Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: Carpathia by Matt Forbeck

Author's Note:  In an attempt to broaden my horizons a bit past the Star Wars Expanded Universe I will be on occasion be reading and reviewing non-Star Wars books on this site.  Many of these books will be provided by the publisher Angry Robot Books in the form of digital ARCs.   This is one such book.  Hopefully these reviews will be helpful in your non-Star Wars reading.  

In the interest of full admissions, I must confess I am hardly the biggest fan of the genre of horror.   In the interest in expanding my typically myopic literary experiences, the first of these books that I will be reading from Angry Robot is Matt Forbeck's new work of historical horror fiction, Carpathia.

Carpathia is a fictionalized account of the the April 14th, 1912 crash of the RMS Titanic into an iceberg and the April 15th sinking of the ship.  Carpathia tells the tale of the cruise liner RMS Carpathia, the vessel, crew and passengers that came to the aid of the survivors of the Titanic disaster.

Thanks to James Cameron's hugely successful feature film Titanic, the story of the sinking of the massive vessel is well known to fans, but thankfully unlike Cameron's story there is most definitely no Leonardo DiCaprio.  In fact this book is just like Titantic and Twilight combined, if both had been cool and not totally lame.

Author Matt Forbeck
Carpathia focuses it's story around a trio of anchor characters, Quin Harker, Abe Holmwood, and Lucy Seward.  Quin is lawyer, Abe is an aristocrat, and  Lucy is a self-described "suffragette."  The relationships between these three characters make period piece accessible to the modern reader.  We may not totally relate to the world in which Quin, Abe and Lucy live in, but we can relate to the characters themselves and Lucy in particular has a very modern feel to her characterization and for those that love a strong heroine, she certainly fits the bill. I think Quin will be relatable to most readers, but Abe is a little harder to relate too, there is a certain laissez-faire attitude present in Abe that I found curious.  I think the reader is to interpret Abe's attitudes in the book to his social status as well as other factors, but I found his characterization just slightly off note.

We follow Quin, Abe and Lucy through an adventure that takes them from the worst night of their life to an even more harrowing voyage.  Along the way we have a very good mix of actual historical characters from the Titanic crash with some new invented characters.  Forbeck does an impressive job weaving these actual historical figures seamlessly into his novel.

Forbeck has a terrific way of taking the modern mythology that has developed around Vampires and taking that myth back to it's roots and then spinning it off in a wonderful new direction.  The balance of gore, suspense, and action is well balances and the carnage doesn't feel over the top in a way that would turn off the more casual horror fan.

This is a book that is simply screaming to be made into a movie, and as much as a enjoyed the book I think it would play even better on the silver screen.  In fact I would go so far to say, that there is no way that this book doesn't become a movie.

Forbeck certainly delivers a well constructed and fun tale that makes me look forward to reading his next novel.

For more information on Angry Robot Books or Matt Forbeck please visit their resepective websites: and

1 comment:

  1. A bit of history and some vampires ... sounds like a book tailor made for me! Thanks for drawing this title to my attention.