Book Review: Abomination

Abomination

A morbidly refreshing hybrid of historical fantasy and gruesome monster-story horror with touches of Lovecraftian influence, Abomination is the triumphant debut novel by Gary Whitta, who you may know as a former video game journalist, for his involvement with Telltale Games in helping craft the narrative for The Walking Dead series, and as the screenwriter of Hollywood blockbusters like The Book of Eli and After Earth.

Abomination takes place during the Dark Ages of England, in the year 888 AD, a time of fragile peace between the English and a Viking invasion. With war sure to spark back up sooner rather than later, Aethelred, the Archbishop of Canterbury, makes a horrifying discovery from within the arcane texts of a cache of Latin scrolls in the power to transform common creatures, like dogs, pigs, and horses, into nightmarish beasts known as abominations. Reluctantly, King Alfred the Great okays Aethelred’s further experiments to figure out a way to tame and control the abominations, which turn immediately hostile at the moment of transformation, into disposable monsters of war.

Needless to say, things go sideways fast as the archbishop’s experiments cross a line the godly King will not allow, thus sparking Aethelred to use his power to amass his own army of abominations. Sir Wulfric, a Knight of the Realm and the novel’s protagonist, is called upon by his King and dear friend to hunt down this medieval mad scientist and make right his terrible wrong. As the story progresses, Wulfric must deal with an unimaginable curse, the pain of a grisly family tragedy, and what turns out to be the fateful companionship of his eventual co-star, Indra, a young woman driven by a vengeful rage to prove herself as worthy of joining the Order by hunting and killing an abomination all by herself.

Whiita’s narrative pacing and characterization are spot on, the story prodding you to read “just one more page” to find out what happens next with the small cast of deep, engaging characters. Wulfric shines as the tragic hero, a reluctant warrior whose innate skill with a blade and an unwavering sense of loyalty and devotion to his King lead him on a path that costs him everything he holds dear. He is a character that attracts deep sympathy, and you will surely find yourself grasping to any glimmers of hope for his survival and salvation. Indra, an idealist and a capable combatant beyond her years who seems to be in constant struggle to keep her hot temper from getting the best of her, holds her own and then some as a strong female lead. In no way is she treated as a damsel in distress.

The relationship that develops between the two as the tale twists and turns in unexpected ways is the true heart of the story. Abomination may be bleak and gruesome, but its dark tone is counterbalanced by underlying themes of love, compassion, forgiveness, and spirituality. That being said, Whiita’s wicked mind and skillful prose are sure to cause many readers nightmares as the way he describes the abominations and the transformation process that occurs as they morph from docile beings to twisted monstrosities paints a splendidly grotesque mental picture down to the last bone-crunching, flesh-ripping detail.

Suspenseful, frightening, and gripping to the final line, Abomination is a modern masterpiece of fantasy/horror fusion. If you ask me, this book is the strongest showcase of Whitta’s talents as a storyteller than any of his other works. You absolutely need to read it.

Abomination is available now in hardcover, paperback, and ebook formats from Amazon and Inkshares.

Disclosure: A copy of Abomination was provided to VGBlogger.com for review by Inkshares.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!