34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Outpost (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The book tells the tale of a skeleton crew marooned on a drilling rig in the Arctic Circle as the rest of the world succumbs to a mysterious plague. As the Arctic winter draws in their hopes of escape are raised and dashed (and raised and dashed...).
The evocation of the bleak environment, both within the rig and out on the ice, is handled pretty well, and the central idea of whether you want to be the first to go or the last to survive when your world ends is a recurrent theme of the dialogue between the characters. My main problem is that virtually all of the characters are so sparsely sketched that it is hard to care about any of them.
The writing style is spartan with lots of short sentences. By way of example: "Bitter. She grimaced. She scooped more painkillers. She didn't want to fall asleep before she ate enough pills to kill herself outright. She didn't want to wake.". Depending on your tastes, this is either invigorating or irritating. For me, it was irritating and interrupted the flow of the story.
There are a number of big set-pieces which help to keep the story moving along, and the survivors' reactions to the approaching plague are reasonably well framed, if not exactly novel. Personally, I think bringing in the sci-fi aspect was a mistake - a case of trying to tick too many genre boxes? Overall, this comes across as a plot treatment for a disaster movie, with some of the set pieces seemingly chosen for how they will look on-screen, rather than as a coherent development of the storyline. If you're not looking for anything deep or meaningful, it's an OK way to pass an evening or two, but overall I'd rate it as average.