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Threshold

( 15 )

Overview

Chance Matthews is drawn into a battle between angels and monsters because of something in her possession-a fossil of a creature that couldn't possibly have ever existed. But it did. And still does.

Winner of the 2002 International Horror Guild Award for Best Novel.

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Overview

Chance Matthews is drawn into a battle between angels and monsters because of something in her possession-a fossil of a creature that couldn't possibly have ever existed. But it did. And still does.

Winner of the 2002 International Horror Guild Award for Best Novel.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Silk (2001), Kiernan's first novel, established her as a leading exponent of the generation-X horror story. This ambitious sophomore effort is a bold step backward: a distinctively modern tale that invokes cosmic terrors redolent of past masters H.P. Lovecraft and Algernon Blackwood. Set in present-day Birmingham, Ala., the novel centers on Chance Matthews, a promising young paleontologist left bereft by the recent deaths of friends and family. Chance and ex-boyfriend Deke Silvey, a loser with latent psychic powers, wallow in self-destructive angst until they're sought out by Dancy Flammarion, a strange teenage girl who claims to be pursued by monsters. Details of Dancy's wild story inexplicably jibe with an anomaly Chance finds in the fossil record, and a pattern gradually emerges that points to an inconceivably ancient entity surviving from Earth's prehistory that is consciously shaping their lives and miseries to suit its inscrutable purposes. Kiernan rises to the challenge of evoking incomprehensible horrors by skillfully deploying symbols that suggest much more than they show. Her oblique and dreamy prose style slows the narrative to a torpid crawl in spots, but ultimately contributes to the thick atmosphere of dread that supports the novel's weird events and sustains its mood of inarticulable terror. A finale that veers unexpectedly from a seemingly inevitable display of supernatural fireworks to a subtly disarming denouement only underscores the intelligence behind this carefully crafted tale of awe-inspired nightmare. (Nov. 6) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
Chance Matthews, a graduate student in paleontology, needs time to heal. Her grandfather has died, broken by his wife's suicide. Her friend, Elise, also has died mysteriously. Her alcoholic boyfriend, Deke, has defected to the arms of weird Gothic Sadie. Chance herself is often in an alcoholic haze, trying to forget the awful something that she, Deke, and Elise found in the old waterworks tunnel. Needing only respite from her nightmares, Chance instead receives a visitor, a strange albino waif named Dancy, who knows secret things about Chance and demands her help. Dancy claims an angel has charged her to find and destroy monsters. Chance is a scientist. She denies the existence of Dancy's angels and monsters, but she still finds a fossil of a creature that could not have existed. Suddenly, Chance, Deke, and Sadie also are part of Dancy's horrifying quest. Kiernan's second horror novel starts slowly but builds in page-turning intensity. Seemingly unrelated plot elements mesh with lovely and scientific precision as the author transports the reader to an astonishing conclusion. Her monsters are the stuff of innumerable nightmares—claws click across the floor, shadows flicker just outside the range of vision, and something oozing and terrible lurks in the closet, yearning for souls. Kiernan's style is lyrical and initially seems a trifle precious but ultimately proves right for the Gothic, literary tone of this novel. Horror fans that stick with this tale will be rewarded, but libraries should take note of one caveat—language and sexuality place it firmly for older teens. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined asgrades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2001, Roc, 259p, Hansen
KLIATT
Gothic SF is becoming a mainstay genre, and Kiernan explores its properties in this geology-based thriller about young adult edgy urbanites. Chance, the main character, seems doomed to be surrounded by death. Her parents were killed in a car wreck; her grandfather had a heart attack soon after her grandmother hanged herself; and now her friend/rival Elise dies in an ominous tunnel. What she doesn't need is a homeless teenager who sees horrific monsters. In the midst of this confusion, Chance has been studying fossil trilobites, an interest inherited from her grandmother. When Dancy refers to a scientific name for them, Chance is caught off-guard. Dancy points to a forgotten chest, which contains the grandmother's last experimental data. Chance takes the chest to the lab, where it is tampered with. At that point, Chance just wants to escape all the horror and pain. Dropping out of school, she tries to hide, but the monsters of her past—and Darcy's—are set on destroying them and the evidence. Is there time to solve the horrible mystery before it conquers them all? While this story builds on suspense, the writing is murkier than need be, and the characters almost approach incredibility. But the tone is true to the genre. The trilobite image doesn't work completely, but the general intermingling of the plot twists does make for an arresting read after a while. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, Penguin Putnam, Roc, 260p. glossary., Farmer
Library Journal
Still trying to come to grips with the recent deaths of her grandparents and her best friend, paleontologist Chance Matthews encounters Dancy Flammarion, an albino girl who claims to see monsters. As Chance questions the mysteries of her tragic past, she begins to believe Dancy's outlandish stories and realizes that she must face a monster that is all too real and too deadly to defeat alone. The author of Silk creates an eerie and moving tale of ancient terror and modern-day angst that should appeal to mature young adults and adult fans of horror. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451461247
  • Publisher: Roc
  • Publication date: 1/2/2007
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 972,390
  • Product dimensions: 4.35 (w) x 6.77 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Caitlin R. Kiernan is the author of nine novels, including Silk, Threshold, Low Red Moon, Murder of Angels, Daughter of Hounds, and The Red Tree. Her award-winning short fiction has been collected in six volumes, including Tales of Pain and Wonder; To Charles Fort, With Love; Alabaster; and, most recently, A is for Alien. She has also published two volumes of erotica, Frog Toes and Tentacles and Tales from the Woeful Platypus. Trained as a vertebrate paleontologist, she currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

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(5)

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(2)

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2008

    I'm done...finally.

    I love to read and read often. It pains to to think how long it took me to finish this. After too many months of trudging through this book in the hopes that maybe the next chapter would get better, I'm done. I¿m absolutely disappointed with this book and thankful I borrowed it from a friend. Paying the list price would have been better spent on the razors I¿d rather slit my wrists with. The characters were uninteresting. I never once felt attached to any of the characters. I didn¿t care what happened to them. The pace was slow. The book didn't pick up and get moving until the last 30 pages and at that point I was still asking myself, 'Hmm, do I still really want to finish this?' Well, I did and now I feel like I¿ve wasted my precious time. This review system allows nothing less than one star. Personally I don¿t think it¿s worth any stars but since the one star is pretty much mandatory, I do feel I should applaud Kiernan¿s talent at painting a visual picture of the world within the book. That alone would be worth a single star.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2007

    A reviewer

    This is undoubtedly the strangest book I've ever read. It seems freakishly real at times just because it's hard to distinguish between actual events and the characters' nightmares and hallucinations. It's a very interesting book but a little unsettling, probably because of the aforementioned confusion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2007

    Never Again

    This book was slow moving and had so much to do with the past and nightmares it was hard to keep interested in the book at all. It took a hundred pages for the author to explain what the publishers summerized on the back of the novel (the book is only 307 pages long). A redeming grace was some of her phrasing when describing the scene around the characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted December 17, 2011

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    Posted March 1, 2013

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    Posted January 4, 2010

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    Posted June 20, 2011

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    Posted June 15, 2010

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    Posted September 3, 2010

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    Posted May 20, 2010

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