Saturday, October 1, 2016

REVIEW: Ice Rift

Ice Rift
Author: Ben Hammott

**I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for a fair, honest review**

I am completely obsessed with Antarctica. I think it's because it is one of the last wild, unpredictable, un-tameable places left on earth. Due to the temperature, it's dangerous just to be there, so my vivid imagination just revels in the sparkling, beautiful ice, the howling wind and the frozen, icy quiet that can kill your ass in minutes.

What better place to set a horror novel?

The basic concept is not new by any stretch of the imagination. There have been dozens of books and movies about teams of scientists getting their clocks chimed permanently in the deep frozen Antarctic. I had to smile when in one scene members of the team at the research station are watching John Carpenter's movie The Thing -- it's about Antarctic scientists being attacked and killed by alien monsters. Later on, those same researchers watch Alien. Perfect!

I have no problem enjoying another story about the dangers of being an Antarctic scientist when there are aliens around. Hammott doesn't introduce a new, complex plot, but he does masterfully describe every gory detail of what they are up against in vivid cinematic writing. As the story unfolded, my imagination soared. I pictured every scene in my head as I read. I love it when a sci-fi or horror novel lets me sink into the story on that deeper level. It's like reading a book while watching a movie inside my head.

Don't expect a complex plot. The plot is's the details that will grab your attention and pull you into the story. That's the key to great horror -- make readers SEE and FEEL the terror. Hammott delivers. I was truly creeped out and on the edge of my seat. I couldn't stop reading!

The basics: A research team is sent to Antarctica to investigate a large ice rift. NASA has noted an anomaly in its scans of the rift, so the scientific team decides to venture into the chasm. When they discover a crashed spaceship frozen in the ice, the scientists see it as an incredible research opportunity. Little do they know the horrors that await them inside the ship.

This book surprised me. I was expecting a sci-fi action novel when I first started reading  And I got it....with a large serving of very well done monster-alien-gore horror. Most alien horror stories end up cheesy and ridiculous. I can't say this book was cheese-free. A story about alien monsters can't escape a bit of  the ridiculous, but the action was engaging, suspenseful and well, horrific. It takes a lot to give me the willies and this book has some truly spine-tingling suspense, horror and outright gore.

                                                   MONSTERS!!!! AHHHHHH!!!

The more I imagined what it would be like to be a part of the team investigating that ship....the more creeped out I became. At one point while I was reading, the alarm on my phone started beeping and I just about jumped out of my skin. I'm glad I set the alarm though! I was so intent on the story that the muffins in the oven would have been forgotten until they burned!

There were a few places that I felt the book could have used a bit more editing. For example, multiple times the team "failed to notice sets of eyes staring at them" from the ceiling. While it didn't dampen my enjoyment of the story at all, the constant repetition of the same phrase did push my inner editor button, pulling me out of my total immersion in the story for a moment.

All in all, a few rough spots but an enjoyable alien horror fest! Don't read this book at home alone this winter. You will be afraid to walk to the bathroom by yourself! And, always scan the ceiling for yellow, glowing eyes.....

Readers who enjoy sci-fi, horror and just a touch of campiness will love this Antarctic adventure! Monster and alien movie fans will also enjoy this book!

Ben Hammott has written several adventure books including the An Unexpected Adventure series and The Tomb, The Temple and the Treasure series.

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