In this sequel to Ararat that draws on the myth of Pandora's Box—or Pandora's "jars"—archaeologist Sophie Durand has discovered a secret chamber in Iraq that holds one of those fabled jars. Governments rush to lay claim, but jihadi forces aren't waiting for the dust to settle, putting Durand and her colleagues at risk.
The Pandora Room is a skillful blending of paranormal horror with a political thriller. Both Ben and Sophie are written as likable characters, determined to carry out their assigned duties while attempting to protect their find as well as their associates. Each team member is carefully characterized and his/her background given in such detail that even the most minor character is well-delineated and made into someone the reader will care about and hope for their survival. The detail in describing both the Greenland terrain as well as the topography of Amadiyah and the underground city is realistic and so graphic one can truly imagine the burning cold of the north as well as the suffocatingly dry heat of the desert. There’s also a weaving of myth versus reality in Greek legend in the interpretation of the inscriptions found in Derveyi that would posit an interesting debate in real life. The same descriptive diligence is given to the escape scenes inside Derveyi ... While no mention is made that this is the first in a new series, The Pandora Room has all the makings of such, and if so, its arrival for the reading public will be well received.
Golden's latest effort, The Pandora Room, is the follow-up to his terrific novel from 2017, Ararat. These books are...pulse-pounding reads ... passages [in The Pandora Room] are highly suspenseful as you literally have no idea what is happening—or if the narrators telling the story are painting a realistic picture or merely describing what their plague-addled minds are showing them. The novel’s conclusion is equally unsettling and most definitely will produce some shudders.
The Pandora Room is a worthy follow-up to Ararat—however, it’s not necessary to read Ararat before The Pandora Room. Christopher Golden does a good job establishing both new interactions and revealing previous relationships. The horrors inflicted on the characters, both supernatural and natural, are visceral and real. When you look up from turning pages, probably sometime late at night, you’ll be happy that you’re safe at home.