Seed by Ania Ahlborn

Seed - Ania Ahlborn

Driving home from a family outing, Jack sees glowing eyes in his path. He swerves to avoid whatever it is that might be in the road and flips his car. Everyone is okay; at first . . . Soon after the accident? Well let’s just say things are very far from ok. Jack’s youngest daughter develops a high fever and begins acting very strangely. It’s later revealed that she also “saw the eyes” and things spiral out of control from thereafter.

It turns out Jack has been suppressing memories of those damn soul-sucking eyes since childhood but now they’ve come back to wreak havoc on his lovely little family. As things get increasingly bad for Jack, his wife and their two daughters, his memories start to come back but in a vague way instead of a big revealing flood. This increases the dread and the tension and succeeded in keeping me guessing for a long while.

I thought this story was everything it was set up to be. It was eerie, haunting, chilling, horrific, all of that and it contained above average characterization and great southern atmosphere (I don’t live there but I have visited. Does that count?). Jack and his wife are struggling financially but they love each other and their life. Like any couple they have their issues but they stick it out. They were relatable. When things begin to get devastatingly awful and hopelessness creeps in, all of the cracks in their marriage begin to show. You may not like some of the ugly things that come out of one of their mouths but it always feels real. It’s hard to be nice and stay calm and cool and perfectly loving when crap keeps building and building and then a whole heaping pile of it gets dropped on you. I felt for them, I really did and their portrayal felt honest to me.

I enjoyed the way the story was written with its slowly dished out flashbacks that reveal Jack’s secrets to both him and to the reader. When it was revealed early on that Jack once used a cemetery as his playground I have to admit that it really creeped me out because as a child I also frequented my local cemetery. It was the perfect place to roller skate and scare ourselves silly and, of course, no one bothered me when I went there to read. Now I’m thinking I should’ve picked someplace, anyplace, else to loiter.

In the end I was left with some niggling questions like who was that truck driver, for starters? Things were brought up that weren’t addressed well enough for my nosy self thus I can only give it a four even though it ended quite dreadfully perfect without a prettified ending which I very much appreciated. Anything else would’ve felt like a cheat to me. The world isn’t always a nice place and horror is often a reflection of that awful truth. I love that the author didn’t flinch away from that ugliness. This was a horror novel through and through and I’m looking forward to reading what the author comes up with next.

Narration Notes: Eric G. Dove narrates this work and his voice sounded familiar so I looked him up. He also narrated J. R. Ward's Covet which was a very different sort of book than this one. His voice was so funny in that book and he really brought some of those crazy characters to life. In Seed, Dove does a decent enough job but if someone had asked me (they never ask me!) I would’ve chosen someone with more of a darker tone to his voice for this tale of creeping dread. His voice was just a wee bit too casual and didn’t seem to fit with the tone of the book but he tried and it wasn’t what I’d consider awful by any means. I feel his voice would be better suited to lighter material or perhaps a light-hearted mystery or noir novel. His female child voices just didn’t work for me and there are two of them in this story. Still, if you love audiobooks and a good old-fashioned horror tale don’t let my comments put you off. It’s a good one and well worth a few hours of your time.