Thanks to Hodder books for gifting me this wonderful copy in exchange for an honest review.
I read the Blurb for this book and it instantly struck me as an intriguing, thrilling read and I couldn’t wait to dive in and let me tell you, it will pull you under, take your breath away and expose you to the deepest depths of the human psyche.
When climber Nick Grevers is brought down from the mountains after a terrible accident he has lost his looks, his hopes and his climbing companion. His account of what happened on the forbidden peak of the Maudit is garbled, almost hallucinogenic. Soon it becomes apparent more than his shattered body has returned: those that treat his disfigured face begin experiencing extraordinary and disturbing psychic events that suggest that Nick has unleashed some ancient and primal menace on his ill-fated expedition.
Nick’s partner Sam Avery has a terrible choice to make. He fell in love with Nick’s youth, vitality and beauty. Now these are gone and all that is left is a haunted mummy-worse, a glimpse beneath the bandages can literally send a person insane.
Sam must decide: either to flee to America, or to take Nick on a journey back to the mountains, the very source of the curse, the little Alpine Village of Grimnetz, its soul-possesed Birds of Death and it legends of human sacrifice and, ultimately, its haunted mountain, the Maudit.
This book has one of the most dramatic, scary openings I have read. It really grabs you by the metaphorical balls and doesn’t let go until the end. Throughout the book, the undertones of something evil lurking in the background really adds to the tension of each scene and makes the reader feel unnerved for a large majority of the book.
During all this tension and eerieness Sam faces his fears. He is also forced to look within himself and consider his own feelings and his heart. He is married to Nick, a guy with a passion for rock climbing, as well as a slight obsession to have the perfect abs, the perfect pecs and the chiseled handsome appearance which Sam first fell for. But then Nick has a horrific accident which leaves his face, his looks ruined, their love is tested, as Sam finds out he has lost much more than just his looks.
This is a very character driven story and the development of Sam and Nick is superbly done. We have Nick, the rock climber who is now facing his own sanity as he experiences many surreal moments which cannot be explained.
Sam’s anguish and emotions are raw and beautifully expressed. He is faced with the hardest decision, whether to stick by the man he has loved for many years and potentially risk his life, or run away from it all and leave Nick to deal with this on his own. As the story progresses we see Sam mature as he is forced to face many challenges that no person should ever have to face. He is a complex, emotional character who you will empathise with many times with. The turmoil he faces would turn the sanest of people mad and the way he approaches life is tantamount to his strength, both body and mind.
The majority of the story is set in the small town of Grimnetz, based just near the valley at the base of the infamous mountain, Maudit. No matter how happy the scene is, the Maudit always looms over the town and valley, creating tension and a sense of danger lurking just around the corner. From the caged birds to the snow covered peaks, the description of the area is sublime and helps you imagine the scene clearly. The contrast of the beautiful views and the underlying darkness makes the area eerie and unsettling. This is a town where you are always on high alert and even the superstitious town inhabitants are highly aware of the rumours and legends which originated from the Maudit, making them even more suspicious of Nick after coming back down.
The writing of this novel is just sublime. The tone is constantly dark, eerie and unsettling and it is perfectly paced, meaning you are continually engaged in each scene.
The description of even the most surreal events was written in such a way that as the reader you couldn’t help but imagine even the most horrific, sinister sights.
The continual presence and darkness of the Maudit overwhelms every chapter and even when it isn’t directly mentioned you can’t help but feel it’s sinister presence in the background.
Overall this was a fantastic read. The underlying tones of something evil combined with the two guys’ relationship dynamics created a fast paced, chilling yet exciting read which had me hooked to the end.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – a brilliant eerie, chilling read which will make you feel unsettled and disturbed and won’t let off until the end.
Echo is out now!!
Much love 💘