Ania Ahlborn's Seed

Ania Ahlborn is a very good writer. Seed takes off with a flash and the pace never lets up. Ahlborn draws round characters, which makes the third act all the more crushing when the story runs its course. Aimee and Abigail and Charlie represent a great little family--filled with innocence and hope and a genuine caring for one another that touches the reader.

Then there's Jack Winter. He knows things are wrong, and he knows things are happening, and he does nothing at all to change the course of his family's fate.

I don't get it.

I liked the writing and, in places, the story is quite unsettling. That's about the best compliment I can pay a writer of dark fiction, as it's so rare nowadays to feel uncomfortable while reading.

But I just didn't buy it in the case of Seed. Sure, the plot works for the novel. In that sense, Jack's decision to leave his home at the most inopportune time serves the story.

But it doesn't ring true for what a father would do to protect his family. In this case, I grew frustrated with the novel. I kept wondering why Jack was "trying to buy some more time" before he finally did something to protect his loved ones.

And, to her credit, Ahlborn pulls no punches in the final act. The horrific realization that takes place in those final pages is crushing. Part of what she is doing with this piece is writing about the nature of evil, and how it can corrupt even the most innocent among us (Am I right, chief?). And I'm no puritan--I don't need a happy ending to enjoy a text.

But the manner in which Jack allowed things to happen felt false to me. It just didn't feel like an authentic fatherly reaction.

As I said, Ahlborn is a very good writer, and I'm looking forward to her next work. Seed is well worth horror fans' time.

But it got under my skin at times (probably a sign of a good piece, really) because it didn't feel authentic.


Anonymous said...

Well, I think he just didn't know what to do and he wasn't able to come up with any better idea. Plus, he's not exactly the good guy in the novel. He might have been drawn there by the Devil.

And the book was one of the best horrors I've read. I know it is basically composed of things and scenes horror fans already know but the way it is really unsettling.


Daniel W. Powell said...

Hi Crusia,

Yeah, and I guess that's why I'm conflicted on the book. It's really unsettling, and I liked the story, overall. I just didn't see Jack as anything more than an enabler in his family's demise, and the horror in his daughter's face when she sees what she's done in the final act is what kills me. She shouldn't have been placed in that position. It's a father's job to prevent such things, and Jack was just...letting it happen!

Looking forward to more of Ahlborn's stories, to be sure!

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