there is just something so enervating about writing a review on a book that turned out to be a frustrating waste of time. I should be angry at myself over the loss of hours and dollars but - poor sport that I am - I find myself angry at the book instead.
fabulous premise: the good ship Carpathia rescues passengers from the Titanic; unfortunately there are vampires on board the rescue ship. uh oh!
terrible execution: grindingly dull prose, cringingly bad dialogue, and trite characters including a nonsensically 'perky' heroine & two tedious heroes who form an odious love triangle. zero suspense. a distinct lack of both atmosphere and wit.
sigh. this book sucked the life outta me! I'm going to bed.
So it's April 1912, and here I am aboard R.M.S. Titanic, on her maiden voyage. By heaven, she's a lovely ship! Big, too. But I'm a little worried we're getting rather close to that iceberg. Oh I say, we've struck it! Not to worry, old man, everyone knows this ship is unsinkable. What's that? We're sinking anyway? Dash the luck! Off to the lifeboats then. What do you mean, there's no more room? Blimey. Rest assured I'll write a strongly worded letter to the White Star Line about this! Alas, I suppose there's nothing for it but to dress in my evening best, order a brandy, and prepare to die like a sir. Could be worse, I suppose. At least we aren't being attacked by vampires. What's that? We are being attacked by vampires! Of all the bloody cheek!
You could read Matt Forbeck's Carpathia a lot like this: as an extended sketch rather than a novel. Forbeck is a writer with a background in comics and games, and he writes books with a sensibility straight from the movies, which makes him easy reading for people who don't usually read for entertainment.
Of all horror's subgenres, I must confess I like vampire fiction the least. Writers of vampire fiction, it seems, limit themselves to one of two very basic story ideas: Lawful Good Battles Chaotic Evil, or Bad Romance. The former was the ball that Bram Stoker started rolling all these years ago, while the latter is what's hot for a lot of audiences right now. While I suppose it's good to see writers like Forbeck coming along in the post-Twilight era to save vampire fiction from emo sparkle-boys and reclaim it for the gorehounds among us, the fact remains that I draw a blank when it comes to examples of vampire fiction that offer anything in the way of satisfying, lasting storytelling depth. Vampire fiction has produced a lot of splatterific entertainment, but rarely any real literary achievement.
Well, so what. As long as the arterial spray is flowing freely, screw art, let's dance. Forbeck's lightning-paced novel — an unusual example of alternate-history horror — follows three fictitious survivors of Titanic, Quin Harker, Lucy Seward, and her fiancee Abe Holmwood, as they are snatched from certain death in the icy waters of the north Atlantic and into the safety and warmth of Carpathia, the ship that saved the doomed liner's 710 survivors. Sharp readers will note that those character names are swiped directly from Stoker's Dracula itself, and while that's undeniably on-the-nose to the point of self-parody, Forbeck's contrived explanation for it just makes it all the more hilarious.
Unfortunately for the survivors, Carpathia's own passenger list includes an entire colony of vampires, led by suave Slavic metrosexual Dushko Dragomir. If you ever meet anyone with a name that awesome, and he isn't a vampire, call him a poser, kick him in the junk, and walk off.
Dragomir has convinced his fellow vamps that things are getting a little too hot for them in America, what with all its emerging science and technology and stuff. So in order to survive, they must flee to the old country. But not all of them are eager to go — for one thing, Croatia (Carpathia's original destination before it diverted to rescue survivors) is Dragomir's "old country," not theirs — and in Irish thug Brody Murtagh, Dragomir has a total loose cannon who wants nothing more than to chomp neck, take names, and feed feed feed on this bounty of human blood pulled from the sea. Everything gets titanic when Lucy, Quin and Abe persuade the crew to confront the vamps, and carnage ensues.
Forbeck keeps everything flying along, and the action scenes have energy. But I found myself casting a little side-eye at one plausibility problem after another. How did all of these vampires (said to be "dozens") get aboard Carpathia in the first place? Are we asked to believe that no eyebrows were raised when the cargo manifest required several dozen coffins, each containing a body, to be stored in the aft hold? (There's a reveal later on involving Dragomir's relationship with the Cunard Line, but that only raises more questions.) Wouldn't the stewards have thought it strange to be asked to deliver a coffin to the first-class stateroom of seductive vampiress Elisabetta Ecsed? And here's one horror geeks have been wondering for decades: how is it that when a vampire changes into a bat or cloud of mist, its clothing changes with it?
Lucy is presented as a tough, proto-feminist suffragette, because we can't have women being shrinking violets in modern fiction. But even with all her self-assurance, she still seems a little too rash and fearlessly eager to rush into the dank bowels of the lower decks to fight rampaging vampires, like she's some Edwardian Buffy. Forbeck also establishes vampire fiction's current cliché du jour, the love triangle, between our three human friends, and then does nothing with it you don't predict from the first page.
Carpathia ultimately relies solely on the gimmick of its premise — it's 30 Days of Night starring Jack and Rose! — to do all the story's heavy lifting. But while there's some reasonably good gory action, the final boss battle is anticlimactic, and far too many sloppy storytelling choices send the whole affair to the bottom.
With its hundredth anniversary just last month, Titanic was all over the media, much to my dad’s chagrin. He doesn’t understand why everyone seems so fascinated by Titanic (the ship or the James Cameron movie). I personally don’t care much for the movie, but I can see why the ship has captured so many imaginations. It was a huge testament to human ingenuity—and hubris. Its sinking was a monumental event in the early twentieth century. Not only was the loss of life considerable—and perhaps preventable, had the ship been equipped with enough lifeboats—but the psychological toll for the survivors must have been particularly harrowing.
Of course, no matter how awful the situation, it could always get worse. You could get rescued by a ship unwittingly transporting vampires.
Now, I don’t quite have Titanic fever, and vampires aren’t my favourite beast in the mythological stable. So I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book if it weren’t for my Angry Robot subscription. But I did, and it made for an interesting if unremarkable read. Carpathia has all the makings of a good book, but it’s missing a spark to elevate it above that.
Our protagonists survive the sinking of the Titanic only to discover that the ship that rescued them—the Carpathia—happens to be infested with vampires trying to get back to the Old Country. Some of the vampires see the Titanic disaster as an opportunity for a free meal, but they risk exposure, which the vampire leader does not condone. Soon enough, Quin, Abe, and Lucy find themselves hunting, staking, and battling vampires in a fight for survival just when they thought they were saved.
Matt Forbeck’s vampires are old-school, Stoker-esque creatures of the night. All the classic powers from Dracula: transformation into mist or into a bat, hypnosis, vulnerability to wooden stakes and sunlight and fire, and even sleeping in a coffin filled with dirt from one’s homeland; these are the hallmarks of a vampire in Carpathia. Indeed, the connection to Stoker goes even deeper, as the last names (Harker, Holmwood, and Seward) hint at from the beginning. To be honest, since I haven’t read Dracula, this connection didn’t do a lot for me. However, I appreciate that Forbeck’s vampires don’t sparkle and, you know, are actually kind of like how vampires should be.
Forbeck manages his protagonists’ transformation from sceptics to believers in a very natural way. After witnessing one vampire disposing of a body—at sea, this is as simple as throwing it overboard—Lucy and Quin alert the captain to the presence of a murderer on board. Eventually, they stumble into a cabin that appears to be the scene of some horrific crime. One of the vampires attacks Abe, but thanks to Quin’s quick action, he survives. This leads them to gathering the doctor as an ally, and as the three of them become reconciled to the existence of vampires, they have to decide how to investigate the threat to themselves and to the ship.
Likewise, we get some good characterization from the vampires too. They are unquestionably monstrous, motivated by a bloodlust and inflated by a sense of immortality and power. Yet they are cunning, and their instinct for self-preservation usually wins out over the desire to feed. The lead vampire, Dushko, is a savvy businessman who wants to lead his people back to the relative safety of the Old World. To do this, he knows they need to keep a low profile on board this ship, where the cramped conditions make them vulnerable if discovered (as we eventually see). But Dushko, the old and experienced vampire, is not the only one with opinions about how the vampires should live. Brody Murtagh would rather start a war with the humans and show them their place in the food chain. This point of contention proves dangerous—and fatal—as the book goes on.
Despite this careful cocktail of conflict, however, I had trouble seeing the point of the book for the first half of it. So Quin, Abe, and Lucy survive the sinking of the Titanic, and there are vampires on board the Carpathia. So … what? It took too long for us to go from rescue to the discovery of the vampires, and my interest began to flag. This problem arises again later in the book, after the vampires are no longer a secret and all hell breaks loose. Forbeck’s quite good at the set-up, but once he has set everything in motion, it all seems to move erratically and without any sense of a bigger picture. As much as I enjoyed individual moments in the book, it never really gave me a unified sense of satisfaction.
Also, I hated the love triangle among our three protagonists. I knew from the moment the two men and their woman companion were introduced that this would be a love triangle kind of book. Of course, I don’t object to love triangles per se—when used creatively and appropriately they’re just as interesting as any other trope. But the “I love her but she only has eyes for my best friend, so I will stay strong and silent” trope is just so overdone. To be fair to Forbeck, Quin’s very real brush with death galvanizes him to confess his love to Lucy. But that’s not enough. Combined with the mortal peril Abe suffers during the vampire attack and the eventual resolution of the love triangle, this relationship just felt like too much of a cliché.
Much like my experience with Amortals, I was initially going to give Carpathia two stars. It’s a good book, just not really one that piques my interest. For that reason, I began to reconsider my evaluation and wonder if three stars would be more appropriate. But unlike Amortals, Carpathia doesn’t leave me with any larger thematic concerns. It is a tasty blend of action, horror, and thriller, but beyond the story there isn’t much here. If you’re fascinated by fiction about the sinking of the Titanic or want to read a book with some Stoker-esque vampires, then Carpathia might work well from you. Just don’t expect anything more than what’s exactly on the box.
Enjoyed it until the final confrontation and then the dialogue took all the steam out of the story. Lines like "You leave him alone" when it's a dire and vicious moment were almost laughable. The protagonists seemed to feel no terror when there should have been immense fear and striving for survival. Was entertaining up to that point and then the author seemed to rush to the finale with a lot cliches and predictable endings.
I was really excited to read this based on the summary (vampires and the sinking of the Titanic!), but it wasn't at all like I expected. Though I loved the idea, I wasn't very impressed with the story which started out strong and slowly began losing its steam. There was also something about the dialogue between the characters; I found the conversations very awkward.
Really? Vampires on the Titanic and the Carpathia? Okay, I really thought that, when I read the back cover, this could be interesting horror story - before I knew it was a vampire tale/alternative history. It turned out to be dull and predictable and campy. Fortunately, it was a very fast read.
Plot: When the Titanic sinks and the Carpathia comes to the rescue, neither ship's crew knows it's carrying more than human passengers. Turns out that the head vampire, Drushko, is the secret owner of both shipping lines. He's using the ships to transport his coven of vampires back to the Old Country after nearly being discovered by the human populace of New York. Meanwhile, Abe Holmword, Lucy Seward and Quinn Harker (those last names should ring a bell if you're a classic horror fan), three friends, survive the Titanic sinking only to end up with their lives threatened again on the Carpathia.
The characters are basically 21st century individuals dressed up as those from an earlier time. The language doesn't sound 1912, no one acts like they're from 1912, which is a huge black mark in my book. Worse yet, there's a direct tie to Bram Stoker's "Dracula" with the three main characters. Of course they're the only three people who find the vampires, of course they're the three who fight with them, of course they're the only three to survive. And of course one of them ends up as a vampire. The part about Rostron blowing up the ship to save the world was completely unbelievable too - it seemed tacked on at the last minute.
The whole mess ends up being just a little too much in the 'I saw that coming' department and not enough in the horror/surprise department. This book received a lot of rave reviews. I really can't see why, myself. I've read children's ghost stories that stood my hair on end much more than this did. I'm not saying that Forbeck's a bad writer. I'm saying this is a forgettable piece of fiction. However, if you like fast reading vampire stories and don't care anything about historical realism or real horror, you might like this novel just fine. Anyone who prefers something that shows attention to detail and really scares you, stick with Stoker, Le Fanu and some of the better 20th century vampire tales.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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.
I won a copy of this book in the "Crossing the Streams" contest sponsored by authors like Ari Marmel, Matt Forbeck and about a dozen others.
I really enjoyed reading this work. There were a few typos and one or two sentences which had me scratching my head, but really a fantastic novel.
I won't ruin the book by providing a "spoiler" synopsis, but the back of the book pretty much sums it up. "Lucky" survivors of the Titanic are plucked from the cold waters by another vessel, the Carpathia. By the end of the book, I'm sure most of them would've preferred to go down with the ship. In the spirit of "taking your protagonists from the frying pan into the fire" Forbeck does a fantastic job of creating tension and drama with subtle overtones, rather than ANY bludgeoning "shock-gore" scenes. It's obvious significant research went into this work, and the attention to the little details really pays off.
In addition components such as semantics, syntax, dialogue and other second-person POV imagery was very well done in keeping with the timeline of the setting. In other words, at times, it felt like I was reading a book really written at the turn of the century. Not sure if that was my perception or the author's intent, but very cool.
Best of all were the vampires. I'm sick of reading about sensitive, sparkly happy bloodsuckers and Del Toro's latest trilogy featured a "super-powered" Master vampire. Forbeck's antagonists are an excellent balance of the two; his undead are classic apex predators based on Stoker's Dracula and were strangely refreshing to read about.
I guess the only negative impression I had of the book were several overt nods to Stoker's work. Character names, familiarity with Bram Stoker and other minor "easter eggs" were clever at first but grew thin towards the end of the book. But that is a minor gripe.
If you enjoy fast-paced, conventional horror with a strong dash of historical fiction, you'll dig "Carpathia" for sure.
It took nothing more than the words titanic and vampires to get me interested. An awesome idea am I right? And Matt Forbeck pulled it off for the most part. The first half of the book was phenomenal but it slightly lost steam in the last hundred or pages or so.
Basically its about two men torn between one girl. Both are in love with this girl and when titanic goes down, Quin who has kept his feelings a secret resolves to tell Lucy if he sees her again. Little do they know that on the ship Carpathia there are vampires! the old school kind. They are straight out of Stoker's Dracula. They turn into mist, animals, have a serious allergy to the sun, crucifixes and garlic. I liked this.
The vampires have their own dilemma. The leader of the pack is losing control. They have left the new world because they were beginning to be a bit too careless and as such he wants to keep a low profile on the ship. However, after obstaining for so long, others cannot help but want to feast on the titanic victims.
What ensues is bloodshed, romance and a good old horror tale.
A brilliant idea -- what if the Carpathia, the ship that picked up the Titanic surviors was infested with vampires -- and a lot of fun. We begin almost literally with the Titanic hitting the iceberg, and things only get worse from there. I can only hope that someone somewhere has acquired the film rights.
Shadowhawk reviews Matt Forbeck’s next novel for Angry Robot Books, a part-romance, part-fantasy novel about the Titanic and vampires.
“If you thought that the sinking of the Titanic was the only disaster that night then think again for the truly scary vampires are now back on the scene.” ~ The Founding Fields
People who know me through the Bolthole and elsewhere know that for the last few years my reading has almost exclusively consisted of Black Library fiction. While that may sound fantastic at first, keep in mind that I have been willfully ignorant of an extremely diverse literary world out there for all that time. So with the goal in mind to diversify my reading, I headed off to Angry Robot and picked up Matt Forbeck’s Carpathia as my first read.
Verdict: Matt Forbeck is bloody brilliant.
First off, the novel is obviously a big change from Space Marines and Eldar and Dwarfs and Dark Elves. Second, it is such an easy novel to get into and lose yourself. When I started reading it, I had gone through almost sixty pages before I realised that I had missed my train stop. And then the fact that this is a tale of events starting with the unfortunate sinking of the Titanic (no disparagement meant towards the event itself) and that it features the vampires we grew up reading about is just gold.
The trio of Lucy Seward, Quin Harker and Abe Holmwood are the stars of the story, three friends taking a journey of their lifetime, headed towards promising futures for all of them. There is a love triangle involved of course, for what truly good story about the Titanic would be without one? Matt explores the relationship between the childhood friends very nicely with Quin being the friend who has always loved Lucy while she and Abe are the couple. There are cliches involved of course but what sets apart Matt’s protagonists is that he isn’t afraid to make maximum use of them. They may be cliches yes but they are taken to their full, expectant potential and beyond.
Going back to such a simple world and back in time to such a significant event was in ways quite cathartic for me. It also happens that I read a couple Young Adult level Titanic stories back in seventh grade (least I think they were YA, its honestly been a good 12 years since!) and being reminded of my childhood is always a great plus point for a novel. Invigorating even I would say. I was quite the voracious reader then, even more so than I am now, and those Titanic novels (I regretfully am unable to remember their names) were at the time some of the best prose I had read. The fact that the count is now 3/3 on subject matter is another plus. Maybe I should hunt down those novels huh?
The novel itself has a very good pace and the flow is quite smooth. There is almost no clutter of view points and events and there is no hardship in following the plot either. There was a moment however when I become confused by certain things happening and being mentioned “on screen” but fortunately Matt himself set me right. Turned out I had been reading a little too fast in my excitement and had missed a certain reference earlier on which explained these events.
But back to the Vampires. As someone who has read Bram Stoker’s Dracula previously, Matt’s vampires were quite fun to read and quite scary in some scenes too although with all the tension going in the novel the effect can sometimes be a little diluting. But fear not. Whenever it looks like the scene is about to wind down too early, Matt ratchets up the tension once again. You really have no choice but to keep on reading.
And I am sure people would agree that that’s a good thing right?
You get vampires being staked, being burnt alive, slapped with crucifixes and on and on. In fact, while reading Carpathia I had a rather strong urge to go watch the Underworld and Blade movies. I have so far resisted but as they say in Star Trek: “Resistance is futile”. That’s not to say that any vampire scenes involving violence are “on screen” gory though. That kind of stuff is happily kept mostly “off screen” because otherwise it would just detract from the rest of the novel.
There are a lot of the other things going on than just vampires feeding after all. Our trio of brave heroes are busy surviving the sinking of the Titanic and looking for said vampires while a vampire civil war is brewing quite hotly. And when it all comes along quite explosively towards the end you can’t help but punch the air, grin like an idiot and then get back to reading.
There is a lot of tension, great thrilling action scenes, lots of mystery and deceit and most of all, an incredible variety of characters. Matt definitely makes great use of everyone from the Captains of the two ships, first officers, deckhands, sailors, the vampires themselves, our trio of heroes, and a lot of the passengers as well. One of the ways in which this variety really hits home is how Matt works in the themes of “age versus experience” and, to a degree and in a sort of roundabout way, “book smart versus street smart”. The reality is of course shattered when the protagonists and their allies find out that that Bram Stoker’s fantastical novel was no mere fantasy but could have had a foundation in truth.
Another thing going for both Matt and Carpathia here is that he really uses the wide variety of a vampire’s supernatural powers and drive home the point repeatedly in a fun way without it coming off as overbearing. After all, they have these abilities so why the heck not use them, eh? Classic vampires to the hilt indeed.
All in all, for an absolutely amazing read, I rate Carpathia a solid 9/10 and now that I have been introduced to Matt’s work, I am going to go about delving some more into reading his wider body of work. Incidentally, I found out just the other day that he also has written the Blood Bowl novels for Black Library. Talk about me diversifying!
And yes, I would definitely recommend the novel to everyone, no matter what genre you really prefer. You need to read this novel for the sheer pleasure of it. I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
It’s been called Titanic meets 30 Days of Night. And thats exactly what it is, and was what caught my attention when I read about it on vampires.com. Storytelling mastermind, Matt Forbeck, brings us Carpathia, a story about…as the reviews said…. “What would happen if Bram Stoker threw an Iceberg at James Cameron?” Its a must read for any vampire fan or history buff.
Now, some people might roll their eyes at this book being that, like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, it is another monster mash-up. And last time I heard there were at least 854985093 historical/vampire mash-ups on the shelves right now. But this one is different. It’s original, and well written…it stands out from the crowd. This action packed/adventure/horror/love story is sure not to disappoint!!!
What I really like about this book the most is….its about TRADITIONAL VAMPIRES! There are so many interpretations what with everyone trying to do their own thing with a vampire story these days by making them different (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), and there is the abomination that is Twilight (UGH!!! Hate that book!!!!), that it’s refreshing to see someone take vampirism back to it’s roots. Now….“what do I consider to be a traditional vampire?” you may ask?? Well, let me outline it for you…
“TRADITIONAL VAMPIRES”(or vampires similar to the ones created by Bram Stoker):
1.) Drink human blood 2.) Are immortal/live forever 3.) Possess a pair of fangs (long, sharp canine teeth) 4.) Can only be killed by means of; a.) Wooden stake through the heart b.) Exposure to direct sunlight causing them to burst in to flames and burn to death. c.) Decapitation d.) Fire e.) Silver works too (that’s not just werewolves) f.) I almost forgot garlic 5.) Fear and are hurt by religious items such as crosses, holy water, rosary beeds, etc. 6.) Must sleep in coffins or the native soil of their final resting place during the day. 7.) Heal fast 8.) Hightened senses 9.) Power of shapeshifting a.) bats b.) wolves c.) mist 10.) Cast no reflection in mirrors 11.) Have no souls
The story revolves around three central characters; Abe Holmwood, Lucy Seward, and Quin Harker. Lucy is Abe’s girl, but Quin is in love with her….it’s a love triangle. The three characters are childhood friends traveling to America aboard the Titanic. Not only do all three admit to having read Dracula, but confess that Bram Stoker was a family friend whom they regarded as an uncle.
The Titanic sinks. Abe, Lucy and Quincey survive and are picked up by the Carpathia ….a ship filled with vampires who feed off the victims! Now, not really knowing anything about the Titanic besides seeing James Cameron’s movie about it, I thought the Carpathia was a fictional ship that Matt Forbeck made up, naming it after the Carpathian Mountains, an homage to where Count Dracula lived in Stoker’s book. However, my mom told me that Carpathia was in fact a real ship. And she was right.
Unlike when I read most vampire, stories, this time I actually found myself rooting for the vampires at one point. I wanted more gore, more detail of the vampires’ feast on the passengers. There could have been more. Well, I still gave it five stars regardless
I would definatley recommend this book to anyone who is interested in vampires, the Titanic, or just want a good read. Not only is this the best vampire book I read all year….it’s the best book I’ve read all year!
NOW HURRY UP, HOLLYWOOD, AND MAKE THIS INTO A MOVIE!!!!!!
April 1912. Childhood friends Quincey Harker, Abe Holmwood, and Lucy Seward are leaving England aboard the Titanic and steaming their way to America, where Quincey has accepted a job as a solicitor at a New York law firm and Lucy is attending college in Boston after she and Abe, her suitor, travel the country. But fate, in the form of an iceberg, intervenes and Quincey, Abe, and Lucy find themselves fighting for their lives in the cold North Atlantic. Soon, the passenger ship Carpathia arrives on the scene and the friends find themselves among the 710 survivors. They rest and mourn, and the Carpathia changes course to take the survivors on to New York. But, unknown to the ship's passengers and crew, Carpathia carries a deadly cargo: vampires leaving America intent on hiding in the Old Country, and in the midst of a power struggle as one faction rebels against their leaving America. And before it's over, Quincey, Abe, and Lucy will find themselves in a fight similar to the one their parents fought twenty years ago.
I really liked this book. Classic vampires, the children of the vampire hunters that saved England from Dracula, and the Titanic. For me, the literary equivalent of a Reese's cup. There's also a love triangle between the friends that keeps the reader busy. As much as I enjoyed it, though, there were a couple of annoying issues that missed the editor's desk. The abrupt name change of the Carpathia's doctor is one, while the description of the trio retrieving their crucifixes from their luggage when their luggage is at the bottom of the Atlantic was another. But even with these glitches, I was able to shake it off and enjoy the story. This is by no means the sequel to "Dracula" but it's still a fun read and an interesting addition to the Dracula mythos.
Matt really pulls the reader in from the start, and for me, propelled this book to the top of my reading list just from reading the first few pages. You have a fun lovers' triangle going on between three humans on the Titanic. Quin and Abe are best friends. Abe is engaged to Lucy, but Quin is in love with Lucy. I really like these three, and it was a lot of fun reading their banter and waiting to find out if Quin would tell Lucy about his feelings for her. This may be an alternate history about the Titanic, but as Matt said in my interview, it isn't that different. So, when you find out vampires are aboard the Carpathia, the ship that will rescue the Titanic survivors, high tension ensues.
I really liked the first half of this book. The Titanic sinking along with Matt's added violence was a tremendous reading experience. Unfortunately, for me, the second half didn't interest me as much. It's hard to say why without giving spoilers, but I guess I felt like the payoff came too soon on a few things, and I felt like I knew what was going to happen the rest of the way. To Matt's credit, he proved me wrong on a few of those predictions, and really took the story in a different direction than I thought he would.
Matt is an excellent writer, and I don't mean for a three star review to be seen as a negative. Matt calls this a B Movie Horror type of book, and so it's not meant to be profound or epic in scope. If you are looking for a fun Horror read with interesting and powerful vampires, than I'm sure you'll enjoy this book. I'm looking forward to reading more of Matt's work, especially his first novel, Amortals.
I picked this book up because of the cool concept of vampires out on the ocean during the Titanic disaster. What a strange place for a vampire story, but author Matt Forbeck pulls it off brilliantly. Carpathia reads like a classic and the characters are so likeable that you find yourself rooting for their survival throughout each dangerous chapter.
Author Forbeck writes with a very smooth prose, writing dialogue that feels very much like it must have been in 1912. I felt completely transported back to that time and place. This book was one of the most surprising and satisfying reads of the year. The short chapters kept me racing through the pages, devouring this book in no time at all.
Two problems I had, however, were the descriptions of characters seeing things under the water at night under a moonless sky. The ocean at night, even with a full moon, is like a sea of black ink. There is no visibility whatsoever. Also, an unnamed vampire comes back after clearly dying. This was annoying, because there was no reason given for the reanimation. Even other vampires recognized the initial death as real. It felt like a cheap way to bring back a villain without any explanation.
That aside, this book is a wonderfully fresh addition to a genre that has become stale and repetitive. Forbeck slides in some fun mythology about Bram Stoker, treating him as a semi-expert on the subject of vampires whose writing aides our protagonists along the way. Vampire and horror fans alike interested in an extremely well written book should definitely add Carpathia to their must read list.
This book is very much Titanic meets Dracula. You get to live through the horrors of being on board the Titanic when it sinks. Then once you are rescued you have to live through other horrors that are just as horrific if not worse than the Titanic sinking. You get wrapped up in this story line where the end of each chapter leaves you wondering what is going to happen next. I really like how different chapters are done through different characters perspectives rather than you only seeing everything through one person’s eyes. You get a real in-depth analysis of what the vampires, as well as the humans, are thinking and how they are viewing the situation at hand. Of course, there is a nice little love triangle that was done pretty well considering the book is more about the horror aspect rather than a love story. That said I do believe that they could have played it up a little more towards the end since the love aspect seems to almost get forgotten once everything starts to go down. Every page is worth reading, it captures your attention from the very first couple of pages and as you continue to read it just gets harder and harder for you to put down the book.
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Read
Well, it is horror category book and I did like it. The book is full of actions. As three friends take aboard famous Titanic, they all looking forward to an exciting future new school and job in America. However find themself alongside small group of survivors on board of Carpathian. While horror of the lost people from Titanic is still on their shoulder they just in the beginning of our story. The captain change its course to take saved passenger back to America, but it would not go along with a dangerous cargo of the ship, as old vampires trying to leave America for old country as dispute between fight for power become too much. The trip to America becoming a fight for surviving for three friends and passengers on board. Along the way we find the connection between the vampires on board and three friends as they entangle in love triangle and past of their families. It is excellent writing, scary at times and intense and in the same time easy to read and enjoyable. Thank you for a good reading
The cover caught my eye and after reading the summary----Titanic survivors and vampires?---Pfft, I'm in. The book starts off with the iceberg of course, then following our 3 main characters through their night in the icy Atlantic. Each chapter was pretty short and alternated between our three heroes and the two main vampires. I'm glad Forbeck did it this way, because you get to explore each person/vampire's perspective as events unfold. Thankfully the end was satisfying and the love triangle wasn't overdone. The only thing that threw me off was the style of vampire. I haven't read a fantasy novel with Bram Stoker vampires that can change form (bat, mist). This wasn't a bad thing, it just struck me as odd to read about them turning into bats like an old cartoon. Overall, it was a fun read!
I like historical fiction. I like vampires that don't sparkle and are fierce. This book has all of that in abundance. The story catches you from beginning with interesting characters, in a setting we've all read about or seen in movies and/or television. But it still comes across as fresh and different than vampire stories out there today.
It's a fun vampire killing romp. A worthy tribute to Mr. Stoker's original bloodsucker. I enjoyed this book. If you're looking for a fun, well paced, and exciting book I suggest checking out Carpathia.
A great premise: The Titanic sinks. The Carpathia, steaming to the rescue, is infested with vampires. Adventure ensues. A romantic triangle takes things a little deeper, making it more than your average monster story. Clean prose keeps things moving. A few historical errors that closer research might have caught. A few vocabulary anachronisms that probably most people wouldn't care about. But a quick, enjoyable read all the same.
This is one of the better books I have read in the past few months. I really enjoyed the historical aspects to the story coupled with the new vampire craze. An easy, fun, and fast read that kept me entertained till the end. My only complaint follows that of another reviewer, it ended to soon and without really fulfilling the readers expectations and or questions.
A wonderful What if...? alternate history involving vampires attacking the sinking Titanic. That pretty much sums up all you need to know, other than it is a completely wild, fun and gruesome romp. If you're looking for a light, fun vampire read you're going to love this book. Confidential to the author: please give Lucy her own spin-off!
This is a first class historical horror novel as the Carpathia steams to the rescue of those pitched into the icy waters of the Atlantic. We all know the story of the Titanic. This is what happened to the survivors in the water, and after the lucky ones were rescued and began what they believed would be the journey to safety.
A quick, fun read! Mr. Forbeck has a knack for creating interesting characters, with no extraneous back-story weighing them down (I wanted to see more of Dale). You have everything you need to enjoy the story you are reading, with relevant history popping up when needed. This is especially well done (and amusing) when our heroes reminisce about their childhood and "Uncle Bram's book."
It really is a two star book for the most part, but I think there was just enough readability to bump it up a little. The plot was predictable to the extreme, the characters were inconsistent, and there wasn't all that much plot. Maybe I should have rated it lower, but I had moments I enjoyed and Titanic itself makes me rate against my better judgment.
Titanic sinks, those who survived are rescued by the Carpathia. On board are a group of vampires who are on their way back to Europe. Lucy and her childhood friend, Quinn, discover this only when some of the vampires start to attack the passengers. It was just okay.
What do you get when you mix Titanic with vampires? You get Matt Forbeck's Carpathia. If you love the classic Hammer Horror Films then you should definitely pick up this book. A little silly but very fun indeed.
In the aftermath of the Titanic three survivors are picked up by the Carpathia, unfortunately it's a bit like out of the frying pan and into the fire. Fun read as long as you don't take things to seriously.
An entertaining book, Carpathia reads more like an adventure story with supernatural elements rather than a horror novel. Overall, it was a fun, interesting take on the story of the Titanic and the Carpathia.
If you're a nerd for Titanic history and a fan of books like "Pride & Prejudice & Zombies" (I classify as both), then this is a fun horror read - surface level humor and puns with decent zombie story-twists and sacrifices.