Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: Ararat – Christopher Golden


Ararat – Christopher Golden



When a newly engaged couple climbs Mount Ararat in Turkey, an avalanche forces them to seek shelter inside a massive cave uncovered by the snow fall. The cave is actually an ancient, buried ship that many quickly come to believe is really Noah’s Ark. When a team of scholars, archaeologists, and filmmakers make it inside the ark for the first time, they discover an elaborate coffin in its recesses. The artifact tempts their professional curiosity; so they break it open. Inside, they find an ugly, misshapen cadaver—not the holy man that they expected, a hideous creature with horns. A massive blizzard blows in, trapping them in that cave thousands of meters up the side of a remote mountain . . . but they are not alone.



Review: I had such high expectations for this horror story. It sounds amazing, but when I finished it, I was very underwhelmed. Everything in this novel just seems so . . . average.

The first sentence of the synopsis is a lie. The newly engaged couple isn’t trapped in a cave by an avalanche. The avalanche exposes an ancient ship on the side of Mount Ararat, and the couple race up the mountain to be the first ones to explore it. Inside the ship, they find a cadaver with horns. As an archology team tries to excavate the remote site, the cadaver causes tension between the team members. Is the creature something evil? Does it prove that the world’s religions are real? Soon, the arguments over the creature turn deadly.

My main frustration with this novel is that the characters are archeologists, but they don’t discover anything. What are all these highly-educated people doing for weeks inside this cave? What else is in there besides the corpses? We don’t get any backstory about the ship, or the mummies, or why they’re on a mountain. The characters argue about whether this is Noah’s Ark, but that’s pretty much it. Whenever the author gets close to talking about the mysteries of the boat, he backs off and refocuses on the far-less-interesting personality conflicts between the archeologists. I think the story of the boat would’ve been more compelling than the angry-archeologists-murder-each-other plot.

Speaking of the plot, it’s too predictable for my tastes. I was really hoping this wouldn’t become a demon possession story because that would’ve been obvious. Guess what? It became a demon possession story.

I did like how the demon moves from person to person. The creature has an unusual way of jumping around. Still, I wondered how the demon got into the first person ever. The demon has a specific way of getting inside people, and I don’t understand how it originally found someone that met its standards. Once it’s inside someone, it can use that person to turn other people into its ideal body, but that still doesn’t explain how it got into the first person. I was hoping that question would be answered, but it wasn’t.

I’m not a big fan of the characters or writing, either. The characters are flat, and the writing feels amateurish. By the end of the book, I didn’t care about any of the characters. I just kind of shrugged when they brutally slaughtered each other.

So, I didn’t love this novel. It’s fairly fast-paced, which is good, and the religious mystery is intriguing. It just didn’t live up to my expectations.



TL;DR: Great premise, but it isn’t executed very well.






26 comments:

  1. Ugh, that's a shame - sounds like such an interesting premise! I feel like I've seen this one around before.

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    1. I got curious about it because I’ve seen it around the blogosphere. It just wasn’t my kind of thing.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  2. I liked it, especially the second half when the demon comes out to play! The blurb isn't correct-I noticed that and put it into the ARC review I sent to the publisher who obviously took no notice!

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    1. I’m glad you liked it! I’m probably in the minority of people who didn’t like it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  3. Hi AJ - I came to have a read as Ararat has always fascinated ... but your review is well written - interesting to read it. And then see the last comment .. ah well - cheers Hilary

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    1. I’m fascinated by Mt. Ararat, too. I wish this book had more about the mountain and less squabbling between characters.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  4. Bummer to see this one wasn't so great! I've seen it at a few online stores and have always been curious, but never actually picked it up. Predictability can really ruin a potentially great book. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yeah, I can’t handle predictability in books. It frustrates me.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  5. Eeek! I also really liked the sound of this one. Not cool that it doesn't even follow its own description. :X

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    1. Yeah, that was weird. Whoever wrote the synopsis didn’t read the book.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  6. I appreciate your honest review. I was thinking it sounded interesting.

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  7. Hmmm....at least it was a quick read. Thanks for letting me know of a book NOT to read!

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  8. Sounds like quite an adventure to read this, though a bit disappointing. It's not my genre though, as horror scares me!

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    1. It’s not the creepiest horror book I’ve read, but there is a demon and some murders. :)

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  9. I absolutely hate it when a book fizzles out. You are a champion for finishing it! Hopefully your next book will be better!

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  10. Yikes, the flat characters and the writing would probably have done me in as well. That's a shame too because the synopsis sounded so good. Thanks for your honest opinion.

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    1. Yeah, I’m a writing snob. If it doesn’t live up to my expectations, I get irritated.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  11. These incorrect blurbs situation happens sometimes. Victoria Schwab had to put out a disclaimer when someone accidentally blurbed a duology she recently did as a romance series between the main characters. It was not. Anyway, it's sad when a book falls below expectations. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Top Ten Tuesday

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    1. That’s interesting. I’ve seen incorrect blurbs, but I thought they usually got fixed. The one on this book is still wrong.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  12. the jumping demon does sound interesting! too bad it was so predictable and so many questions were left unanswered!

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  13. Ugh. I'm so sorry you ran into this... It's disappointing when a book from which you expect something is completely different. I hate it when that happens! I find it happens more often than not due to people mistagging books in Goodreads, but this seems like the synopsis was more misleading than anything.

    What made you decide to finish reading this?

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    Replies
    1. I always feel bad for DNFing! This book is a quick read, and I was curious enough about the end to finish it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete

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