Review – The Old One by Todd Brabander

(Note: I received a copy of The Old One via the LibraryThing Member Giveaways Promotion. It is available at Smashwords and Amazon).

There is no doubt in my mind that H.P. Lovecraft is a significant source of inspiration for Mr. Brabander. The Old One is a horror story in the slow, creeping method of insidiousness that Lovecraft became so well-known for. While the tone and actual writing are completely different (much more colloquial than Lovecraft’s stilted formality), I would most definitely consider this a “Lovecraftian” tale.

The story is paced slowly, though not so much as to cause boredom. There is enough happening that keeps the reader drawn in, but does not reveal too much too quickly. When the Elder God-style supernatural horror is finally revealed, it is done in such a way which is shockingly gruesome without being overly gratuitous. It is here that Mr. Brabander’s work most greatly differentiates from Lovecraft’s, in that most often, Lovecraft’s stories left the horror entirely to the imagination, whereas Brabander lets us see some of the goriness that happens when you disturb the rest of some kind of ancient being.

Overall, the narrative was fairly smooth, with bumps in the road when backgrounds for minor characters were inserted without any line breaks or other differentiating factors, and the occasional minor editing/formatting error.

If you’re a fan of the Lovecraftian vein of horror (which I totally am), I think you’ll find a fair amount to like here. I would offer one observation – for a book priced at $2.99, ~18000 words is very short. This is a novella, not a full length work, so don’t be surprised when it’s only about 59 pages (on my Sony PRS-505 in ePub format). I would not have priced it that high myself, but of course that’s the author’s call to make.

PROS: Good narrative, Lovecraftian flair.

CONS: Price point for length, occasional formatting error.

Final Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars. Recommended for story, but it’s short.

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