Dark Matter Paperback – 1 Sep 2011
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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)
A terrifying 1930s ghost story set in the haunting wilderness of the far north.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is fantastic, I literally could not put it down and stayed up late into the night even with work in the morning. Read morePublished 3 days ago by M
Really grips you and makes you feel like you are observing the development of the story together with the main character in the remoteness of the cabin.Published 3 days ago by michaela20
Condition overstated. Sold as 'very good' but had quite clearly been read numerous times. But a clean book and a very good value.Published 2 months ago by David T
I’m not a big reader of ghost stories. Not because I have a particular aversion to them, but the rise in crime thrillers seems to have eclipsed the haunting tales of previous... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Joy Isabella
I do not like reading but had to by this for my GCSE English however I couldn't put it down! Superbly written making it very clear to put yourself in Jack's shoes and experience... Read morePublished 3 months ago by AJ
This is a strange one. I read it in a day and would call it more a novella than a full-length novel. Read morePublished 4 months ago by C. J. Simmons