I have read a rather eclectic assortment of books over Christmas, one of which was The Evil Seed, Joanne Harris’s first novel. She confesses herself that it probably isn’t the greatest novel ever (see here for her own comments on it), but adds that she has some affection for it just because it was her first novel. I suspect her fans will be forgiving, since she has gone from strength to strength subsequently, but I must confess to being a little disappointed with it (and also to being disappointed that I was disappointed!)
The story follows two strands: a present-day girl who is suspicious of her ex-boyfriend’s “lavender-eyed” new girlfriend with suspicious nocturnal habits, and a post-war romantic tragedy detailed in a diary. The characters haunt graveyards, drink blood, and generally behave as vampires – which they are, although the word is rarely used. I must admit I thought Harris would be really good at horror; in fact, the atmosphere is well-evoked and her descriptions suitably gory, but it just doesn’t quite cut it. Somehow one is too conscious of the writer when reading The Evil Seed; the plot is too guessable and not suspenseful enough. I say this kindly, because I like her later novels a lot. And I’m glad I read this one, but I probably wouldn’t read it again.
My reviews of some of Joanne Harris’s other books can be found here: