June 29, 2017

Brother by Ania Ahlborn


From the bestselling horror author of Within These Walls and The Bird Eater comes a brand-new novel of terror that follows a teenager determined to break from his family’s unconventional—and deeply disturbing—traditions.

Deep in the heart of Appalachia stands a crooked farmhouse miles from any road. The Morrows keep to themselves, and it’s served them well so far. When girls go missing off the side of the highway, the cops don’t knock on their door. Which is a good thing, seeing as to what’s buried in the Morrows’ backyard.

But nineteen-year-old Michael Morrow isn’t like the rest of his family. He doesn’t take pleasure in the screams that echo through the trees. Michael pines for normalcy, and he’s sure that someday he’ll see the world beyond West Virginia. When he meets Alice, a pretty girl working at a record shop in the small nearby town of Dahlia, he’s immediately smitten. For a moment, he nearly forgets about the monster he’s become. But his brother, Rebel, is all too eager to remind Michael of his place…

‘Brother’ is . . . a very brutal book to say the least. There is a lot of blood, a lot of cringing, and a lot of having to put it down to take a break. It follows the traditions of the Morrow family as they make their way through girls. By making their way through girls, I mean brutally murdering them.

This book is not for people who don’t enjoy gore. There is a lot of it, and some of it is really hard to read. If you can get through that, you will find an interesting story about a kid that longs for normalcy when his life is anything but normal.

You get the sense that Michael may not be all there, but it could just be his lack of education and communication with the outside world. All he knows is the messed up family that he has ended up with. He knows he doesn’t really belong in their circle, but it takes him the whole book to find out his actual truth.

Michael is a complex character while being a very simple person. For someone who has done unforgivable things, Michael has a good heart and feels very deeply.

Then there is Reb, Michael’s “brother”. I am not sure he has felt any emotion except for anger. Despite being a sibling, I feel like he ran the family. It lived and breathed on the back of Reb.
Wade was the father, but he was much more of a background character and didn’t really mean anything to me.

Momma – she got the family started in their messed up ways. Everything they did was to please her. She was an ominous presence that couldn’t really do much on her own. She did a lot of . . . cooking. She had a severe lust for blood and she wanted to see people suffer. For a character who doesn’t say a whole lot, she was terrifying.

Misty Dawn was the reject of the family due to her loneliness and need for love.

Brother is told from Michael’s POV and introduces you to his struggles and want for a new life.
It is a deep book, and it is well written. Despite the gruesome scenes, it made me want to keep reading.

If you can handle it, give it a shot.

3/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes:

“Them’s the perks of livin’ out in the wilderness, Momma has once said. You scream and ain’t nobody around to hear.”

“If it didn’t matter how hard they screamed, Michael didn’t get what the difference would be. Day or night, dead was dead. At least during the day he wasn’t trying to sleep.”

“Some hurts were just too painful to talk about.”

“The air was always better when the world was sleeping. It made it easier to breathe.”

“She was his Fate, delivering him from a life of horror, saving him from himself.”

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