Monday, November 12, 2018

I Heart Its Premise Big Time. Its Execution? Not So Much.

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Few people are tough enough—physically, mentally, or emotionally—to endure a "winter over" in Antarctica.  Not everyone can handle being cooped up in an isolated compound with the same small group of people for nine months, let alone in extreme weather and almost complete darkness 24/7.  For Cass Jennings, a 30-something mechanical engineer, working at the Shackleton South Pole Research Facility for the austral winter is a way to escape her troubled past and start over.  Her job as a vehicle mechanic/plumber/carpenter may not be glamorous or exciting, but it is essential.  Her tasks keep her mind in the present, not the past, and that's all Cass needs right now.

When the death of a colleague sets a series of mysterious events into motion, however, Cass begins to worry about her future.  The stranger things get at Shackleton, the more she starts to panic.  With little communication from the outside world, it's up to the 44 people at the facility to figure out what's going on.  The tension is already tearing people apart, filling them with a dangerous combination of paranoia, hysteria, and fear.  As rationality disappears around her, Cass fights to stay calm.  It's up to her to find the answers that will save herself and everyone left in the remote facility.  Can she do it in time?  Or will they all fall victim to an enemy even more extreme and deadly than anything Antarctica can throw at them?

I'm a sucker for thrillers set in harsh, secluded environments so when Kay mentioned The Winter Over by Matthew Iden, I knew I had to read it.  The haunting, atmospheric setting gives the novel a deliciously shivery backdrop.  Although Iden goes into a lot of detail about Antarctica, he weaves it into the story in a way that feels natural, not info-dumpy.  I found it all fascinating, much more so than the novel's characters or its disjointed plot.  Because there are so many people in this tale, I had a hard time keeping them straight or caring about any of them (most of them are unlikable anyway).  Add to that a predictable (albeit abrupt) ending and, overall, I just didn't love this one.  I heart its premise big time, but its execution leaves a lot to be desired. 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of My Last Continent by Midge Raymond)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for strong language, violence, and blood/gore

To the FTC, with love:  I bought an e-copy of The Winter Over on Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

6 comments:

  1. Like you, I'm very attracted to books set in Antarctica. Sorry this one didn't work as well for you, but the info about 'wintering' there was great wasn't it? It wouldn't be for me, but I guess some people like it. Ha!

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    1. I just realized I gave the book a B+, not the C+ I meant to give it. Oops. I better change that.

      I did love all the details about Antarctica. It really was all so interesting. I wouldn't last a day down there, though!

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  2. My favorite part of this book was the Antarctic setting.

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    1. My thoughts exactly. The characters weren't great and the plot was compelling enough to keep me reading, but also poor enough to make me wonder why I was still reading. LOL.

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  3. As I read your review, I thought of another book (non-fiction) about a doctor who diagnoses herself with cancer while wintering in Antarctica: Ice Bound. It was interesting

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    1. Ooooh, that sounds interesting! I'll have to look it up.

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