Book Review: Thin Air by Michelle Paver

thin-airWhat’s it about?

The Himalayas, 1935.

Kangchenjunga. Third-highest peak on earth. Greatest killer of them all.

Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to conquer the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far – and the mountain is not their only foe.

As the wind dies, the dread grows. Mountain sickness. The horrors of extreme altitude. A past that will not stay buried.

And sometimes, the truth does not set you free.

My thoughts

This was our book club read for December and as we hadn’t read a ghost story I was strangely looking forward to being scared.

mmm well in that sense it was a tadge disappointing as it wasn’t scary at all.  I’d had expectations of it keeping me awake at night or playing on my mind at other times of the day but it’s not that kind of ghost story.  It is however very atmospheric and haunting in a sense that any place that that’s so white, silent, dangerous and desolate would be.

I appreciated the time that must have been spent on the research and the authenticity the book has, the historical aspects of climbing, the pain, the endurance, the equipment they had as this was all really interesting stuff.  Some parts were even a little humourous; there’s a scene where they’re all taking tea at something like 15,000ft which seems somewhat absurd but so very British and of its time.

As I was reading I couldn’t stop picturing the movie Vertical Limit throughout even though that’s set in modern times but it just helped me visualise the difficulties and extremeness of the task they had set themselves.

Overall a good historical novel based on climbing but don’t go into it expecting to not be able to turn out the light at night – you’ll be fine!

As a side note, all the others in the group enjoyed the book also but comments were passed about the cost of the book (which was £10 on Amazon and someone paid £13 in Waterstones at the time of purchase in late November 2016).

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: Purchased
No of pages: 240
Publisher: Orion

Talk of the Town


  1. 6th January 2017 / 10:44 am

    Lindsay, I loved Dark Matter by Michelle Paver and was eager to read Thin Air. I enjoyed the book and, as you say, there was a real feeling that the author had thoroughly done her research. The story is creepy and atmospheric. The big disappointment for me was the similarity to the first book, yes the setting was different but again a small expedition, hampered by the social mores of the day is bedevilled by a ghostly presence. I liked it but felt, honestly, that you shouldn’t take a successful formula, swoosh and repeat!

    • 10th January 2017 / 8:10 pm

      I suppose that formulaic template works for some authors (thinking Agatha Christie & Dan Brown novels here) if done well but if not, well you just end up disappointed and out of pocket!
      Thank you for visiting and leaving your thoughts 🙂

  2. 6th January 2017 / 11:20 am

    I like the sound of this one (not having read Dark Matter) so thanks for the review 🙂

    • 10th January 2017 / 8:06 pm

      I haven’t read Dark Matter either….in all honesty I’m not rushing out too though.

  3. 6th January 2017 / 1:00 pm

    I love atmospheric books, they envelop you so easily! 🙂 I am easily scared so atmospheric does it better than plain scary. Great review.

  4. suzanna
    7th January 2017 / 11:28 am

    Umm, I haven’t read a ghost story for ages but this doesn’t sound like one for me.
    Thanks for reviewing.

    • 10th January 2017 / 8:06 pm

      It’s not really a ghost story to be honest….more of a presence!
      Thank you for you visiting 🙂

  5. 7th January 2017 / 2:34 pm

    Sounds like an intriguing premise.

  6. 8th January 2017 / 12:04 pm

    Sounds a good read Lindsay. Shame though it wasn’t what you were expecting.

    • 10th January 2017 / 8:05 pm

      it is a good read Shaz and at the end of the day it’s not the books fault it wasn’t what I was expecting! 🙂

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