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The Pandora Room #BookReview

When what appears to be the original Pandora’s Box is discovered in an ancient city, neighboring countries fight for ownership and unleash a terrible plague. 

The Pandora Room is New York Times bestselling author Christopher Golden’s chilling exploration of what happens when the original Pandora’s Box is discovered in an ancient subterranean city, stirring international conflict and exposing the archaeological team to curses, whispers, and the terror of a legendary plague.

In one ancient variation on the myth of Pandora’s Box, there were two jars, one for Pandora and one for her sister, Anesidora. One contained all the blessings of the gods, the other all the world’s curses. Now, in a subterranean city in Northern Iraq, archaeologist Sophie Durand has discovered a secret chamber covered in writing that confirms that version of the tale–a chamber which contains a single jar. “Weird shit” expert Ben Walker joins Sophie’s team just as the mystery deepens and grows ugly. Those who believe the myth want to know which jar has been found in the Pandora Room, the one containing blessings, or the one full of curses. Governments rush to lay claim, but jihadi forces aren’t waiting for the dust to settle. Whatever the jar contains, they want it, no matter who they have to kill…or what will emerge when they open it. For Sophie, Walker, and the others, the Pandora Room may soon become their tomb. 

Book cover for The Pandora Room by Christopher Golden

Title: The Pandora Room | Series: Ben Walker #2 | Author: Christopher Golden | Publisher: St. Martin’s Press | Pub. Date: 23-April-2019 | Pages: 320 | ISBN13: 9781250192103 | Genre: Biological Terror Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review consideration.

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The Pandora Room Review

Christopher Golden caught my attention with Ararat. It was a solid read heavy on the atmosphere and with characters you were drawn to. It is hard to accept Pandora Room as the follow up to that story.  While it raises the stakes with potentially world-ending badness, there is little if anything to make you care about the outcome of any of the characters. So many possibilities were planted with the first Ben Walker book that seeing them pissed away into a pile of mass-market blegh written with all the enthusiasm of a rote-thriller from James Rollins is a huge disappointment.

Pandora Room has the feel of a book written to check a certain amount of boxes. It’s done competently enough, but it has all the magic of a man stuck in a dead-end job who is doing his taxes for the 20th year. 

Ben Walker is a good guy, and I can appreciate the fact that Golden has saddled him with lasting effects from previous encounters. However, in this book he’s another just another hero figure with skills for everything he could possibly need that pop up when he needs it most. Unique and attention-grabbing he is not. He sets the tone for the rest of the book.  The other characters have potential, but there are just too many introduced too fast and the action starts moving a tad too quick to really get to know or care about any of them.  (I did feel for two of them near the end, but not as much as I could have.)

With that being said, the pace is nice and quick, the dialogue doesn’t suck, and there have definitely been worse things published. This is – if not actually the entertaining thriller we were promised – at least palatable.

Overall, The Pandora Room obviously failed to thrill me, but as with any type of book your mileage may vary. I think the majority of my problem with the book is that my expectations were so high after reading Ararat. Taken on its own, it’s probably not as cardboard-tasting.


You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that (after publication) you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inThriller Book Reviews
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