The Ice Lands by Steinar Bragi

I received this book from 

A deep and brooding horror thriller     

My rating:  2 out of 5     


Do you love or hate things that go bump in the night?  If its “love” read on, if its “hate” move on.

The Ice Lands4 friends decide to take a trip away together, despite their reservations about whether it is a good idea.  Hrafn, who is a recovering alcoholic, and his girlfriend Vigdis.  Egill, who drinks to excess, and his girlfriend Anna.   They pack up their jeep with supplies and head off into the wilderness of their native Iceland.  They lose their way in the in the foggy Icelandic desert night, and then there is an almighty bang as they drive into something.  A dramatic start to this dark and brooding thriller / horror.

Attempts to get away from the remote area they find themselves are thwarted by poor weather, and various other factors, and the longer they stay at the scene of the crash so things become more and more strange and eerie – including the discovery of some oddly disturbing dead animals.

As the story unfolds so the pasts of the four friends are gradually revealed, and what has shaped them into the troubled people they now are.   The relationships between the friends are explored, and many of their internal struggles seem to be reflected in what is going on around them.

I enjoyed the writing style (translation); I felt it read like a piece of well written literature.  As the setting is in the middle of the Icelandic desert which, I understand from other sources, covers most of the interior of Iceland, there is not much to learn for the armchair traveller – though I had no idea that this vast mass of uninhabitable terrain existed before reading this book.

There are some mild sex scenes, plus some graphic sexual experimentation memories.

I spent most of this book wondering if it was a clever psychological thriller or a horror book (I hadn’t looked at Amazon) and worrying about where the dog had got to.  It certainly kept my attention throughout, however if I hadn’t have been given it to review, I would have given it up fairly early on, as things that go bump in the night (and dogs that go missing in eerie circumstances) do not make for a genre that I enjoy.  Having accepted that this was a horror book I did finish it, but found it sufficiently disturbing to make me wish I hadn’t (hence the 2 rating).

Having read The Ice Lands I will certainly never go on a overnight trip into the Icelandic Highlands.  However for those that enjoy horror books this is probably just the book to read out loud around the camp fire whilst in the middle of nowhere!

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