber. Afraid I gave up before end.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You can feel the icy winds of Everest!, 21 Oct. 2013
By 
B. Selcoe (bournemouth, england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Abominable (Kindle Edition)
Ok, firstly I loved this book. It's brilliantly written and you live every moment of this harrowing adventure through the eyes of the characters.

However, this part of the description....

"As the winds rise and the temperature and oxygen levels drop, Deacon and his companions hear howls in the distance. Some dark creature is tracking them up the mountain, sending them scrabbling blindly into Everest's dangerous heights to escape it."

**SPOILER**

Led me to believe that the story would revolve around a yeti/abominable snowman, in a similar battle for survival that the characters in The Terror, had. This isn't the case. 'Yeti' are often reference, but this isn't what this story is about, it's so much more!

The depth of the story is incredible, the characters pasts are described so intricately that you feel like you know them.

Highly recommend reading, but I still slightly prefer the Terror, but only just!
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One step up and three steps back, 26 Oct. 2013
This review is from: The Abominable (Hardcover)
Like the less enthusiastic reviews on this page -- or, more pointedly, like "Chicago Tribune" reviewer, Michael Robbins -- I am sad to report that while Dan Simmons has left behind the crazed political gremlin who sat (and shat) on his shoulder during the writing of FLASHBACK, the dull Ben-Stein-voiced, didactic professor is still hanging ten on his other shoulder -- throughout the majority of this book, in fact. And it's a looooooooooooooong, mother of a book. That drudging, didactic professor is also responsible, I assume, for the recent spate of expository declarations that nearly all of Simmons's characters spew throughout his novels these days (it was alarmingly present in BLACK HILLS; and while it was likewise in FLASHBACK, the crazed, right-wing political declarations and hackneyed plotting/writing overshadowed that weakness).

That's a shame, 'cause Simmons starts off with a conceit that is unique to him thus far: the metafictional, author as character bit, with Simmons talking about writing THE TERROR and then meeting Jake Perry, the man who is pivotal in the narrative of THE ABOMINABLE. In fact, it is Perry's journal that makes up the majority of the novel, and Simmon's narrative moves from first person "author" narrative to first person narrative by Perry with ease.

Unfortunately, Simmons makes the now-familiar misstep of taking a very good, quite competent, historical fiction narrative and begins overloading it with facts, and exposition (too often in the form of clunky conversation) and more facts, and minutiae and even more facts, and...well, you get the idea. It's as if he is trying to compensate for either lack of a big enough idea (to fill out his BIG novel -- and what's wrong with a short, 200-300 page thriller, anyway?) with tons of information. In this case, most of it about climbing a mountain, and the experiences thereof (perhaps, being the obviously frustrated desk jockey that he is, Simmons is also overcompensating for not actually climbing a mountain in the fashion of the men in this novel). In any case, it's not only a mood killer -- there's no suspense until the last third of the novel, and by then, the not-so-amazing-mystery, or limp macguffin, has been revealed -- it's absolute death to the narrative momentum.

There is ONE interesting surprise -- that has to do with one of the characters -- but unfortunately some brainiac in the PR department of Little, Brown decided to give it away on the dust jacket.

Suffice it to say Perry and friends -- at the behest of someone's ma -- go lookin' for a long lost soul on the side of Mt. Everest. Once they (finally, FINALLY!) get there, near novel's end, they find another sort of danger. And no, Virginia, it ain't a Yeti. Which is cool with me, 'cause I thought Simmons's supernatural slant in THE TERROR was a bit of a cop-out (and the reason it is only a good, rather than great, novel). But here, he tries so hard to find a sort of Eiger Sanction/James Bond sort of twist that it ends up being almost laughable.

By the way: the stilted conversation in this novel -- even the parts that sound like bad actors in a 1950s SF movie trying to explain too much -- isn't all that bad. Given that this is a period piece, the novel could've survived that (in fact, what I think of as the "new" Dan Simmons, see my older reviews, has a style that works really well with historical fiction. He should stick to writing that). What sinks this boat -- er, what drags this expedition over the cliff -- is the constant need by the author to overload each page with facts, facts, facts, usually about mountain climbing/and or gear. It's an unnecessary information dump. Simmons has been prone to this sort of thing for a while, with early chapters in CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT bogging down because of it. But either because of his own skill as a writer (which I think was largely responsible), and/or the skill of his editors, before the year 2000 ( the year his writing took a downturn for the worse), Simmons managed to usually moderated his need for those everything-but-the-kitchen-sink info dumps that clutter his books.

Now, it's like an avalanche: out of control, and taking everything from the reader's attention span to the writer's talent with it, right on over a cliff, at the bottom of which lies an abyss I like to call auctorial obscurity.

In the end, with THE ABOMINABLE, Simmons has moved one step up (the shucking off of the genre "walker" that made him feel safe; the metafictional beginning) and three steps back (more didactic expositions, the limp plot revelations, and so-so, sometimes cliched, characters), back to the shaky fictional ground he was standing on when he published DROOD. If only Simmons had taken just one more step...he might have found himself writing a novel as good, or better than, THE TERROR.
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The Abominable
The Abominable by Dan Simmons (Paperback - 2 Jan. 2014)
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