Summary Paver

What we enjoyed about the book:

  • Light reading (in a positive sense), pacing / flow of narrative worked smoothly
  • Setting was the best –> creepy atmosphere, sense of place, “lonely”, “abandoned”, worked together in the end
  • Creepy sensation
  • Well researched, small details impressive
  • Not infodumping with historical trivia and detail
  • Dogs ❤
  • Progression of how attitudes changed: dogs, place
  • Relatable: alone, thinking somebody is outside, looking out of the window, trying to see who is there
  • Reading it made me too feel haunted, hunted, like Jack
  • Psychological horror well done, thrilled, “sucked me in”, goosebumps, one person glad they finished reading in the afternoon
  • Relatable main character
  • Narrative choices + format worked really well, but also took away from the suspense (he wrote all of this down, so he needs to be alive in the end)
  • “Very gay and I loved it”, subtle though
  • Queer infatuation also gave Jack a reason to stay, he craved validation
  • Foreshadowing well done
  • Interesting connections to R.L. Stevenson

What we discussed:

  • Horror could have been weirder, could’ve been more Lovecraftian
  • Imbalanced relationship with Gus, idealisation
  • Not creepy to everyone, ghost moments handled very well, not a very original ghost tale
  • Atmosphere and setting great, but not invested in the expedition or the characters
  • Jack being fatphobic made us uncomfortable
  • Villain is a victim –> problematic
  • Ending frustrating, confession of love did not work out 😦
  • Killing the gays terrible
  • “I hate bad endings”
  • Ending too fast, pacing off, resolve way too quickly
  • We would’ve liked to know more after the ending, what happened to the place?
  • “It wasn’t scary enough”, beginning too slow, more scary stuff please
  • Conflict with the ghost did not feel resolved, classic ghost story move but we do not like it
  • Bleakness of the ending both fitting and frustrating
  • “Not 100% my jam”
  • Jack annoying protagonist
  • Jack the only really developed character –> part of the problem why we did not like most of the other characters –> narrative situation explains that sorta

Rating:

  • 4/5 knives, “I felt entertained, I felt scared, I was rooting for the love story, I would pick up another book by the author”
  • 4/5 “did a good job, I enjoyed it, it is not really my genre”, gave back the audiobook because it does not work a second time
  • 3/5 cute doggos, “I enjoyed the book for the atmosphere and for the setting, I felt like I was in that place”
  • 2.75/5 “really out of my comfort zone”, “I still enjoyed it, took me a while to get into”, “too slow in the beginning”
  • 8/10 as a ghost story, 6/10 overall: “good ghost story, just okay for me”
  • 3.5/5 “not my genre”, “worked”, “picked up in the end”
  • 4/5 husky dogs, “really like ghost stories, this one did a good job at creeping me out”, being stuck somewhere alone reminded the person of lockdown fears, “very enjoyable read”
  • 4/5 “creeped me out reading late at night”

Other books we talked about:

  • If you enjoyed “Dark Matter”, you will enjoy “Thin Air” (expedition into the Himalaya) + “Wakenhyrst” (doom!)
  • “Wheel of Time” finished (14 books): 5/5 stars, makes the entire series worth reading
  • “The Sound at the End” by Kirsty Logan: queer Arctic horror, full audiobook ensemble, wonderful
  • Polk’s sequel to “Witchmark”, queer, very enjoyable, “Midnight Bargain” by the same author, love interest reminding of “The Watchmaker of Filigree Street” by Pulley
  • “The Shining” by Stephen King: psychological horror, “really worked for me, really creeped me out”
  • “The Dragon Republic” by RF Kuang, second book in the Poppy Wars Series; “amazing series”, realistic take on warfare and strategy; historical dimension interesting, grim-dark
  • Ted Chiang short story collection “Exhalation”: philosophy, Philip K Dick, non-paranoid version of PKD, great short stories, “really relaxing collection”
  • “The once and future witches”: “really love the concept”, bit like “Midnight Bargain”, witchcraft is illegal, political dimension used well, queer 🙂
  • Kowal “Calculating Stars” #2: scifi in 50s, “I like my scifi realistic”, very enjoyable, sexism bit hard to stomach, smart
  • “Mountains of Madness” recommendable especially after “Dark Matter” –> expeditions gone wrong
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