While browsing Amazon.com a few months ago, I came across the page for SEED by Ania Ahlborn, a self-published novel about the devil’s influence in the life of a father and his daughter. While intrigued, I had a very large “to read” list, so I passed it by, though I did make a mental note that I would have to download it sometime. It was, after all, only 99 cents. A couple of weeks ago I started following Ania Ahlborn on Twitter. She dropped me a line, thanking me for the follow, and sent me a link to her novel SEED. It couldn’t have been more perfectly timed, as my “to read” list had shrunk some. So I downloaded it and started reading.
Immediately, I was drawn in by her descriptions of Louisiana, particularly New Orleans. I may be a bit biased because it’s my favorite city, but her depictions of the streets, food, and surrounding country really took me back. With her words, the author painted a very clear visual of the story’s setting.
The story itself is quite haunting and tragic. Exploring the idea of demonic possession as a family curse, SEED follows Jack, a father whose daughter, Charlotte, starts behaving strangely after a car accident and he thinks it may have to do with his own childhood experiences with the supernatural. As Charlotte’s behavior grows increasingly more threatening and his family falls further apart, Jack returns to his hometown in Georgia to uncover the truth about his past and hopes to find a way to save his family.
SEED is one of those stories that gets under your skin and stays there. It is the age-old tale of the corruption of innocence with its own unique, modern twist. It’s paced well, weaving Jack’s backstory back and forth between the present day story. The characters are believable, and the threat is very menacing. Seeing a child degenerate into a monster is something that is almost too horrible to imagine, but is ripped from today’s headlines (without the whole demonic possession thing).
Ania cites Stephen King, Jack Kilborn, and Blake Crouch as influences, but her voice is clearly her own. Not only a talented writer, she displays a clear understanding of indie publishing and how to stay on top. For most of last month, SEED was on Amazon’s bestselling horror on Kindle list, just behind the new Stephen King novel, which isn’t even horror. That’s impressive in and of itself, and I’m excited to see what she does next.