A few weeks ago I was contacted by Adam from Inkshares, who wanted to know if I’d be willing to review an upcoming book from a Mr. Gary Whitta. Obviously, I accepted, because that is awesome. I hadn’t heard of Inkshares, so I headed to the site to check it out, and I was very pleased with what I found. So pleased, in fact, that as soon as I’ve got a finished project, I’m going to be submitting it to Inkshares for hopeful publication. The two-word pitch for Inkshares: crowdfunded publishing.
Now, before you scoff and say “oh no, another Kickstarter clone,” let me assure you that Inkshares is doing this right. It seems to me to be the perfect intermediary between self publishing and going through the traditional agent/publisher route. If your book/article/whatever gets funded, Inkshares will provide editing, design, and publication services in both print and digital formats. It is an excellent program, and I am really excited to submit my own work to it. Now, let’s move on to Abomination, by Gary Whitta!
Gary Whitta has already enjoyed a successful career as a professional wordsmith, having worked on some of the most critically-acclaimed video games of the last few years (Telltale’s The Walking Dead,) as well as several major films (The Book of Eli and After Earth to name a few.) He was also slated to write the script for the live adaptation of Akira, and was, until very recently, working on a new standalone Star Wars film. He was also the EIC of PC Gamer. He’s bona fide.
Abomination is Mr. Whitta’s first foray into long-form prose, and his abilities as a screenwriter shine through and add excellent flavor to this book. Abomination is both historical fiction and low fantasy, with horrific demons, possession, and ruthless violence nestled alongside real character and plot movement, and an altogether entertaining set of twists and turns. Set in medieval England, we follow an almost-cliche hero as he rids the land of terrifying demons created by a holy-man-gone-mad. Not all is well when Wulfric (our intrepid hero) believes his quest to be done. It’s a great setup, and the 15-year jump roughly a third of the way into the story makes for a great shift—we get what is essentially a very long prologue, which seeds beautifully several of the twists that come crashing through in the final few chapters of the book. It makes for an excellent delivery overall.
Abomination deals in characters with what appear to be superficial cliches, until you get to know each of them and learn that they’re more interesting and deep than you’d assumed. I found myself emotionally attached to the characters before I was totally cognizant of the connection. These meat of the book takes place over a rather short time within the boundaries of the telling, and it makes for a book that’s rather hard to put down. The book is gory, and that gore provides a visceral undercurrent that pushes the reader’s hunger for a solution to a near frenzy when the characters you’ve become attached to suddenly threaten one another.
With Abomination, Whitta has woven a compelling tale of inner darkness and perseverance, and of betrayal and secrets, into a highly cinematic, visceral experience. It is wonderfully paced, with fantastic and vivid action. It’s an absolutely thrilling read, and I highly recommend it, though it comes coupled with a gore warning. If you find offal to be just too awful, read the first chapter, then decide if you want to read the rest. 4/5
You can order Abomination from Inkshares.
Also published on Medium.