Review: The Chosen Seed
Sarah Pinborough, I could hug you. Should we run into each other again, just expect a completely gleeful hug from me.
Think back on all of the Horror novels you’ve ever read. The vast majority of them are standalone novels. The vast majority have also likely sucked. Horror has issues–you know it, and I know it. Horror authors tend to get so caught up in “How much blood and guts can I show” or “Satanism is scary” that their books turn into giant clichés. They all fall back on the same, tired tropes of the genre, and they forget that great Horror is really defined by characters and story. I’m convinced this is why most Horror is limited to stand alone novels. Guys like McCammon, Wells, Wilson and Lumley have crafted excellent series because they focus on the right stuff. They are able to carry a focused story over several novels.
In my own long-winded fashion, I guess this is my way of saying that I’ve added Pinborough to my list of “Best Horror Authors”. Her third and final novel in the Dog-Faced Gods Trilogy, THE CHOSEN SEED (Amazon), is an incredible end to an incredible Horror series. I put it right there with my absolute favs. The Repairman Jack series. The Matthew Corbett series. The Harry Keogh novels. Yeah, for me Pinborough’s Cassius Jones trilogy is in the same league.
THE CHOSEN SEED starts with Cass Jones on the run. After the events of THE SHADOW OF THE SOUL (Amazon), Cass now finds himself with hardly a friend in sight, framed for multiple murders, recovering from a gunshot wound, and still looking for the whereabouts of his nephew. Mr. Bright is till around, of course, as is the rest of his shadowy organization. It’s all a very hopeless situation which sets up the book perfectly for the finale.
THE CHOSEN SEED starts out much slower than the prior two novels, and its pacing is much less procedural as well. This novel is less about solving a murder here and there, and more about Cass finding out about himself. Why is Cass special? Why is his nephew, Luke, so important? Who IS Mr. Bright? Every question has an answer, though the answer is rarely filled with pleasant dreams of rainbows and gumdrops. This IS a Sarah Pinborough novel after all.
I have to be VERY careful about what I say in this review because one little stray comment could ruin everything. There is a nice revisit from a past character, and it’s completely awesome to see Mr. Bright not fully in control. Cass is suitably frustrated and beaten down, so his actions are all 100% believable.
Keep in mind that THE CHOSEN SEED will change your entire outlook on the series. I had a pretty good idea where it was going very early on, but once my suspicion was confirmed I had one of those movie montage moments. You know, the one where you see all the prior scenes as all the pieces snap together or become suddenly clear? It was just like that. When you get to the end there will be that moment where you point at the page and think, “Yep, this was probably the idea that spawned this whole series in the author’s mind.” For me it was like I got a brief glimpse at the core of Pinborough’s raw, creative process.
What more can I say? The writing is accessible while not being dumbed-down. Again, the pacing is slower than the prior novels, but it doesn’t hurt the story in the least. The characters are the natural evolution of what they started at in the first book, A MATTER OF BLOOD (EBR Review). When all the answers start coming to light, they are big, epic, and perfectly handled.
I don’t often get that feeling of warm fuzzies when I finish a series. Finales are usually a let-down if the author even gets to the finale in the first place. THE CHOSEN SEED is, in my opinion, a near perfect ending to a near perfect series. I don’t know what more I could even ask for. This is Horror where we see how under-prepared characters deal with an impossibly huge situation. In the end, I was left feeling completely satisfied.
THE CHOSEN SEED, and the whole Dog-Faced Gods Trilogy, is all about characters and story. It doesn’t get any better than that.
You owe it to yourself to read THE CHOSEN SEED, and thus you owe it to yourself to read the entire series. We will be getting this full series in the US starting in 2013, but I really don’t expect you US readers to wait that long. It’s worth the price of importing. For all the lovely UK readers, if you haven’t read these books you may want to go see if you are sick or something. Sarah Pinborough’s The Dog-Faced Gods Trilogy is easily one of the best Horror series out there.
- Recommended Age: 18+
- Language: As in the prior novels, there is a ton
- Violence: Not quite as visibly violent as the prior novels due to Cass not investigating murders
- Sex: Nothing shown, but talked about quite a bit
Quit screwing around and buy this series. All of it. (Though if you want to wait until the official US release I won’t hold it against you…)