Sunday, April 19, 2009

Make up your mind, decide to walk with me

I have a love-hate relationship with horror novels. It is mostly hate, as it is a debased genre, but I keep trying. I saw a fair bit of notice about Robert Masello's Blood and Ice, and I somehow got it into my head that it was a bit of supernatural horror along the lines of the Relic, a book mostly and unfortunately known for the bad movie version. That is not the case.

Relic is all about creepy atmospherics, a terrible nasty beasty and then a bit of mystery as well. Blood and Ice has two good spots for atmosphere, 19th century Crimea and modern day Antarctica, but this book is really an adventure story, where the characters face a series of challenges and deal with them down quite nicely. Masello tells the 19th century story and the modern day one in alternation, and while the initial mystery isn't really much of one (if you can't the nature of the problem by page 5, you haven't read many of these books), there are a number of small ones. It also has a bit of romance, where lost love is healed. If it had been tightened up by about 100 pages, it would be just right for the adventure story fan.

Well, I am not an adventure story fan. When I read these sorts of thrillers, I prefer psychological breakdowns, horrific circumstances and environments and muddled endings where the meaning of victory and survival is not clear. So this one wasn't for me. Your mileage may vary.

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