Carpathia by Matt Forbeck – Advanced Dual Review [Bane of Kings/djinn24]

Carpathia

Bane of Kings and djinn24 review Carpathia, Matt Forbeck’s third novel for Angry Robot Books, released on February 28th in the US and Canada, and March for the Rest of the World.

Carpathia is fantastic. A page-turner that will keep you hooked right the way through the novel. Not to be missed.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields

“This book has it all, a touch of romance, horror, adventure with a bunch of vampires which equals one kick-ass page turning story. It was like a Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew team up where they have to fight Dracula!” ~djinn24, The Founding Fields

Bane of Kings’ Thoughts on Carpathia: 

I don’t read that much horror, despite the fact that I probably should. I believe the last horror novel that I read was The Concrete Grove by Gary McMahon. So, I was delighted when I found that a copy of Carpathia by Matt Forbeck arrived at my doorstep a couple of days before Christmas. And to be honest, I don’t really know why I put this off that long.

I think we all know about the story of the Titanic, the famous unsinkable ship that hits an iceberg and sinks. Well, Carpathia is about what happens to the survivors of those that hit the iceberg. With Vampires. And, you’ll be pleased to know, that these are how vampires should be portrayed, proper old-school. Not vegetarian sparkly Vampires, but proper, out-after-your-blood vampires that you don’t want to run into on a dark night.  In fact, you probably don’t want to run into Matt Forbeck’s Vampires at all.

Carpathia has been described by Chuck Wending (Double Dead, Blackbirds (April US/Can Release / May UK/RoW Release) as James Cameron’s Titanic crashes full-force into the iceberg that is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And that couldn’t be closer to the truth. It’s also, not only that – but a proper page-turner that you’ll easily be able to read in one sitting. In fact, not only did I read Carpathia in one sitting, I believe it’s the shortest time that I’ve ever read a standard-sized book like this one. It’s just that good. I couldn’t put it down, and I don’t think you will be able to as well.

There are three main characters in this book, Quin Harker, Abe Holmword and Lucy Seward, three survivors of the Titanic. They’re likeable, and well-rounded enough to make you want to route for them in the novel, and they have superb chemistry between each of them. Forbeck also manages to add to the tension by creating a love-triangle between each of them. He also manages to give us enough background on the characters, with a nod to the Dracula novel by Bram Stoker, without slowing down the pace or overloading on the flashbacks.

The pace is fast, and consistent throughout the novel. I kept saying to myself that I’d stop at the end of the chapter, and despite this – I soon found myself reading until the end of the novel.

We also get a glimpse into the viewpoint from the Vampires perspective as twists and turns in this novel keep racking up the tension, and we soon find ourselves wondering if any character will make it out alive, and I even found myself wondering about the fate of the main characters of the novel.

I’ve read Matt Forbeck’s previous novel, Vegas Knights, and I can tell that however much I enjoyed that, the author has improved whilst writing Carpathia, as I now hold this horror novel above Vegas Knights, and I thought that that particular novel was fantastic as well.

Carpathia is a very original novel, and I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it before, so hats off to Matt Forbeck there. The cover-art is also amazing, and it really gets across the historical fiction mood of the novel.

If the horror, adventure, historical fiction and romance parts of the novel didn’t excite you enough, there’s also plenty of humour thrown into Carpathia, and Forbeck pulls this off brilliantly. Not overdoing it, he manages to make Carpathia amusing enough to avoid making the novel come across as too gritty and dark.

If there’s one flaw that I found with Carpathia, it’s the fact that it’s not long enough. Sure, I found it to be one of the quickest books that I’ve ever read, but I would have gladly sacrificed that for more action and more horror aboard the Titanic and the Carpathia, the ship which rescues the survivors from their fate, and adds to the tension by having the element of Vampires infested below Carpathia’s depths.

Bane of Kings’ Verdict: 4/5

More Matt Forbeck: Amortals, Vegas Knights, Carpathia.

djinn24′s thoughts on Carpathia:

A Titanic book?  Oh goodness we know where this is going. Ship hits an iceberg and sinks, boring right? Nope! It starts off interesting enough as a group of friends Quin Harker, Abe Holmword and Lucy Seward, who seem to be involed in some odd love triangle, find themselves on a trip across the Atlantic on the ill-fated ship.  As everyone should know, it hits an iceberg and that part of the story is history, and also where the story truly begins.  They are plucked from the fridgid waters of the Atlantic on the verge of death by the ship Carpathia.  The survivors find themselves saved from freezing to death, only to find themselves in hot water.  The Carpathia it turns out is on a voyage to Europe with a hold full of honest to goodness blood sucking, burning up in the sun, mean as hell vampires who are running from the new world. Now the survivors of the Titanic find themselves in a fight for their lives again as they try to not become lunch for a ship full of pissed off vampires.

When I first started reading this book I honestly could not really get into it, everything just seemed really predictable.  I remember talking to Ploss on a car ride about this.  It was the second day that I was reading the novel and my complaint was everything seemed to be too transparent, not that it was a bad read, the plot flowed along nicely and painted a great picture of who the main characters really are, but it just seemed everything was spelled out.  That the foreshadowing was done too heavily and ruined what was going to happen in the rest of the story.  Oh boy was I proven wrong as everything I thought was going to happen flew right out of the window, as the plot twisted.  Matt’s plot twists where done really well, not leaving the reader frustrated with unneeded stuff happening for the sake of shaking things up. I was really happy as I did manage to get one thing right though, the ship sank!

Matt Forbeck, a veteran of adventure and fantasy, does an outstanding job painting a picture of who the characters are and how they truely feel for each other.  At no time did I feel the plot moved too slow or had any low moments.  Once I hit about 35% into the book I could not put it down and literally read the last 70% in one sitting.  I have to say if anything the book is too short and towards the end seemed a bit rushed to conclude everything.  Just seemed as if there was wasted potential for more action or adventure.  The end really got me as it just seemed to stop in a fashion that screams out sequel, which is something that I would look forward to reading. I do hope that Matt continues with this set of characters on their new adventures.  I really would love to see where the adventures of Quin, Abe, and Lucy would take them and how things turn out.

I highly suggest getting this book for almost anyone who enjoys reading.  You can find the printed copies for pre-order here and you can find the kindle edition for pre-order here.  Matt is currently writing 12 books in 12 months as part of his “12 for 12″ promotion, which is broken up into four trilogies, that is being run through Kickstarter.  you can check up on his current projects by visiting him at www.forbeck.com where he does a great job of keeping his readers up to date on what he is doing with his writing.

djinn24′s verdict: 8.25/10

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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