Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

I got to know about Dark Matter via Twitter, when someone I followed read it and mentioned how haunting they found it. Their tweet was followed by a string of comments from others who all mentioned how it had troubled them for weeks, disrupted their sleep and given them shudders. Naturally I was intrigued, but being a huge wimp, wasn’t sure if I was cut out for it.

I went around in circles about ordering it – wanting to read outside my comfort zone, then talking myself out of it. Why would I want to actively give myself nightmares if it really was as scary as readers were suggesting? Ultimately, curiosity got the better of me, and I ordered it to take away on holiday.

I started reading it on the plane and continued pool side. I did not read it in the dark.

Dark Matter is without doubt, the scariest book I have ever read. Michelle Paver has done a phenomenal job ratcheting up the fear factor in the bleak and brutal arctic setting, where a doomed expedition is haunted by a dark presence.

Jack becomes isolated and paranoid. He starts to hear things and his eyes begin to deceive him – or do they? This book is a brilliant example of unreliable narration. Jack habitually writes events down in his journal, and tries to reason with himself and rationalise the haunting that he is subjected to. He flips between assertive control and backtracking in fear.

The novel builds in suspense and terror until the penultimate last chapters when frenzied chaos ensues, and the dark force tries to get rid of Jack once and for all.

Despite reading only in daylight hours, the shadows in my bedroom took a rather ominous form on the night that I completed this book. This book is well worth the fright.


Something opened the doghouse door.
It can open doors.
It can get in.

Dark Matter, Michelle Paver