Book Review; Road Of Bones- Christopher Golden

Page Count 240

Publication date January 2022

Publisher Titan

GoodReads link

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Synopsis

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-Kolyma Highway, otherwise known as the Road of Bones, is a 1200 mile stretch of Siberian road where winter temperatures can drop as low as sixty degrees below zero. Under Stalin, at least eighty Soviet gulags were built along the route to supply the USSR with a readily available workforce, and over time hundreds of thousands of prisoners died in the midst of their labors. Their bodies were buried where they fell, plowed under the permafrost, underneath the road.

Felix Teigland, or “Teig,” is a documentary producer, and when he learns about the Road of Bones, he realizes he’s stumbled upon untapped potential. Accompanied by his camera operator, Teig hires a local Yakut guide to take them to Oymyakon, the coldest settlement on Earth. Teig is fascinated by the culture along the Road of Bones, and encounters strange characters on the way to the Oymyakon, but when the team arrives, they find the village mysteriously abandoned apart from a mysterious 9-year-old girl. Then, chaos ensues.

A malignant, animistic shaman and the forest spirits he commands pursues them as they flee the abandoned town and barrel across miles of deserted permafrost. As the chase continues along this road paved with the suffering of angry ghosts, what form will the echoes of their anguish take? Teig and the others will have to find the answers if they want to survive the Road of Bones.

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Review

As one of the seeming minority that prefers ebooks to physicals, I’d been waiting for what feels like an age for Road Of Bones to come out electronically after seeing many trusted bloggers rave about the book.
I was surprised and delighted to stumble across it on Netgalley, so in mid October when I caved and turned the heating on I decided it was time to get stuck into this wintry horror.

I hadn’t known going in that the ‘Road Of Bones’ actually does exist. The thought of all those miles of permafrost packed atop thousands of long dead bodies is truly horrifying, if ever I believed in the ability to see ghosts this would be the place I’d expect to.

Golden writes the atmosphere brilliantly, the cold between these pages settled into my bones and I couldn’t get warm even under piled of blankets in my own home. Danger approaches from all angles in Road Of Bones, our characters contending with the roads, the cold, the creatures and their own injuries.
The tension is unending from page one with the constant spectre of death dogging every moment

I didnt invest deeply in the characters, but the pacing was fast enough that I was kept engaged by the plot. There were moments I looked fondly upon the friendship between Teig and Prentiss, but ultimately I didn’t care whether they’d survive and both characters were rather repetitive in their thoughts and actions.
Having the rescued child Una be catatonic for a significant part of the story made her difficult to care about too and I’d like to have seen more of her origins.

Uninspired characters aside, the mystery of the missing Akhust community and what dwells in the deep, dark forest made for a gruesome and heart pounding ride that I very much enjoyed.

One minor plot hole- an opportunity to use a phone to call for help was mentioned but never came to fruition despite no circumstances to prevent it. However, I was wrapped deep enough into the story to not realise this until I sit here writing my review.

I was also somewhat put out by the distinct lack of ghosts considering the excellent set up for them but I truly love folk horror so I soon forgave Golden this missed opportunity.

Pick this up for a fast paced survival horror with a twist and be ready to feel that chill seep in.

Features & Functions:

Author: Roxanne Michelle

Dramatic, curly-haired wannabe writer from a nowhere town in Somerset. Stop-starter of all projects great and small. Here to talk books, film, mental health and lifestyle.

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