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Thursday, June 14, 2012

All the Mountains of Madness, a review by Beren

Title:  At the Mountains of Madness 
Author:  H.P.Lovecraft.
Format: Hardback copy containing many writings of different books, so it is a large volume, but costing the low price of  $12.95.    

A team of scientists goes on an exploration into the antarctic looking for ancient fossils and rock, and after some time a giant mountain range is found, taller than the Himalayas. While drilling for rock they uncover a cave filled with fossils of the ancient past, and after exploring the cave discover several preserved creatures unlike anything ever before seen: gray, tubular, tentacled, vile looking things of anatomy unlike anything seen before. 

Contact is lost with the group exploring this area, and once help from the rest of the expedition arrives, they find the area in shambles from a storm, but more disturbingly several of the creatures are gone, and several are seemingly buried in a grave. Everyone who was at the camp is found mangled and dismembered, and a dog and a human are found to be dissected in the camp. 

The remaining members go on an expedition over the mountains to explore what no one else ever again find, and discover a vast ancient city, seemingly entirely  abandoned, with architecture unlike anything else seen on Earth. They then enter the city, and soon find horrors they will never forget...

William Dyer is a professor of geology at Miskatonic University, and the story is told from his point of view, addressing the reader about what happened on the expedition. His motivation is for finding fossil and rock samples and gathering information, though ultimately it is curiosity. The writing of his is an informative narrative, and it seems the only growth he has had is through his gained knowledge and viewpoint. 

Another major character is Danforth, a graduate student from the university who is also on the expedition. He and Dyer are the only humans to see the city. He is shaken after the story and has never quite recovered from the expedition, feeling paranoid and often breaking down, and having trouble speaking about the events that occurred. There are no other major characters, as it is mostly Dyer documenting what happened and trying to dissuade future explorers. 

The theme seems to be on human curiosity and the unknown, although it is written mostly to present a interesting narrative, and it could be considered horror to an extent as well. 

I enjoyed the book very much, particularly the ending, which I found to be a very good way to wrap up such a story. The writing is very unique, and is very well written; I cannot find any weaknesses to it. I have a collection of works by this author, and will definitely read more stories, I am glad to have learned about this author. 

The cover is interesting, but has nothing to do with this story in particular, as the book contains many of Lovecraft's writings. 

The book is slightly horror, but I would say if you have the reading level to be able to understand the writing you are certainly mature enough to handle it. 

I would say this book is five out of five.

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