Book review: Dark Matter by Michelle Paver⁠


London, 1937. Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life, so when he’s offered the chance to join an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway and at last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year.

But the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. Soon Jack will see the last of the sun, the sea will freeze and escape will be impossible.

And Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark…


“The birds have gone. The cliffs are silent. There’s a sense of something waiting.”

Historical horror? Check. Snowy and isolated location? Check. Diary entry format? Check. Malevolent spirit? Check. Emotional story? Check. Quite literally the perfect horror story for me! This book was absolutely terrific and a genuinely scary ghost story that I loved from page one.⁠

Paver has written a similar book to this one called Thin Air, cold snowy horror, ghosts & isolation etc, so I was worried this one would feel too samey for me to really appreciate it, but boy was I wrong! ⁠

This book is set in the arctic of Norway, where at certain points in the year there is never-ending night and the closest people to you are at least 2 days away. It’s the perfect setting for a malevolent ghost story! As soon as we find ourselves stepping onto the bay of Gruhuken, with Jack, Gus and Algie, we know trouble is brewing.⁠

In the first part of the novel, Paver sets up some brilliant foreshadowing for what is to come, and even whilst our characters are in the comfort of company, there is a sense of foreboding building up in the shadows. ⁠

I don’t often find myself spooked by books, but this one genuinely put me on edge, to the point where my heart would beat a little faster when checking the back door was locked at night. Paver does a magnificent job of not overdoing the spooks in this simply to create more “horror”, she makes you wait for it and only gives you small bits at a time. It was perfectly paced to make it as scary as possible.⁠

Behind all the menace and spooks, this one had a really emotional story to it as well. Our main character Jack appears to finally find himself out in the middle of nowhere and it’s a nice journey to follow. There is also the most precious dog bonding moments in this book that made me want to give my pets the biggest cuddles.⁠

In case you hadn’t noticed, I LOVED THIS BOOK! If you’re looking for a classic ghost story that’s sure to scare, I’d definitely give this one a chance!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Book Details:

Pages: 280
Edition Published:
2011, Orion Books Ltd
Genre: Horror, Fiction, Historical Fiction
Goodreads Av. Rating: 3.97

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