23 January 2009

The Evil Seed (Joanne Harris)

Harris' debut novel has only recently been pulled back from the brink of publishing extinction, no small thanks me thinks to Stephenie Meyer's phenomenal success with her Twilight series and the resulting thirst ('scuse the pun) for any and every vampire book out there. Definitely far more disturbing than Meyer's blood-sucker stories, Harris writes with a lackadaisical style, seemingly unconcerned that she may have to wrap the story up anytime soon. This in no way means the book drags, but the author is clearly in no rush to put the reader (me) out of her creeped-out anxiety. The magical realism Harris displays in books like Chocolat and The Lollipop Shoes doesn't arise; with the supernatural almost snapping out of the book, no subtle weaving of symbolism is really necessary. However, I do feel that Harris has gained a maturity and more distinctive style since The Evil Seed was published, this novel feels like the raw and unpolished sibling of her later works. We are introduced to Alice, who immediately suspects that something is not quite right with her ex-boyfriend's new paramour, Ginny. Drawn into the underworld of Cambridge in the eighties, Alice comes across the diaries of a man who was driven to madness by an evil girl... a girl who bears a remarkable resemblance to Ginny. Seriously, quite chilling, I am in a big loft bedroom and reading this was highly unpleasant, I could see Ginny moving in all the shadows under the eaves.
Rating: 6/10.
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