How High We Go In the Dark

Sequoia Nagamatsu brings our current reality to fiction with his new novel, How High We Go in the Dark. Life on Earth is changed forever after a group of archaeologists in the artic circle re-discover an ancient virus in the mummified remains of a young girl. Nagamatsu’s ensemble of characters find themselves struggling to re-stabilize a crumbing society in the midst of a pandemic of astronomical proportions. Nagamatsu’s work holds a mirror to our current experiences as the characters face no only an deadly virus but global warming, corporate greed, and the degradation of community and interpersonal relationships.

I found How High We Go in the Dark to be almost too close to reality. I don’t typically enjoy novels that parallel this closely with current events, but How High We Go In the Dark is definitely an exception to that rule. Nagamatsu’s reference to crypto currency, global warming, infidelity, addiction , and virtual reality were an interesting addition to his novel. These additions allowed for more tension in the storyline than the virus alone, in addition to making the characters more relatable and multifaceted. These conflicts challenged relationships, pulled characters away from their reality, and allowed for creative and community oriented solutions.

Each chapter in Nagamatsu’s work was from a different character’s perspective. I thought that this was a fantastic choice, but I wish there was a stronger connection between chapters. As a reader I really had to think about how the characters were connected, which took me away from the story. Even so, How High We Go in the Dark, is a fantastic twist on the pandemic novel and is a great read for anyone who is a dystopian fan.

The Road of Bones

Christopher Golden will leave you shivering with fear in his new book Road of Bones. Two reality documentary produces travel to Russian to catch the horrific history of the Kolyma Highway (Road of bones) on film for the word to see for the first time. Starting their journey with a less than friendly working relationship ship, our main character Felix Teigland, his camera man and their guide prepare for a long and frightening journey. It’s not long before they stop in small village and discover an unimaginable mystery and a cationic young girl who has been separated from her family. Quickly they find themselves as prey, running from an almost supernatural pack of wolves whose only desire is to devour the filmmakers alive.

I personally loved the characters that Golden created in this story. Their fears and emotions were almost palpable I progressed through the story and found them to be delightfully morally gray. Golden created a few instances where they either chose to save themselves at the expense of others or death of other characters in the story. Apart from the two original filmmakers, none of the characters had very strong relationships. Their strong willingness to thrown their traveling companions to the wolves made the story like a more unpredictable and exciting.

While the characters were fantastic and the plot like was fear inducing, I wanted a little bite more. For one, I wish that the book was just a little bit longer. By the end of the book, I as the reader had a significant number of questions that were still left unanswered. I don’t want to give too many spoilers away but Golden doesn’t leave you with a clear understanding of who was the monster of the story or what even triggered the horrific tragedy centered in our story. However, even with my complaints about the story, Road of Bones is a spine chilling read that will make your heart skip a beat the next time you look out into the forest at night.

Have you read Golden’s new book? Tell me about it in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you thought about it!