Short Take: “Seed,” Ania Ahlborn

Rating: 5 out of 5

Ania Ahlborn’s Seed is an excellent horror novel. Jack gets into a car accident with his wife (Aimee) and daughters (Abby, 10, and Charlie, 6) in the car. Just before he swerved hard and rolled the car, he saw something in the darkness: a pair of very familiar reflective eyes. He thought he had escaped the dark shadow that haunted him, but it’s back–and it has plans for Charlie now, just like it did for Jack when he was younger.

This is a fascinating story of an inherited evil, whether it be mental illness or possession by a dark force. It seems to run in Jack’s family, but he has no idea what it really is. This story is a combination of a possession story and an evil child story, with excellent details and backstory.

I did find it difficult to read Jack and Aimee’s domestic arguments; I just hate reading about relationship problems. Jack’s a musician and Aimee doesn’t exactly appreciate how much of his time he spends doing local gigs. Aimee’s mother isn’t fond of Jack at all, and sees him as a millstone around Aimee’s neck. It’s certainly a believable situation–Aimee loves Jack and sure it was fun marrying a musician, but she’s a little tired of being poor and having her husband be gone on a number of evenings after working a long day. All of the characters have depth and dimension, even when they’re only on stage for a few minutes here and there (like Reagan, Jack’s fellow band member, and Aimee’s mom).

There’s some great tension in here. The beginning isn’t too slow (that can happen in some books that delay the good stuff too long), and by the ending, things have gotten really tight. This is my fourth Ania Ahlborn book, and they’ve all been fabulous!

Content note: animal death, child death

“C for Charlie,” Charlie whispered into Jack’s ear.
C for curse, he thought. C for catastrophe. Calamity. Chaos.

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