I saw Abomination by Gary Whitta get tons of hype from a lot of booktubers. It also got featured in one of the book boxes I was following on Instagram. If I can’t buy the box, I will still watch the unboxing on Youtube or on instagram. I’m weird like that.
Gary Whitta turns from screenwriting to print in his debut historical fantasy meets horror novel, Abomination. You might recognise his name from The Book of Eli.
What is it all about?
Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:
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’ll admit that I was a tiny bit confused in the beginning of this book. It felt very much like a historical novel and I don’t mind those at all, but never did I get the sense of ‘horror book’. This book really stood out from other fantasy novels I’ve read in my life. It was a unique story and I did enjoy the characters described in the book. Also, not having a love story in a book is kind of refreshing for once.
I will have to say that the book starts off quite slow. It is all about painting a scene and giving you a background of Wulfric and the other characters. The actual story begins fifteen years later once the abominations have run havoc in England.
As a reader we meet Indra – who is a teenage warrior girl. Determined to kill an abomination by herself and prove that she is worthy to join the order of elite knights who hunt these monsters. Compared to some of the female protagonists I’ve encountered in some books, I really like Indra. She has a temper and is not afraid to stand up for what she believes and to pick a fight. Much better than someone like Bella Swan…..
Wulfric, our other main character, has gone from a celebrated warrior to a hunted man who only longs for death. Indra shakes up his world, and he starts to feel protective and interested in another human being for the first time in fifteen years. But this puts Indra (and Wulfric) in terrible danger.
It’s hard to say much more without spoilers (though the spoilers are very obvious once you start reading), but there are plenty of reasons to try out this book.
What Abomination gives you
The idea – were- monsters set in ‘an alternate history’. I loved the thought behind the abominations and you almost start to wonder if perhaps this would have been a viable thing in history. English history and the invasion of the Vikings have never been something I got told about a lot in school; but this setting does feel unique yet very authentic.
The action scenes – You can tell he is a screen play writer, because the action scenes were fast and very descriptive. Now this is a horror novel so some scenes are also quite filled with gore. I hope that perhaps this book will be picked up for a movie, just because the action and monsters were really well written.
The female lead – she is a nice breath of fresh air compared to some of the characters we have in books. Now she is no Wraith of Six of Crows or Feyre from A court of Thorns, but having another strong female in a book is never a bad idea. I like the idea that she was trained by warriors and sees herself like one even if the men around her don’t take her serious. She reminded me very much of a noble paladin, who is still trying to find herself and her way in the world.
Theme – for a horror novel and the amount of gore we encounter, the theme is actually touching. There is a lot of focus on mercy, self acceptance, loyalty, strength, hope and family.
All in all I really enjoyed this book. Yes it starts off a bit slow, but it really does set the scene. Is it a real horror novel? Not if you’ve read anything by Stephen King or Clive Barker. It is very hard to categorize this book under any other theme. If you like history, good action scenes and love strong headed females, I would give this book a go.
Bonus: if you want to see some truly beautiful art created for the book, have a look here!