Deborah Edwards's Reviews > The Terror

The Terror by Dan Simmons
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's review
Mar 24, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: personal-faves
Read in May, 2009

I was tentative about starting this book, because a "horror" novel based on the true voyage of the Franklin Expedition had the potential to be, if not downright awful, at the very least immensely silly, and at 900 plus pages that would be quite the investment of time for a book that might ultimately disappoint on a grand scale. With that said, I am happy to report that this is one of the best books I have ever read. Granted, it doesn't hurt if you are fascinated with the lore of those explorers who searched for the Northwest Passage (as I am). It also doesn't hurt if you are willing to suspend disbelief the teeniest bit in order to make the leaps of imaginative storytelling our author makes. Nonetheless, this obviously well-researched novel is a fantastic character study that posits the probable outcomes for each man aboard the two vessels (Terror and Erebus) as they became trapped in the ice off of King William Sound and lost forever. Without giving too much away, the book's "monster" adds complexity to a novel that would stand as great fiction even without its appearance, in that it can be viewed quite literally as a monster or in a solely metaphorical way, (much like Danielewski's "House of Leaves") according to each reader. That, and the brilliant storytelling style of the author, help to transcend this book from "horror" novel to unforgettable piece of fiction. When I neared the end of the book, I started to read more slowly, as I knew it would be like saying goodbye to a friend once I reached the end. I will definitely be reading more books by this author in the near future.

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