With Halloween right around the corner, I find myself looking for reads that are more grotesque than I normally enjoy. More often than not, I am disappointed by contemporary horror. I am drawn to things that are more realistically scary than the sparkly vampires and werewolves of recent popularity.
Last year, I snagged Seed as an Amazon Daily Deal. Seed is Ania Ahlborn’s debut novel and she is off to a strong start. With a writing style, cast of characters, and a plot reminiscent of Stephen King, Seed did not disappoint.
Jack left his childhood home and never looked back. In doing so, he believes he has left behind a past full of dark deeds and terrible family secrets. Now an adult, he and his wife, Amy, have two daughters, Abby and Charlie. After spending years watching and waiting to see if either of his daughters will show signs of his own damaged traits, Jack falls into a false sense of security with each passing birthday.
Following a freak accident the night of Charlie’s fifth birthday, Jack’s world is once again turned upside down. Charlie becomes a child Jack no longer recognizes, literally. Jack’s wife is terrified of her “new” daughter; what’s more, Abby becomes an unwilling player in Charlie’s game.
Jack must now face his past and find out both who he is now and who he was before. He must face devastating truths about himself and discover long forgotten family secrets. He must confront a demon named Mr. Scratch and make a gut-wrenching decision about his daughter. Jack must make life changing choices to save what he has left and pray it is not too late.
In spite of being a tad on the predictable side, Seed does well as a horror/suspense novel. Ahlborn does a brilliant job blurring the lines between good and evil. Although I could see the ending coming from a mile away, I was still utterly taken aback by the events that got me there. These twisted, nearly improbable actions, the blending of good and bad, and the description of the impish demon Mr. Scratch made it impossible for me not to think back to Pennywise the clown and many other Stephen King creations.
This would be a good book for those who enjoyed Stephen King’s The Green Mile. There is a great deal of theme cross-over between each story and the assumptions about the nature of good and evil feel quite similar. Also, the violence in each novels is on the same level. Seed is an intensely violent novel. It is NOT for the faint of heart. For those who have read many of King’s novels, this won’t be terribly shocking since the intensity of the scenes are fairly equivalent. Nonetheless, there is gore, a lot of gore, but the book would not be the same without the blood and guts. There is also language, violence, abuse, death, and the occult, which many may find offensive.
Seed is one of the better horror novels I have read in a long time. The undecipherable line between good and evil is what makes the tale so terrifying. The characters constantly made me second guess my impressions of them. By the time I got to the end, I had no idea who was good or bad , which was a frightening prospect. Nothing in the world is what it seems and that is exactly what I look for in a good horror novel. In a world of romantic horror stories filled with petty vampires, pretty boy werewolves, and happy endings, Seed is a refreshingly terrifying story of unhappy endings.