Brother

Brother - Ania Ahlborn

This was an extremely rough read, and dark as hell, so I'm not sure "enjoyed" is the correct term to use for how I feel about it, but I am glad I read it.

 

This starts out extremely twisted and quite violent and never lets up. It reads quite a bit like a horror movie (I mean that in a flattering way), and would honestly make an excellent one. I rarely venture into psychological horror because it is hard to do well, and when done well tends to be extremely disturbing. This was done well, and thus the corollary rings true. I ended up glued to it, and thinking about it quite a bit when I wasn't reading it. 

 

I'm not sure what precisely I think of the characters. An interesting point is raised regarding how much leeway to give based on past horrific experiences (and there are a lot of those in this novel), and I'm not sure where precisely I fall on the line. I can't defend the actions of...probably anyone in this novel, at any point, but I feel like I understand them rather well in most cases. 

 

That's actually the disturbing part--the fact that I understand the horrific actions that are the center of existence for this entire family's (extremely messed up) lives. Not completely (don't get the idea I'm an insane murderer or anything, anyone. I'm not, promise!), but enough to feel awful about the events leading up to their monstrous actions. That takes some serious writing chops, right there. 

Michael makes a good protagonist in that he is in the middle of these horrible things, but having doubts that we can understand. His own behavior in perpetrating what the family is doing is outrageous, but his doubts provide us with the link back to humanity that we need to get into the plot. We feel involved because of him, even when we don't particularly feel fond of him.

 

I did see bits and pieces of the ending coming, but not all of it. It was cleverly wrapped-up, though extremely dark, and the conclusion was satisfying, if horrific to actual read. 

 

At some point, I will want to pick up more books by Ania Ahlborn, but I'll probably require a few light and fluffy things before I start. She can certainly write, and write well, but the darkness that she does so well is not a place I want to spend lots of consecutive time, even as we approach Halloween. 

 

This book was provided to me for free by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.