*Book Review* Dark Matter: a ghost story

Dark Matter: a ghost story

By Michelle Paver

Dark Matter was suggested by a dear friend and member of my online book club, as a suggested spooky read for October. At first, I got it as an audible book, but for some reason I couldn’t get into it, some books I just have to read for myself, I could not get into the audible book. But I didn’t give in, I went out to buy the book, and I am so glad I did.

I am a fairly fast reader usually, as long as I have the time, I can read a book within hours. This book took a lot longer and it wasn’t because I didn’t have time. My usual time for reading is late in the evening when my kids have gone to bed, but once I got into this story I couldn’t keep this up, as I found it quite haunting to read. So I had to try to find time during the day to read. I finally managed it on New Years Day, a perfect day to finish a good book and start the new year.

Dark Matter is a chilling tale set in the cold, harsh, haunting wilderness of the Artic. A wonderful suspenseful, psychological tale which will leave you questioning everything.

Jack, our main character, has a chance to join an expedition to the Artic, and as his life has not taken the road he expected, he jumps at the chance to escape the monotony of his existence. It is his experience and diary that keeps the story moving. The trip suffers some bad luck from the beginning, and even without the ominous letter at the start, you can already sense, this isn’t going to be the end of bad luck and misfortune. The story evolves from a “boys adventure” to something much more sinister and spooky.

Pavers description of Spitsbergen, Gruhuken (although completely made up) and the Artic winter are so impressive, I could imagine everything as I read it, the bear post specifically was so clear in my mind that when the story starts to really take its turn for the hauntingly scary, I was right there with Jack.

Gruhuken, the completely made up but equally realistic setting for the tale, holds a horrific or “dismal past” as Jack puts it, that no one wants to talk about and one that should probably stay quiet, but the benevolent spirit that haunts the Island has other ideas. But the most terrifying notion in this whole ordeal is the emotional not knowing. Are the visions, the sounds, the awful things Jack experiences all real, or are they his mind playing tricks on him as he endures the loneliness, the quiet and stillness of the Artic?

Either way the story is a true masterpiece of ghost story fiction. It is more than a haunted house ghost story, the setting, the ordeal and the realistic feeling of the despair and loneliness, through to the menacing feeling of evil, all sets this apart as a truly remarkable read.

As a final thought, if a ghost story is not necessarily your cup of tea, it is worth checking this story out for the beautiful character that is Isaac the Husky. A true, loyal companion to our -at first reluctant dog person – Jack. Isaac is a flicker of happiness in the moments of fear, isolation and darkness. This tale would not be the same, the beautiful Husky brings some warmth to an otherwise chilling tale.

It’s not often I am lost for words, but in this case, I don’t want to over review and spoil it for others, I won’t go on about what happens at Gruhuken and I won’t put any spoilers in as I think, as a reader, if you think you may enjoy it, give it a go, you won’t be disappointed. It does have a slow start but bear with it. It’s worth it.

Overall, I am glad my friend suggested it, as I had never heard of it and I might not ever have picked it up in a book shop, and this would have been a shame as I really enjoyed it. Yes it took a while to finish it, but for me that just added to my experience. A book is really something, if it powerful enough to make me not want to read it during the cold nights of winter, as I may not sleep after I have put it down.

I would definitely recommend this book and give it:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5 stars.

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