This is not actually the 8th book I’ve read this year (I think it was actually the 10th), but I am falling behind on posting, and I really want to post my review of this brand new book, especially since most of my reviews thus far have been of old and older books. I was able to acquire this book for free before it was even published via Amazon Prime, and I feel I owe it to the author to post a review. I was hoping to get this done before the book was published, but I had a hard time finding opportunities to read in between school work (which involved a lot of reading). I don’t normally concern myself with spoiler warnings (since most of my reviews have been of older books, as I said), but this one has only been published for a short while, so here goes:
***This review may contain a few spoilers!!***
There you have it, so don’t read further if you don’t want to be spoiled. Note: I do not do major spoilers (like the ending or the big secret, etc…), only the small stuff that you probably know about before you even pick up the book.
The Bird Eater (2014), by up-and-coming author Ania Ahlborn, is an excellently written horror story about a haunted house and the troubled lives of the people involved with it. Aaron Holbrook, the central figure of the book, returns to the house where his family was killed two decades prior in an attempt to restore not only the house, but his life as well, which is left in shambles after the death of his son. Though he is reunited with friends that thought he had died twenty years earlier, Aaron does not receive the kindest of welcomes back to his childhood hometown. There is one person in particular who incessantly torments him, nudging him further and further onto the brink of sanity. After hearing the ghost stories about the old home, Aaron is left to wonder what is real and what is not, but keeps pushing away those closest to him in fear that he will ruin their lives too, or that they will find out about his.
I really enjoyed how this book opens with two huge conflicts – a haunting and a death – which definitely succeeded in hooking me in. Ahlborn includes a lot of chilling dark imagery throughout that propelled me through the book, and really knows how to pack on the suspense, keeping me on the edge of my seat the entire time. She created characters that I wanted to cheer for as well as yell at, as they make numerous unintelligent decisions, reminiscent of old horror stories. Ahlborn also does a great job showing the scenes – utilizing all the senses to show every unique detail of the house, landscape, and characters. I was able seethe events perfectly while reading , though there was some confusion as she packs in a lot of backstory as well. That confusion is cleared as the story develops, though, as I began to put the pieces together. As the book progressed, and especially as it came to a close, I found myself wishing there had been more sections in the points of view of the supporting characters (Cheri and Eric), just to build their characters a little more. They did have some decent development, but I enjoyed being inside their heads in the brief times it occurred, and wished there had been more of it throughout the book.
Ania Ahlborn creates a unique and intriguing story in The Bird Eater, and I give it 4 out of 5 stars. That last star could only be filled by adding more character development for the supporting characters.