The Bird Eater, by Ania Ahlborn
Publisher: 47North (Amazon)
290 pages, Kindle Edition
Published April 2014
Source: Amazon.com Kindle First
The descriptions for “The Bird Eater” and reviews I had read through various outlets gave me rather high hopes for this horror story. I hoped for a clever plot with dark atmosphere and perhaps some nice scares thrown in. Sadly I felt this haunted house story was just a mess. On the plus side the atmosphere and the ‘character’ of the ghost were each rather creepy. I also can praise Ahlborn for keeping the story dark throughout, all the way through the closing chapter.
The failures I perceived while reading the novel greatly outweighed these strengths. Several characters are underdeveloped or seemingly unnecessary. This largely seems to arise because the protagonist slips further into states of crazy: he’s no longer ‘there’ mentally enough to have focus on his point of view, making it necessary to now have others fill in for that point of view by the novel’s close.
The other major problem is simply how the story is handled. The exposition of “The Bird Eater” seems simply thrown in as one chunk to check it off the ‘to-do” list. The apparent power and control demonstrated by the ghost also leads one to wonder why bother letting things go ‘unnoticed’ or even ‘non-lethal’ for so long. When does the ghost decide to become fully ‘visible’? When does the ghost decide it’s been long enough torturing and is now time to kill?
If I recall correctly, the acknowledgements at the end mention a struggle to rework this into a manageable novel. The concept is great, but I feel this could have been far better realized in shorter form and with better integration of the “Bird Eater”‘s history.