Seed by Ania Ahlborn

Possessed children are creepy. This is an accepted fact throughout literature and film, as evidenced by The Exorcist, The Possession, and a plethora of other books and movies. What adds to the overall appeal of these sorts of stories is that they often claim to be based on fact. I won’t delve into a religious tirade regarding the authenticity of reported cases of demonic possession, but the very notion that these things might actually occur only enhances all tales of possession, even the admittedly fictionalized ones. This is the case with Ania Ahlborn’s novel, Seed, which not only contains a possessed child, but one that seems to have inherited her demons from her dear old dad.

While driving home one night with his family, Jack Winter is startled by a shape on the road, causing him to swerve and roll his car. Although his wife, Aimee, and his two daughters (Abby, 10, and Charlie, 6) are uninjured, Jack is badly shaken. He instantly recognizes the creature as something evil from his childhood – something that he thought he had escaped when he fled his home at the age of fourteen.

As a child, Jack was haunted by a demonic presence that only he could see. This time, however, Charlie can see it, too. She also starts behaving oddly in the weeks following the accident – projectile vomiting, shouting profanities, and killing the family do are amongst her new favorite activities. Jack clearly recognizes what is happening, but he cannot bring himself to tell Aimee the truth about his sorted past. The only way to save his daughter is to confront his own demon (sorry, I had to do it) before it drives Charlotte to commit the unspeakable act in which Jack himself is guilty.

Gothic flair paired with Southern charm make Seed impossible to put down. Ahlborn’s unrelenting pace left me desperate to get through each chapter, and yet thoroughly upset when the book was over and I had to find something else to read. There is nothing I love more than a well-told scary story, and with Seed under her belt, Ahlborn might be ready to give Stephen King a run for his money.

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