M - The long hot spell's Reviews > The Terror

The Terror by Dan Simmons
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it was amazing
bookshelves: horror, audio-books, all-time-faves

The HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were actual ships, and the book is a fictionalised account of an expedition (gone wrong). The story had a lot for me to love - the arctic, ships, strength in the face of dreadful conditions such as lack of food, scurvy (wow), 1800s medicine and (gulp) surgery, and being stuck in the ice for…years. There is a horror element to this story. I like horror so it was welcome, but it wasn’t the most frightening part of the story - the conditions (and what they lead to) and the negative side of humanity were more concerning, more frightening. So if you’re reading it for the pure horror the book is probably not for you.

I listened to the audiobook and Tom Sellwood did a brilliant job of narrating. I was thrilled with the voices he managed - that can be a big problem when it doesn’t work. The Terror is over 700 pages and I liked this book enough that I may still read the book version.

The mid-1800s were harsh times where lashes were given in punishment for various crimes and, though it didn't occur in the book, death was the harshest punishment meted out for homosexuality. I rolled my eyes slightly when one man caught engaging then (view spoiler)- but that was my only (bare) gripe regarding this whole book.

There were many characters who you could get behind including Lady Silence/Silna, Captain Crozier and Doctor Goodsir. Simmons explored several points of view in different chapters, some as ships logs, others as diary entries. There is some backstory given also, leading to a few moments where I thought ‘what? where are we?’ but I worked it out.

In my last novel review (for The Secret History) I said there were too many dream sequences. This time I feel differently. Turns out I was more than okay with the way Simmons wove in some dreams, and some myth, nearing the end of 'The Terror'. It was interesting, made sense, and helped to wrap up the terrific ending of this mega-brilliant-novel. This book isn’t for everyone but some of you are going to love it.
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Quotes M Liked

Dan Simmons
“Francis Crozier believes in nothing. Life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. It has no plan, no point, no hidden mysteries that make up for the oh-so-obvious miseries and banalities. Nothing he has learned in the past six months has persuaded him otherwise.

Has it?”
Dan Simmons, The Terror

Dan Simmons
“All this natural misery,” Dr. Goodsir said suddenly. “Why do you men have to add to it? Why does our species always have to take our full measure of God-given misery and terror and mortality and then make it worse? Can you answer me that, Mr. Hickey?”
Dan Simmons, The Terror

Dan Simmons
“In the last few months, perhaps because he has had no one to speak to -- or at least no interlocutor who can respond with actual out-loud speech -- he has learned how to let different parts of his mind and heart speak within him as if they were different souls with their own arguments.”
Dan Simmons, The Terror

Reading Progress

September 17, 2019 – Shelved
October 2, 2019 – Started Reading
October 2, 2019 –
October 6, 2019 –
October 7, 2019 –
25.0% "I'm listening to this as an audiobook. I generally prefer average length books - this is long - but I'm so glad I made a start on it. The Artctic, ships, horror...it's got tons of stuff I love. :)"
October 9, 2019 –
October 10, 2019 –
39.0% "So many questions. What is Lady Silence up to? Or is she somehow unaware? Fitzpatrick's kinda phasing out now - what else is going to happen because he can't cope and isn't fully present?
Harsh times - lashes were a punishment and though it hasn't occurred in the book, death is a possible (harshest) punishment for homosexuality.
On the positive side - this book is riveting. I wish I had more time to listen."
October 11, 2019 –
October 14, 2019 –
90.0% "This is such an enjoyable read/listen. Beyond the terror itself are the horrors of scurvy, lack of food (and what that leads to), the nastiness of men. But then, the stoic characters like Crozier and the last doctor, Gooodsir - I love it!"
October 17, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Regina (new)

Regina Great review! I haven't read this yet, but this makes me want to.

message 2: by M (new) - rated it 5 stars

M - The long hot spell Thank you, Regina. I bought a print copy so I may even do a re-read next year. 🙂

message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah B I absolutely LOVED reading this years ago!! In fact this is one of the few books where I have stayed up super late into the wee early morning hours reading. I may often stay up to like 12:15 or something...but with this I was up to like 2 or 4 am and I just don't do that.

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