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Friday, 7 October 2016

Thin Air by Michelle Paver [Review]

Written by: Michelle Paver.
Published by: Orion.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 6th October 2016.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "The Himalayas, 1935. Kangchenjunga. Third-highest peak on earth. Greatest killer of them all. Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to conquer the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far - and the mountain is not their only foe. As the wind dies, the dread grows. Mountain sickness. The horrors of extreme altitude. A past that will not stay buried. And sometimes, the truth does not set you free."

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Imagine it. It's a warm day in the middle of May. The sun is shining, the air is alive with the sounds of birds and insects alike. But you're huddled on the sofa, a verified block of ice. Shivering, jumping at the slightest of movements or sounds you aren't expecting, and have been transported to the snowy landscapes of the Himalayas. That, my friends, is what my experience of reading Thin Air was like. 

I've been a long term fan of Michelle's, for over twelve years since Wolf Brother came out and started an obsession with worlds and words that just won't ever leave me (and I hope it doesn't!). I've always been more of a YA reader. Adult fiction doesn't normally do it for me, but I have authors that are auto-buys, or auto-reads, meaning I will get whatever they choose to publish, be it their masterpiece or a shopping list. And Michelle is right at the top of my auto-read list, so I read her first ghost story, Dark Matter, when it came out a few years ago. I had always hoped Michelle would do another ghost story because I think her writing lends to them so well. She just builds suspense so masterfully and has you absolutely rapt. So when I knew Thin Air was on the way I could not of been more excited. On a personal note the book came on a day when I was feeling particularly down, given the horrendous year I've had, and the proof came with a little note from Michelle herself who is a lovely lady and I hope to meet again some day as I have fond memories of meeting her when I was a teenager!

Anyway, back to the book. It's a chilling tale which will take you right to the deadly peaks of Kangchenjunga. Yes I had to google how to pronounce it. And no, I'm not ashamed! Ha!

It's chilling. Thrilling. And downright scary. From the get go I had chills running up and down my body. I had the shakes at one particular point and had to keep looking up to make sure that I was actually on my own. Such is the power of Michelle's story telling that I felt like there was an unwanted entity with me, watching me, plotting to take me down the way the ghost in the story does. When reading it you really feel the sense of isolation the characters are feeling. You can feel it build, and it almost feels like a physical reaction for you as the reader. You start to second guess things, start to try to think of a logical explanation, even when there isn't place for one. By the end of the book I really felt the paranoia set in and it made me wonder what I would be like in that sort of situation. I could hardly read it without losing my cool, I dread to think what I would be like.

It completely transported me away from the darkness of my own life and if even for a brief moment made me forget and drew me in so wholly that I was lost in this wonderful book, and that is something that seems to be very rare these days. 

I cannot recommend this book enough. If you enjoyed Michelle's previous ghost story, Dark Matter, you'll love this one. If you love anything supernatural, a bit scary, ghostly, then you'll enjoy it too. It's a fantastic read thats absorbing and totally paralysing. Beautifully, lyrically written. A five star read if ever there was one!

My thanks to Orion and Michelle for my early copy and postcard! It really meant a lot and came at a time I really needed a bit of cheering up, so thank you!

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