Milo (Bane of Kings)'s Reviews > Carpathia

Carpathia by Matt Forbeck
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's review
Feb 15, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, angry-robot, 2012-releases-read, notable-2012-releases
Read from February 11 to 12, 2012

Original Post:

I don’t read that much horror, despite the fact that I probably should. I believe the last horror novel that I read was The Concrete Grove by Gary McMahon. So, I was delighted when I found that a copy of Carpathia by Matt Forbeck arrived at my doorstep a couple of days before Christmas. And to be honest, I don’t really know why I put this off that long.

I think we all know about the story of the Titanic, the famous unsinkable ship that hits an iceberg and sinks. Well, Carpathia is about what happens to the survivors of those that hit the iceberg. With Vampires. And, you’ll be pleased to know, that these are how vampires should be portrayed, proper old-school. Not vegetarian sparkly Vampires, but proper, out-after-your-blood vampires that you don’t want to run into on a dark night. In fact, you probably don’t want to run into Matt Forbeck’s Vampires at all.

Carpathia has been described by Chuck Wending (Double Dead, Blackbirds (April US/Can Release / May UK/RoW Release) as James Cameron’s Titanic crashes full-force into the iceberg that is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And that couldn’t be closer to the truth. It’s also, not only that – but a proper page-turner that you’ll easily be able to read in one sitting. In fact, not only did I read Carpathia in one sitting, I believe it’s the shortest time that I’ve ever read a standard-sized book like this one. It’s just that good. I couldn’t put it down, and I don’t think you will be able to as well.

There are three main characters in this book, Quin Harker, Abe Holmword and Lucy Seward, three survivors of the Titanic. They’re likeable, and well-rounded enough to make you want to route for them in the novel, and they have superb chemistry between each of them. Forbeck also manages to add to the tension by creating a love-triangle between each of them. He also manages to give us enough background on the characters, with a nod to the Dracula novel by Bram Stoker, without slowing down the pace or overloading on the flashbacks.

The pace is fast, and consistent throughout the novel. I kept saying to myself that I’d stop at the end of the chapter, and despite this – I soon found myself reading until the end of the novel.

We also get a glimpse into the viewpoint from the Vampires perspective as twists and turns in this novel keep racking up the tension, and we soon find ourselves wondering if any character will make it out alive, and I even found myself wondering about the fate of the main characters of the novel.

I’ve read Matt Forbeck’s previous novel, Vegas Knights, and I can tell that however much I enjoyed that, the author has improved whilst writing Carpathia, as I now hold this horror novel above Vegas Knights, and I thought that that particular novel was fantastic as well.

Carpathia is a very original novel, and I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it before, so hats off to Matt Forbeck there. The cover-art is also amazing, and it really gets across the historical fiction mood of the novel.

If the horror, adventure, historical fiction and romance parts of the novel didn’t excite you enough, there’s also plenty of humour thrown into Carpathia, and Forbeck pulls this off brilliantly. Not overdoing it, he manages to make Carpathia amusing enough to avoid making the novel come across as too gritty and dark.

If there’s one flaw that I found with Carpathia, it’s the fact that it’s not long enough. Sure, I found it to be one of the quickest books that I’ve ever read, but I would have gladly sacrificed that for more action and more horror aboard the Titanic and the Carpathia, the ship which rescues the survivors from their fate, and adds to the tension by having the element of Vampires infested below Carpathia’s depths.

Verdict: 4/5
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