Saturday, June 18, 2016

Book Review: Abomination by Gary Whitta

Abomination by Gary Whitta

Paperback, 352 pages

Published July 2015 by Inkshares

Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Horror (2015)

I was very interested in this book from the first moment I knew it existed. Book of Eli is a favorite of mine, and what I considered to be a underrated classic in one of my favorite genre of story post apocalyptic. That movie was excellently structured and you could just tell it have a great script as it's backbone. I was very excited when I heard he had gotten the gig for writing Rogue One the first stand alone Star Wars film. I know it's a little thing but his involement with a never produced film based on Journey to the West meant a alot to me. Over looked in our culture Journey to the West is one of the most important fantasy novels ever written. (and by the way my dark fantasy novel Hunting the Moon Tribe has many influences and connects to JTTW)

So Whitta had my interest as Book of Eli, and when I read the concept it just several books in my To Be Read pile. Coming off having read the experimental narrative of Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones, and the bloated underedited Fireman by Joe Hill...Abomination was a joy to read. I don't mean this was knock but complement, Abomination has a very simple straight forward no non-sense way of telling it's story. This is great for several reason first of which is it is quick read and despite it's very dark tone could be appealing to YA and adult markets. You can feel Whitta's cinematic language on most pages and it plays very well as movie in the reader's head.

Abomination is a dark fantasy novel that skips a world like middle earth or Narnia for England of the dark ages. It is a really interesting time to set a monster novel. In the wake of the Roman empire europe was a mess and the King of the time Alfred had defended England from probably a dozen norse invasions. What if in a misguided attempt to fight off this relentless attack the king's spiritual leaders accidentally unleash monsters of Lovecraftian unexplainable vile-ness. With elements of high fantasy, historical fiction and straight brutal monster horror Abomination is high concept awesome-fest.

One of the strengths of the book is the two lead characters A young warrior named Indra and a disgraced Knight turned homeless begger named Wulric. These are two great characters, who in a narrative sense work together like peanut butter and Chocolate. Indra is a young fierce warrior, Wulfric is a once heoric figure, now dealing with having lost everything to the monsters he once fought, that now hide inside him.

Sometimes Screenwriters coming to this format over the the telling, not showing because they are not used to having the freedom of prose. Not a problem here. If anything is a weakness some of the back story with the evil bishop character and his magical ability could have used some back story or context. There is a twist towards the end that I don't think will surprise anyone but I also Whitta was right to not hide it.

Whitta published through Inkshares, which is basically a publishing kickstarter. It seems Abomination is Inkshares greatest success. I am glad it worked for him and hope he returns to Inkshares with more novels. Since my main publisher does my horror novels, and was not interested in my Science Fiction I tried Inkshares with crazy Dirty Dozen meets Phil K. Dick novel Goddamn Killing Machines. Despite really pushing to my social media I could not sell the concept of the pre-order to my readers. So it didn't work for me.

That said I love the idea of Inkshares and the fact that it worked enough to get this story infront of my eyes is reason enough to celebrate it. Fans of Dark Fantasy and Lovecraftian beasties should check this out for sure.

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