“You’re inviting the devil into that girl….”
– Seed by Ania Ahlborn
Fast forward 20 years – after running away from home at the age of 14, Jack ended up in rural Louisiana. Now married with two daughters and working as a boat repairman – and moonlighting as a guitar player in a rock band – life is good for Jack and his wife Aimee. That is until he realizes that the evil that he thought he escaped in Georgia has somehow found him again…
After the family survives a potentially deadly car accident, Jack’s youngest daughter Charlotte begins acting strangely – and then she thinks she sees something in her bedroom in the middle of the night.
“He had seen that very figure perched at the foot of his bed when he was a kid – black skin, scaly like a lizard’s, small black horns poking out of its head. Its face, so eerily human, but yet so unearthly that it had certainly come from the very pits of hell itself. When it smiled, its crooked mouth curled all the way up to its eyes, displaying a maw full of long, jagged cannibal teeth. And those eyes – they were nothing but vacant hollows. The monster was real.”
As Jack’s life quickly unravels, he begins to understand just how real pure evil is – but bombshell revelations about his own murky childhood turn his life upside down yet again…
I absolutely loved Ahlborn’s evocative writing style, which was supersaturated with dark imagery throughout. Her poetic narrative enriched and deepened every sequence, no matter how mundane. Bedsheets are “pooled upon the floor like discarded snake skin” and moss hangs from trees like “a tangle of witch’s hair.”
Ahlborn’s Seed has been compared to that of Stephen King’s work early on in his career and while I wouldn’t go quite that far, I will say that this was a shockingly dark and sublimely creepy read that I won’t soon forget.
“But Jack knew that there wouldn’t be an ‘other side’… no light at the end of the tunnel.”
Horror has been experiencing a renaissance of sorts of late and Ahlborn’s debut novel will only strengthen that revival. Bravo, Ania Ahlborn. Bravo. Horror's new golden girl.
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
You can follow him on Twitter at @paulgoatallen and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.
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