Seed book cover

Monsters in the Graveyard, Possessed Children, and Haunted Fathers

Author: Ania Ahlborn

Jack Winter has been running for a long time. But the seeds planted in his troubled childhood in that old graveyard are still fertile, still churning beneath the soil to release a kernel of evil.

Jack Winter is married now, not exactly happily. His rock star band dreams, once shared by his wife, are now a source of contention. Why can’t he get a real job? Why can’t they move out of this dump? But Jack’s two little girls are a delight. He loves them intensely, and maybe that’s enough.

But when Charlie, Jack’s six-year-old daughter, starts acting strange, he knows that the past is about to repeat itself, and there is nothing that he can do. The seeds have sprouted.

Ania Ahlborn’s Seed is a short, brutal book. There is no light here, no redemption, and no escape. Starting in the squalidness of a poor, unhappy family, the seeds germinate and grow into something malevolent and brutal. Something too horrifying, and ultimately too dark, to be enjoyable. And honestly, it’s Jack’s fault.

Jack is a character we want to grab and shake from the beginning. He knows what is happening, what will ultimately happen, yet he sits numbly aside. We get a few self-righteous sermons from him about how God doesn’t exist, and so he won’t waste the time or effort on an exorcism, and yet he does nothing else. Perhaps the author’s point is that he secretly sides with the evil or is made incapable by it? It makes no sense that he knows what has taken over his toddler and what she will do next, and yet takes no steps to protect family and friends, to save his innocent daughter.

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

This is where the novel truly loses readers. It’s dark and hopeless, and the main character, Jack, is merely an observer with no fight. Jack’s personal war on God costs him everything because he seeks no solution and gives up before the fight truly starts. He accepts evil, and he surrenders to it. He is, perhaps, more horrible than the demon that haunts his family, and untimely far eviler.

The story, despite having no sympathetic characters, other than the elder daughter, is interesting in a macabre way. It’s sordid and ultimately clever, but not enjoyable.  It’s a gruesome trainwreck, a diseased imagination stuck in a fever dream that destroys families, a darkness that spreads to the readers and clogs our own spirits and souls with so much sadness and hopelessness. When the book finished, I let out a sigh of relief and immediately started on something lighter, something less violent, something that wasn’t almost as evil as the darkness it accurately portrayed. Even as an ardent horror lover, I found Seed too depressing, too dark for enjoyment.

– Frances Carden

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Frances Carden
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