The Evil Seed by Joanne Harris
Pages - 443
Challenges - 100+ books.
This is my second reading venture into books by Joanne Harris and I am so glad that I read it. The Evil Seed is the first book that Joanne ever wrote. She wrote it back in 1989 and many of her fans were disappointed as they were unable to get hold of it as it went out of print very quickly. So back by popular demand, this book was reprinted and updated in September of last year.
The story begins with Alice, one of the main characters in the book, being confronted by her lost love,Joe and his new girlfriend Ginny. Alice is jealous of Ginny and thinks that she has Joe under a spell, because their is something not quite right about Ginny and her rather sinister group of friends. Compelled to find out the truth about Ginny, Alice searches through Ginny's belongings and comes across an old book written by Daniel Holmes. The book is written in diary form and details Daniel and his friend Robert's lives. When they were young men, they came across a mysterious, young, ethereal woman, who managed to bewitch both men, with her beauty and charm. The woman, Rosemary Virginia Ashley, is now said to be buried in Grantchester churchyard and has been for over half a century. Alice is compelled to follow the story of Daniel and Rosemary, and as the book goes on, the past and the present becomes entwined. Alice realises that her hatred of Ginny is not down to jealousy and she sets off on a turbulent journey in a nightmare she will never forget.
The book deals with the idea of vampires in a completely different way to any others that I have read. These vampires are not immortal and don't just suck blood. They are evil, but not necessary by choice as some are trapped in their lives due to the actions of others.
I absolutely loved this book. I preferred it to Coastliners which I read previously this year. For her first book, I am absolutely amazed at the quality of her writing. The prose is very descriptive,vivid and beautifully written and I could almost imagine being there. Joanne brings her characters to life with ease, with her natural talent for description. This book is limited in the amount of dialogue within it, but I didn't feel that it was missing in this area. The story is fast paced from the beginning and keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time you are reading it.
The book jumps backwards and forwards in time between Alice's story and Daniel's story. I found with this, I was desperate to read onwards all the time, to find out what would happen next as the chapters were left on cliff hangers.
The book is set in Cambridge, which I found wonderful, as many years ago, I lived there. So I could actually picture the places Joanne wrote about, such as the river Cam and the Corn Exchange.
Other reviewers have commented on how Joanne Harris's writing has improved since this book. Now as I have only read one other of her books, I can't really comment, but as I mentioned earlier, I actually preferred this one to her later book Coastliner.
I would say if you only read one Joanne Harris book this year, make it this one.