Wednesday 9 June 2021

Audiobook Review - Thin Air

This is going to be a bit of a ramble of a write-up so, please bear with me! 

I'm not sure why I decided to audiobook Thin Air by Michelle Paver. I should be finishing one of her other series, but was chatting to Ryan from Empire of Books on Twitter and I mentioned, in passing, that I had a spare Audible credit to use as thinking of closing my Audible subscription for a while and Ryan jumped on it and said "You have to get Thin Air!" and I thought "Why not?"

In 1935, Stephen Pearce joins an mountain climbing expedition with his older brother, Kits. The elite team of five will climb Kangchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain (and one of mountaineering's biggest killers). No one has scaled it before and the expedition is planning to following the footsteps of one of the mountain;'s most famous disasters, the 1907 Lyell Expedition, where five men lost their lives. Lyell survived and become a British hero when his memoir, Bloody But Unbowed was published. 

But before Stephen is ready for the climb, he meets the only other survivor the 1907 expedition, who tries to warn him off. He hints of dark things on the mountain and that Lycell's account isn't as true as it appears as five men died, but other four were laid to rest... 

As the expedition climbs up Kangchenjunga, Stephen is sure he's seeing thing out of the corner of his eye, hearing shouts of "Below!", and he's unsure whether it's the lack of oxygen and the mountain playing tricks, or if something dark and angry is on the mountain, and it's singled Stephen out...

I did like it, but it didn't exactly wow or chilled my blood the way I was expecting/hoping. Thin Air is a slow build of a ghost story and, while, that's ok to slowly, ever so slowly, I know Michelle Paver can write downright creepy and dark stuff as I am (slowly) reading Michelle's CHRONICLES OF THE ANCIENT DARKNESS series over the last few years (next book in the series I should be reading is Oath Breaker), so I was waiting for the creepy to hit the fan and me to go "Oh hell no!". 

Thin Air, in theory, should have worked for me as a ghost story as, it wasn't full of jump-scare moments (something I hate and I can't do with in book, film or any other kinds of media. At times, my overactive imagination clings to those moments and it makes the next few days/nights a tad tricky). Like I said earlier, it's a slow build of creepiness. You know something is going to happen [the clue is in the title - Thin Air: A Ghost Story]. It's going to be on the atmosphere side and the tensions between the characters and the environment. 

And I think this is where I felt a little meh over it. It's a slow build (slow yet insidious) and, in that time, I should have connected the characters. And I did, up to a point. They felt rounded and flawed, but I didn't care for any of them. At one point, very early on, I was waiting for something awful to happen to them all because they all were just being horrid. 

I think the problem I had, barring the lack of connection to the characters, is that the title. Thin Air: a GHOST STORY. I worry that, if "A Ghost Story" wasn't in the title, I would be more open to suggestions and ideas? If, while audiobooking this, I would be thinking "Wait? Is it a ghost? The mountain? Is it the altitude sickness? A trick of the light? Is it sibling rivalry taking a dark turn of events? What is going on?! Why am I scared for these characters?"

The creep aspect of it is slow, subtle, but Oh so insidious. Once the rucksack makes an appears, things go pop a level! I can not remember the last time recently where I read a book and something as simple and ordinary took on the air of something so sinister as that rucksack! It comes into the story quite late, but it's appearance and presence adds an effective air of terror. 

Maybe I should have audiobook this in autumn or winter, when the nights draw in... That's the plan when I FINALLY get round to reading Michelle's two other ghostly tales, Dark Matter and Wakenhyrst (Both physically on my TBR). Till that time, I'm going to try and get my a**e in gear and finish the Wolf Brother series! I'm hoping to get it finished/up to date by the end of the year, so if I haven't started getting a shift on by September, please shout at me!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment