Friday, March 5, 2010

Book Review - The Terror, by Dan Simmons

Title: The Terror
Author: Dan Simmons
Genre: Historical / Horror
Rating: 4 out of 5 icebergs

As you may have read in my spotlight post, The Terror follows the lives of the officers and crew of the Franklin expedition to force the Northwest Passage in the 1800's. The Terror reads mostly like a historical fiction novel, but Dan Simmons is a master of genre-bending, and he incorporates many elements of horror literature as well.

There are many different methods of storytelling in this novel. Alternating chapters focus on different characters, and can take the form of third person, first person, past tense or present tense. While this can often feel confusing and too complex, I think it really works in The Terror. The myriad of different styles makes the personalities of the characters feel all that more distinct.

There are both fast paced action scenes and slower, deeper character development sections. This is a nice combination, but sometimes it feels as though the two different types of story are too segregated, and they occur in too recognizable pattern (action, story, action, story, action, story).

The Terror is not without its faults. However, I believe that the story is very interesting and ultimately well told. What kind of terror was waiting for the sailors on the ice of the Arctic? You'll have to read the novel to find out; that was one of the most interesting parts of the book.

4 out of 5 icebergs!


  1. I liked The Terror -- read it when it first came out. Have you read Simmons' new one, Black Hills?

  2. Good review - I've had this on my shelf for awhile, and haven't been "brave" enough to take it on yet. Glad you liked it - that gives me hope! ;)

  3. I've been curious about this one. I've only read two of his books - Children of the Night and Drood (LOVED) - and Black Hills is on my wish list (along with Ilium and Song of Kali, thanks to you Greg!). Thanks for the review!