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Dark Matter Paperback – 1 Sep 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 405 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (1 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409121186
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409121183
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (405 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Evocative, chilling and superbly unsettling, it is very good indeed. (Sarah Broadhurst BOOKSELLER)

This gripping ghost story has moments of horror and beauty (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Paver's descriptions of the topography are marvellously vivid and add to the sense of menace that suffuses the story (Joan Smith SUNDAY TIMES)

An atmospheric ghost story that would give Susan Hill a run for her money (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

A chilling period piece, Dark Matter cunningly illustrates how fear, rather than death, is the great equaliser. (INDEPENDENT)

More than just a ghost story, this is an exquisitely told psychological thriller. Unputdownable! (WOMANS WEEKLY)

A genuinely terrifying tale ... I cannot recommend this novel enough, especially in these dark nights, you will certainly get more than you bargained for. I did. (SAVIDGE READS Book Blog)

Ghost stories don't frighten me much but this one did. Quite a lot, actually ... Chilling in every respect. (Richard Madeley)

Dark Matter builds suspense brilliantly ... As well as a ghost story, it's a great portrayal of Svalbard and the experience of spending a winter in the Arctic. (ADVENTURE TRAVEL)

A genuinely suspenseful and really quite chilling tale (TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT)

Book Description

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

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Michelle Paver is best-known for her very enjoyable young adult series `The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness'. Dark Matter is not Paver's first adult novel but it is her first ghost story. It is an eerie story set in the Arctic in the late 1930s. Dark Matter is told in the first person through the journal of Jack Miller. Jack Miller is poor and eager to change his life so when four upper-class young men offer him the chance to be a wireless operator on an Arctic expedition he jumps at the chance even though the difference in their class makes him the odd man out.

The expedition seems to be doomed from the start and there are inklings of chilling things to come on the deserted bay of Gruhuken.
What makes Dark Matter so effective is Paver's clever evocation of the stark and desolate landscape of the Arctic and Jack's increasing isolation as the novel progresses. It is more of a psychological novel than a gory sort of ghost story but the best ghost stories often are. It is the suggestion of the ghost which creates the most suspense and there is a genuine sense of unease throughout the novel which Paver manages to keep up all the way through.

What I also liked is the relationships in the novel which I felt lifted it from the normal, run-of-mill ghost story into something really interesting. The tense relationships between Jack and his fellow explorers - Gus and Algie being the main ones and Gus in particular- and Jack's relationship with the husky Isaak which is finely portrayed and the most warming part in a very chilly novel!
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Format: Hardcover
I've been fascinated by Svalbard and arctic Norway since visiting a few years ago. It was therefore the setting of the story which made me buy the book initially. I wasn't disappointed, Paver's descriptions of the landscape, wildlife and sounds of Svalbard and the unique atmosphere of the place were excellent.

If I'm going to be critical, I would agree with other reviewers who've noted that the characters lacked depth. I think that this element of Paver's writing was more suited to a younger audience, adult readers may expect more complexity and depth to their characters. I couldn't really engage with anyone besides Jack and I didn't feel any more than a passing interest in the relationship between Gus and Jack (which I think was intended to be a major theme of the story). However, I was really taken up with Jack's developing bond with Isaak the husky, which, to a person who loves dogs, seemed well observed. In the end, besides the spookiness and suspense, it was this more than anything that kept me riveted.

After having said that, any lack of character development didn't spoil my enjoyment of the story at all. I loved the building suspense and was totally gripped from the start. I never finish a book just for the sake of it, and I've lost count of the number of books I've half finished, but this one kept me glued to the end. Disappointingly (I wanted it to last longer!) I finished reading it in a day.

In summary, although Dark Matter has some minor faults, I'd say it was the most enjoyable read I've had in a long time.
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By Chinatown Blue TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you are looking for gore, romantic vampires, or zombie rampages, this isn't the book for you. But if you enjoy a really well-crafted, subtly creepy and intriguing ghost story, this fits the bill admirably. I'm a veteran horror fan, and I found this story almost impossible to put down; I actually burned my lunch because I got so caught up in it. And yet it is entirely understated - the impact comes from suggestion rather than overt, in-your-face effects. Even the descriptions of the most prosaic matters, of daily routines for a small group of men in a remote location, are extraordinarily vivid, and when it comes to the less mundane she truly excels. If I have one complaint it is that it was over too quickly. But that reflects how easy it is to read, and how hard it is not to pick it up. I am looking for this author's works for younger readers, because if they are as good as this, my kids will love them.
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By sahara VINE VOICE on 10 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
When a group of friends set off on an exploration of the Arctic, eager for adventure, they are oblivious to the danger and darkness they face ahead.

You are invited to read Jack's diary, a young man whose luck turns when he is offered the life changing experience of wireless operator which he sees as an opportunity to make a name for himself.

When unfortunate events start forcing the others to abandon the expedition Jack finds himself with the difficult choice of abandoning the trip or staying behind to face whatever is walking among them.

Sounds like a great premise doesn't it? An Arctic winter, an era when communications were basic, something unknown walking around the camp, in the endless days of darkness. Enough to give you Goosebumps before reading the first page but does the story live up the hype?

Well, it would apart from one major problem. You end up not really caring about the main character, Jack. His bitterness of everything from what he perceives as the others not liking him, mainly because he is poor, to complaining he is poor and resenting the easy lives he perceives the others of having. Why they bothered taking him on the trip is beyond me. So if you can get over this dislike of Jack you might be able to enjoy him shudder and shake at every shadow in the dark. Hash, aren't I?

There is one saving grace about this book, the description of living a lonely existence in the Arctic winter is both chilling and atmospheric, so much so you will start feeling the cold yourself. Yet it has to be mentioned that the ghost story itself is slightly predictable.
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