Review of “Seed” by Ania Ahlborn *Spoiler* Warnings

June 10, 2011

Arts & Literature, Reviews


Written by Rebecca Treadway

The beginning of this novel definitely piqued my interest. A family heading home down a dark, Louisiana street – the father, Jack – spotting the luminescent eye shine of  ‘something’ on the road – the car flips over, and by sheer luck or the art of storytelling 😉 they survive.  To further in the creep factor, Jack’s youngest daughter Charlie – whispers she saw “it” too and it walked like them.

Anyone who’s been on a dark road surrounded by nature can relate to that fear.  As the story progressed however, I rapidly grew frustrated with the split narrative. I’m not a stranger to multiple-viewpoint reading.  What distracted me was the viewpoint of one character, for example Jack – would suddenly shift to his wife – once or twice in the same sentence, and almost in all of the chapters.  It began to irritate me to the point I had to stop reading. A three-line sentence break does not a transition to another viewpoint make.  A simple ## or completely new chapter will suffice.  One can remind themselves of this space for scene shift throughout the book I suppose but when you want to get involved in something you tend to gloss over space and find yourself disoriented when the scene shifts without the “idiot symbol” for us to wake up a little and realize it.  However, this also happens on more than one occasion – in the same paragraph or scene itself.

Case in point was the mother-in-law’s thoughts as she loans the family her car, has dialog with her daughter Aimee – then a three line space and a scene shift to Jack. Why I’m reading about the mother-in-law’s viewpoint, I don’t know. She turns out not to play too big a part in the story.

Aside from that, the tale progresses with moments that will please horror fans and scare the weaker of heart. I especially like the table flipping over scene, and the late night episode when the Mother finds her front door open  and realizes something “went out” of the house and sees it on the road- looking at her.

The plot doesn’t stray off its point and the subplot entwines towards the conclusion but midway through the book – the sub-plot of Jack’s flashbacks become a case of too much information.

Some of the minor nuances – such as how his wife failed to find certain evidence of the supernatural sitting in a closet for the duration of their marriage (at least 10 years) – or the somewhat lazy calls to resolve the “problem child” issue through therapy or firm parenting – made the character’s look like fools easy to dispose of – like most horror movies tend to do.

Seed     My suspension of belief fizzled out at the end.  I can believe a demon rampaging for no reason other than mischief and evil and leaving the reader wondering what the whole point was – sometimes there isn’t a point with demons nor in horror.  I did find hard to believe the flimsy search efforts for two missing kids with the woods literally across the street and how seasoned officers nor search dogs failed to find anything – given the blood “dripping from above” onto Jack’s head in a clearing- several hours after a murder by-disembowelment-and-hanging of the small intestines courtesy of a demon-possessed six year old.   I’m not a CSI expert, but I don’t think fresh intestines wouldn’t support the weight of a fresh dead body for long.

So I couldn’t believe that part in an anal, human body stage of decomposition sort of way – and when the father and narrative couldn’t figure out how the body got up there either  – the explanation was glossed over in favor of “a demon did it”.  I was indeed, reminded of Stephen King in that some of his books start off strong with the ending rushed and tacked together providing little satisfaction for the reader.

The narrative ranges from clever to nicely descriptive, so if you can get over the flea-hopping of character’s heads and a somewhat weak ending that may piss off people who prefer “happy endings” (happily I don’t) you will enjoy the book. I would have if not for the above mentioned distractions.

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