The year is 1935 and Stephen, along with his brother, Kits, are part of a five-strong team of mountaineers that plan to tackle one of the world’s most dangerous peaks: Kangchenjunga. Kits quite literally wants to follow in the footsteps of his idols, those that attempted the mountain in 1907, known as the Lyell Expedition. Only two survived, with five men from the expedition dying on the mountain following terrible accidents and brutal weather. Though five died, only four of them were buried. As the plucky 1935 team begin their ascent, Stephen’s excitement ebbs away and is replaced with the haunting feeling that they’re not alone on the mountain.
When I turn back to the crevasse, the figure is gone.
But it was there. I saw it.
And worse than that, it saw me.
I’ve been in somewhat of a reading slump recently, but Thin Air was just what I needed to pull me out of it. The premise is similar to that of Dark Matter, my first Paver ghost story, and so the plot itself did feel somewhat predictable which inevitably dampened the tension slightly, but it was still a fun, quick, and atmospheric read.
Being so similar to Paver’s previous book, I found it difficult not to compare the two when thinking about this review. I much preferred the character of Stephen over Jack, the protagonist in Dark Matter, and I didn’t miss the diary structure from Paver’s arctic adventure either. I also really enjoyed the sibling rivalry between Kits and Stephen, but missed the camaraderie that seemed to permeate Dark Matter, despite the protagonist being completely isolated for much of the novel. One thing I did really enjoy about both books is the notes at the end from Paver, explaining her inspiration behind the story and discussing the research that she did for each book; it’s a really fascinating insight.
I think there could have been a chance that I would have rated Thin Air slightly higher had I not read Dark Matter first, as I think I enjoyed the former more so than the latter but the similarities between the two were too much for it to feel entirely original. Nevertheless, a great and literally chilling read that was perfect for getting me out of a rut.
Rating: 4 / 5 stars