Indie Horror Review: Seed by Ania Ahlborn
I don’t tend to read a great deal of indie horror novels, if I am completely honest. The crappy covers, knocked up in 5 minutes have a tendency to reflect the poor editing, clunky dialogue and iffy story structure within. If I am going to spend four or five hours reading something, I want to be able to do it without my internal editor pointing out every adverb and poorly constructed sentence.
But, a few weeks ago, I came across Seed by Ania Ahlborn. The cover was professionally designed (or at least looked that way) and for $0.99 (or £0.79 for us brits) I thought “what the hell”.
I am glad that I did.
The premise is fairly simple. Jack Winter had a childhood encounter with a demon and has spent his life running from it. Years later, he thinks that he is safe, until a car accident brings the demon back into his life. But this time, it doesn’t want him. It wants his young daughter, Charlie.
We’ve all seen the demonic possession premise plenty of times before. So what makes this story different?
The characterisation, for the most part, is great. I especially loved the way that Charlie is written. She goes from adorable child into terrifying hell spawn, but the shift is gradual and even at her worst, she still retains the essence of the little girl at the start of the book.
Jack, if I am honest, annoys the hell of out me for big sections of the novel, because he knows what is happening, but does nothing to stop it (and in some instances actually acts as an active participant in his daughter’s corruption). The reasons why are explained later on, but it does not stop you from wanting to reach into the book and slap him on occasion. That little grumble aside, the characters seem real, believable and the dialogue
flows very well.
The pacing is absolutely spot on. It starts off slow and builds up gradually, but does not stop. By the last quarter of the book you can see what’s coming, but it does stop you rooting for the family. The last few chapters are a master class in tension and horror. I have read a hell of a lot of pro authors that don’t do endings as good as this.
I read this book in a single evening. Once it got its hooks into me (which happened around chapter 3 or 4) I could not put it down.
Seed is a fantastic debut novel by a new author that I am sure we are going to see much more from in the future. You get a lot of entertainment for very little money here, and my internal editor hardly had a thing to say.
That this story has stayed with me for the three weeks since I read it says a lot.
I may have to give indie horror novels another chance.
You can find the links to buy it on the author’s website.
and you can follow her on twitter @aniaahlborn
What are you waiting for? Go buy!