Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen in Prime Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars23
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Kindle Edition|Change
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 12 September 2006
This book can be read on so many levels and no matter what you look for in a story you'll find somethig here for you. Its a story of adventure and redemption, a love story, a study of madness and human nature. Recommended for all readers, young and old, male and female!
I found the characters had great depth to them, in particular Sym and her very mad uncle. There is a malevolence and menace to the uncle that gradually comes to the surface. When you finally do see the extent of his insanity it is terrifying.
Sym's descriptions of the Antartic are vivid and questioning...why does nature go to all the trouble of being so beautiful when no one is there to see it? She is a likable character, realistically awkward and ugly-duckling like, refreshing in her naiviety.
Give this book a try. You wont be disappointed.
0Comment|16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 December 2006
This is without a doubt one of the best books I've read this year...and possibly one of the best reads ever. Thought-provoking, moving, descriptive, and with a dash of humour. The characters were great, especially Sym, the main character. She makes a nice change from most forthright and bold heroes, and I loved watching her grow in confidence through her adventures. The descriptions of Antarctica were breathtaking.

Read it!
0Comment|12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 March 2008
The White Darkness is my favourite book ever. I was about nine years old when my (highly intelligent)friend read this book and phoned me up and told me that I was identical to Sym (She hastely added minus the 'imadginary' friend) and seeing as there has never been anyone remotly like me in a book before I had to read it. I am very glad I did as it is my favourite book ever. And I read a LOT of books.

Naturally, given the above explination, you can probably guess that my favourite thing about the book is the main charector, Sym. And you would be right. This is the first and only book I have read that the main charector is deaf. It pefectly portayed what living with hearing aids at fourteen (and younger, both of us starting to wear them at seven, when kids aren't so polite about them). Of course several of the subtle annoyences with hearing aids where left out, such as if you try to talk to anyone on the phone you can't wear them and have to take them out (very very annoying).

Sym is also very easy to relate to with her puzzlement at teenage culture (sure a rather tamer version then what really happens but these are her friends). Trying to understand girls infactuation with gangaly, acne-ridden, brutish (and evil) boys that expect you to be begging you to worship (and other stuff) is perfectly portrayed.

The actually story of the novel is a charming adventure with Sym (and the reader) oblivious to what is going to happen. It is fantastically well written and the story is perfectly layed out.

This book easily gets five stars and an instant reccomendation for anyone.
0Comment|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Geraldine McCaughrean, whose Not the End of the World, a subversive way of looking at Noah's Flood, I had absolutely adored, here turns her pull-few-punches gaze on a story of the Antarctic, marrying revisitings of Scott's expedition with the story of a young girl, and a fascination/obsession with Titus Oates, from that expedition, and her own, much darker trip to the Antarctic.

I am devoted to books with Polar, frozen settings, and I do very much like fine writing for teens which does not patronise, dumb down, or underestimate the intelligence of that audience. As McCaughrean is definitely a writer without an ounce of `talking down to' in her writing, and is moreover a writer who makes any reader - teen or far beyond the YA world, work and pay attention whilst at the same time being driven on by `what happens next and to whom' urgency, I really expected to love this book

And I did and I didn't. The central character, Sym, is intelligent, wounded, rather a loner, and out of step within the world of her peers, who appear to be an unlikeable, superficial, tiresome bunch,

Sym is extremely likeable, an attractive combination of maturity and integrity but despite some sort of emotional wisdom, she is extremely innocent of `street smarts', and therefore extremely vulnerable to those without the integrity she has. And that is pretty well every character in the book.

She has a rich inner fantasy life. Her father died when she was quite young, and she has constructed a strong inner male hero, protector, guide, who teeters between father figure, someone SHE protects, and possible future lover. This fantasy figure is Titus Oates, always in her head and heart, with whom she has imagined conversations, whom she goes to for advice - he almost functions as an aspect of her best self. She is extremely complex, and absolutely out of step with a more simplistic, unsubtle world, especially a world filled with people on the make.

I failed to completely love this book in part because the situations Sym was manipulated into were very distressing indeed to an adult reader. I suspect the intended audience may have slightly tougher skins, certainly those that are possessed of street smarts and affect a world-weary demeanour. I found myself slightly shocked that this is a book for children. But it can't be denied that the world contains plenty of people who DO prey on, and exploit children, in many different ways.

McCaughrean tells her story sensitively and some of my sense of disturbance, paradoxically comes because she is so light touch. She trusts the reader's sensibility. . It is a book, apart from Sym herself and her imaginary presence of Titus Oates, pretty much without another major redeeming or redeemable character, whether adult or child/teen.

Sym herself is the only light, brightness. The frozen, indifferent, beautiful, treacherous landscape is a major character in this.

The only concession to the age of her audience, I felt, was the ending. Not quite one which works for this reader, I felt the author had pulled a little back from reality, allowed a couple of coincidences too far, to provide something a little more palatable, a little less bleak
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 February 2013
I don't like The Guardian much but I find it absolutely impossible to disagree with their verdict of this book - summed up in one word: "astonishing".

This is truly an astonishing story. Not only is it an amazing feat of imagination - just getting our fourteen year old protagonist to the Antarctic in the first place, without the permission of her mother - but, even more surprisingly, it is a very credible story. One finds oneself buying into Uncle Victor's madness and the reality of the voice of the long-dead Titus Oates which keeps Sym sane and alive throughout her ordeal.

Sym is an intelligent, articulate narrator, who the reader empathises with immediately. As much a victim as a heroine, I found myself almost breathlessly rooting for her, hoping against hope that she would make it back to her mother.

I can't find any criticisms of this book at all. It is beautifully written, gripping, action-packed and very, very difficult to put down. Reader, be warned - this book will remain stuck in your hands as firmly as if you too had touched the outside of the Hagglund all terrain vehicle with bare hands and got your fingers stuck to it in the intense cold. You just won't be able to put it down.
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 6 November 2010
Since reviews here seem very polarised, I thought I'd add my two cents. Caveat: I am an adult, and quite possibly would have looked at this book differently when I was 12 or 13, which I imagine is the intended audience.

Things I loved about this book: The main character, Sym, really comes alive, as does her 'imaginary friend' Titus, and both are very likeable; the plot is incredibly gripping and pacy with plenty of twists; the description is great, you really fall into the world of 'The Ice'.

Things I didn't like: The modern things near the beginning of the book (Sym's schoolfriends particularly) jarred with the otherwise timeless feel of the novel; I felt the author was trying a bit too hard to make Uncle Victor a 'character' at the beginning and also didn't like the way he goes on at her about how her father hated her (this just seemed unlikely and like piling it on too much); there are a couple of plot twists that become obvious to the reader long before the main character catches on to them, which was irritating; the character of Sigurd, the young boy, wasn't very believable to me; the way the main character reacts when things start spiralling out of control sometimes felt unbelievable too.

Having said all this, I did really enjoy the book. I guess I'm just a bit disappointed because there is so much that is right with this novel and it is ALMOST amazing, but there were also a bunch of things that annoyed me and stopped it being a really immersive reading experience. Nonetheless I would recommend it for any adolescents/ teenagers.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 25 September 2005
I absolutley love this book. Yet again Geraldine Mccaughrean has produced a book for the young adult market which surpassess anything else on the reading shelves. Sym is a teenage girl going through teen things until her uncle decides to take her to Paris or so she and everyone elso thinks, that is until she arrives in the antarctic. To help her on this trip is her soul companion who lives in her head and just so happens to be Captain Lawrence(Titus) Oates who was on the fateful Scott expedition and who so memorably walked out of the tent leaving a note saying "I maybe some time". Can Titus help save our intrepid heroine? I would recommend reading it to find out not only about Sym but also about the Arctic and Titus Oates. This is an absolutely fabulous read and will stay with you forever.
0Comment|36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 June 2008
This is an incredibly moving, beautiful, frightening and suspenseful book. I was up half the night, unable to put it down, desperate to know what was going to happen. I've never read anything by the author before (I'm 36, so maybe that's why), but she is now in my list of top ten writers. It was completely unpredictable, and yet she made it totally believeable, and made it matter - the story and the characters are indelibly etched on my mind. Utterly unforgettable, compares favourably with Ursula K Le Guin's ice-bound classic, The Left Hand of Darkness. Buy it!
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 July 2008
White Darkness is a beautiful, imaginative and satisfying read. Very believable characters and a great heroine in Sym. Her constant companion,
Titus Oates, gives her so much strength although he is only in her head!The landscape of the Antarctic is brought to life so vividly. The cold, the snow, the slowness of time passing in difficult circumstances all feel so real to the reader. Many twists and unpredictable turns along the way, all created in a lovely writing style that just feels so spot on.
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 August 2007
This is a very good book by Geraldine McCaughrean, set in the Antarctic. It follows a girl called Sym as a quick family get-away to Paris suddenly spirals out of control: Sym's Uncle Victor has decided to take her to Antarctica! For Sym it's a dream come true, but as the story unfolds it gradually turns into a nightmare.

Sym and her uncle Victor are origionally part of a group thats exploring Antarctica. But on arriving at Antarctica, Victor tells Sym of his real plans for the trip: to reach a theriotical landmark in the dead heart of antarctica.

This is a fantastic novel, it's very well written and is a real page turner!
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items


Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.