Review: Seed

Seed by Ania Ahlborn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the story of Jack Winter, who ran away from home when he was a boy to escape a demon he met in a cemetery behind his house. Now that he’s older and has a wife and two daughters, Jack discovers his youngest daughter has been claimed by the same demon he’s been trying to avoid for so long — a demon which may or may not have caused him to do some diabolical deeds when he was a boy.

Seed has a good ending, and it obeys a lot of my own guidelines for horror stories (try to be actually scary, make us care about the characters, limit the involvement of computers and guns and cops, and make your villain as lethal as possible), but the trouble is that the book is mostly stage direction and internal monologues, neither of which proves that interesting (Jack tends to think most about things the narrator chooses not to share with the audience, which is annoying). Also, it’s a little unclear if the demon is inside the daughter or an external presence. (It can be photographed, annnnnd yet it never attacks anyone? Huh? What IS that thing?)

But hey, at least it’s not vampires or werewolves and no one is sparkly shiny! Points for original horror.

I think this would have made a totally badass short story. As a novel, I think it’s stretched way too thin, and there aren’t enough details to keep the prose interesting. There’s also no second act at all, and the story spins its tires forever until the end decides to happen. I like Ahlborn’s sensibilities, but this feels like a warmup to something better.

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