Abomination is the first novel I've read in a long time that felt like legitimate horror to me. I've read books with monsters before, and long time readers of my blog know it's something I actively seek out, but of all the novels I've read so far this year, this is the one that had the horror fan in me jumping with joy. It didn't "scare" me, but that in no way hindered my enjoyment of the novel. Gary Whitta's novel is creepy, intense, dramatic, filled with rich characters, and some surprising turns. An absolute must for all horror/fantasy fans. A wild, brutal ride, and one of my top reads for this year.
He is England's greatest knight, the man who saved the life of Alfred the Great and an entire kingdom from a Viking invasion. But when he is called back into service to combat a plague of monstrous beasts known as abominations, he meets a fate worse than death and is condemned to a life of anguish, solitude, and remorse.
She is a fierce young warrior, raised among an elite order of knights. Driven by a dark secret from her past, she defies her controlling father and sets out on a dangerous quest to do what none before her ever have—hunt down and kill an abomination, alone.
When a chance encounter sets these two against one another, an incredible twist of fate will lead them toward a salvation they never thought possible—and prove that the power of love, mercy, and forgiveness can shine a hopeful light even in history’s darkest age.
I should say right off the bat that this isn't a novel for the faint of heart. The descriptions Whitta uses are brutal. Even I cringed at some of the images the story put in my mind. But that right there is the brilliance. I could visualize and sense everything. I felt like I was right there with the characters, experiencing the same astonishing horrors and brutality they were.
The characters are awesome. It's impossible not to love Wulfric, who is the definition of a tragic hero. He's almost too good to be honest, but I adore the guy and loved all the arcs he went through. The second main character, Indra... Talk about a handful. A feisty, strong woman who never needs to be rescued, I thought she was a bit too intense at some points. Though having said that, I loved being witness to her adventures and battles. Both characters were very strong and ideal leads for a horror/fantasy novel.
For me, the highlight was the monsters. Each one was more horrifying than the last and they carried unique weapons or fighting skills. I never knew what to expect from them, and the twist that carried them through the story was really engaging.
I'm itching to give this novel five stars, I really am, but there were a couple things that irked me. First, I found the pacing at the beginning a bit strange. Everything was moving really quickly, and I didn't know why until the end of that part when the twist began.
There were also a couple major events that I predicted early on. The biggest one was pretty obvious, and while it didn't alter my enjoyment of the story in any way, I wasn't exactly stunned when it came to light.
Finally, the villains. The first one was crazy and I wanted to see more of him. The second seemed to come out of nowhere, and until I knew he was the villain, I actually felt sorry for him. He just didn't seem like a good choice for an enemy, and was very anti-climactic.
But as a whole? Abomination rocked my world. Great characters, intense action, terrifying monsters, and incredible suspense. Maybe not recommended for readers who don't like gore, but if you like horror and light fantasy mixed with a little history? This is definitely the book for you.