I was excited at that prospect of another Christopher Golden offering. The Pandora Room wasn’t what I was expecting, but perhaps not in a bad way. After Ararat, Golden’s previous book, I had high hopes since I so enjoyed that one.
The Pandora Room follows Ben Walker, fresh off of his assignment in Ararat, as he is sent to the Middle East to investigate a dig site. Sophie, who leads a large team of archeologists as the unearth an underground ancient city, finds an old jar in a hidden room. The walls within the room are etched with hieroglyphs, which turn out to be a warning. They have discovered Pandora’s Box, or jar in this case.
The location is problematic as the Turks and a few nefarious groups wish to get their hands on the jar. Ben, Sophie, and a couple of scientists devise a plan to have the jar removed before it can be used as a weapon. Before the United Nations can arrive, a battle ensues. Those below in the ancient city are trapped as the soldiers above try to keep those attacked them from getting at the jar.
Everyone exposed to the jar starts to become ill with plague and starts seeing images of the worst things that humanity has to offer. They turn on each other and friends become foes. Ben and Sophie try to get out alive, but with the jar, that may be impossible.
This foray into the world of Ben Walker left me feeling slightly disappointed. I loved Ararat, but this story felt more like a tale of battling soldiers and not of scientists and archeologists finding Pandora’s jar. I found myself being far less interested in the battle above ground, and wishing the story was just about the small group of people who found the jar. Too many characters in a book that falls short of what it could have been.
Don’t get me wrong, The Pandora Room isn’t terrible by any means. It is a worthy read, just not a great one. Christopher Golden has a lot to offer, and I hope he keeps giving us stories of creepy occurrences of the ancient evils among us.