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Brotherfollows 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…

319 pages, Paperback

First published September 29, 2015

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About the author

Ania Ahlborn

16 books4,077 followers
Born in Ciechanow Poland, Ania has always been drawn to the darker, mysterious, and sometimes morbid sides of life. Her earliest childhood memory is of crawling through a hole in the chain link fence that separated her family home from the large wooded cemetery next door. She’d spend hours among the headstones, breaking up bouquets of silk flowers so that everyone had their equal share.

Author of nine novels, Ania's books have been lauded by the likes of Publisher's Weekly, The New York Daily News, and The New York Times. Some titles have been optioned for film.

Hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ania currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina.

For more from Ania, visit her site, or connect via social media on Facebook and Twitter.

Web: http://www.aniaahlborn.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aniaahlborn
Twitter: @aniaahlborn

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,129 reviews
Profile Image for Kat.
263 reviews79.5k followers
February 6, 2020
mediocre entertainment at its best?? like, all things considered this book did what it came to do, BUT also...eh.

the story was incredibly predictable and surface-level. oh, also WAY tamer than i anticipated. with the amount of reviews that mention the extreme violence and cruelty of this book i really expected it to be something else but it's really like any other slasher and there was a lot more implied/fade to black than i anticipated.

so, idk. fun but not super impressive. i do kind of want to explore some of ahlborn's other stuff though to see if i can find a title that really does it for me because she is such a popular name in indie horror right now.
content warnings: gore, violence, murder, kidnapping, mentions of past sexual assault and abuse, harm to animals, cannibalism, casual homophobic and ableist language, and a smidge of incest
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,536 reviews9,783 followers
April 6, 2023
Rebel raised an eyebrow in approval. Good idea, he said.
A party ain't a party without a splash of red.

Brother is my first Ania Ahlborn book and far from my last.
I cannot tell you how much it pleases me to have found a new horror author to obsess over!

This book, set deep in the heart of Appalachia, is extremely disturbing. In fact, if you aren't disturbed by this, I'm not sure we can be friends.

It is so well written, although horrifying, it feels 100% plausible. I mean, why couldn't this happen?

It could totally happen, right?

It is horrible and dreadful, but it could happen. Nothing is scarier than mankind and their capacity to harm one another. At least not to me.

This book follows the Morrow Family, but in particular Michael Morrow, the second son and the one who doesn't quite fit in. Michael was adopted into the family and has since been well-conditioned in the Morrow ways.

The skill of Ahlborn's writing was on full display in the intricacies of the familial relationships. The relationship between Michael and his sister, Misty, was heartbreaking and that between Michael and his brother, Reb, the most disturbing and dysfunctional of all.

I loved to watch the evolution of the relationships and the way Michael's outlook begins to change when he befriends someone from outside the home.

Even after this happens though, loyalty to the family remains one of the most important themes in his world.

I really became attached to Michael as a character. As morally grey as he was, he seemed like the one shining light in this gloomy, hostile world.

I wanted him to be free, to escape from the clutches of his grim reality. I wanted to help him.

It's weird to me how a character, by no means a perfect person, can become so loved, instilling such heavy feelings of empathy in a reader.

This to me is a sign of exceptional character writing and I can't wait to read more from her.

Also, just a side note, loved the references to The Shining. I always love to see King lore pop up in other fiction. It makes my Constant Reader heart so happy!
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,904 followers
November 1, 2015
I saw this book pop up on Netgalley and my eyes locked in on it like it was a big old piece of chocolate cake. Appalachian family gone bad?
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I was way excited.
Then Netgalley yanked that rug from under my feet. They denied me.
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I gave no shits! I begged! I pleaded! Then thank Tom Cruise a friend got tired of me whiningtook pity on my poor soul and gifted me a copy.

Now for the actual book instead of my tale of woe.

You have the Morrow family. Living in the backwoods, peace and quiet in their little farmhouse.
Because they are so far out that no one can hear the screams!
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Just your typical clan. Wade is the dad of the house. He might be a puss. The only time he steps up to the plate is when he teaches his young son to "field dress" some critters.
Then you have Momma...Momma wears the pants in this family. No question about it. Momma stays in the kitchen a lot, except for when she gets a hankering for one of "her girls."
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Throw in a music loving sister and older psycho brother who has decided his name should be "Reb" and you have a really close family.
Reb had decided to find something better than the family dog though and he picked the family up a younger brother.
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Young brother Michael goes along with the family. Because he really has to provide for the family because times is rough.
Then he gets to go to a nearby record store with Reb. They meet two girls and Michael starts to question his family values.
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This story took a turn that I was not expecting. It became more than just your typical horror.

I LOVED it. This week has been all kinds of real life crazy for me and I guess it's fitting that I finished this craziness on Halloween night.
Five full big old rednecky stars.

This part earned a star all by itself.
"I dunno. I guess I like that Dorothy gets to escape to a place where it's colorful and magical instead of livin' in Kansas all her life." He paused, then added, "Those flying monkeys were pretty good too."
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It's Halloween and that is my favorite holiday..so everyone gets a mention.
You have Kelly, Zoeytron, Jennifer, Sh3lly, Carol, Kimberly, Steve, Michael, Kristi, Mommacat and
Sha..Everyone of these reviews loved this book and we are that group of WTF'ers who are hard to please.
Goes to show a woman can do horror.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,444 reviews7,535 followers
October 2, 2015
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

“You’re a goddamn psycho,” he said.

“You and me both, brother.”

First, can I just say that I LOVE being the first of my friends to review a book – especially when they earn all 5 Stars from my stingy self. To all of you who were denied the ARC, I’m so sorry. You must have done simply horrible things in your past life. Lucky for me I’m an angel, so I got approved. Good news is, the publication date has already come and gone so you don’t have to wait any longer in order to score a copy.

Alright, enough with my gloating – let’s get on with the show . . .

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^^^See what just happened there???? That’s what I felt like while reading this book. I got myself all geared up for a good slasher story and then WHAM! Totally blindsided.

Now, that’s not to say this wasn’t a stabby selection. On the contrary, it was indeed. It even featured a little something extra . . .

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But I’m getting ahead of myself. Brother begins in the heart of Appalachia where we meet the Morrow family – a hermitlike clan who live way back in the sticks. It’s in a farmhouse where we are introduced to Momma and Wade and their children Reb, Michael and Misty Dawn. The time is late ‘79/early ‘80, but due to their rural life in Dahlia, West Virginia the record player still spins a variety of Beach Boys, Neil Diamond (yes!), and ABBA and the only company they ever get are the girls Reb and Michael bring home to Momma . . .

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

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So I was expecting (and received) blood and gore. What I did not plan for was for such a deep story. The getting there was all the fun (???? – if you’re nuts like Mitchell). As for my reaction? I don’t do so well with feelings. They tend to make me all . . . .

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This book made me have a lot of them. It also proved once again that . . .

“Sometimes things only make sense in retrospect.”

What a tangled web was woven. Oh and I’m totally getting ready to go there, so all of you haters who think a woman can’t write some seriously f*&^ed up stuff? Keep on keepin’ on. Ania Ahlborn, you ain’t right girl! (And that makes me love you.) THIS is the next motherf*&^ing Gone Girl.

Recommended to? Anyone who finds a two-for-one Groupon for therapy and will share it with me.
Profile Image for Peter.
2,621 reviews468 followers
April 5, 2023
Ania Ahlborn meets Texas Chain Saw Massacre. In this novel you'll meet the Morrows family (not morons, LOL), your typical hick family. But you'll seldom see a family that evil and backward. Wade, a Nam veteran, Claudine, the monster mother, two brothers (Reb and Michael, an adopted brother) and two daughters, Misty Dawn and Lauralynn. The boys often abduct hikers and tramps for their mother to kill. Of course the kidnapped girls are eaten and you'll hear nasty details about field dressing... but the interaction between Reb and Michael is it what the plot makes. Why is Reb so full of hatred against his younger adopted brother? Why does he plan revenge and how is it staged? Things get interesting when Reb and Michael befriend two girls working in a record store. Will they survive? Can Michael flee at the end? Loved the atmosphere, the reference to the 80s, music and movies of the 70s and 80s (Shining, Amityville), the uncanny atmosphere with premonitions all over and the incredible twist at the end. There are also some very gory scenes inside so be warned. You'll also learn what happened to both girls in the course of action. This is great storytelling from a great author. You will be taken from the first page. Absolutely enjoyed this terrifying tale and couldn't put it down. Her best book so far. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Sadie Hartmann.
Author 24 books4,088 followers
February 6, 2017
Once in awhile, the stars align and I binge read a book. To me, a binge is where you don't stop reading until it's done. I've done this a few other times, but it's rare--you know, adulting and life and what not tends to prevent this from happening. (plus I love my sleep, gawd I love sleep)
So I binged this book. I binged the HELL out of this one. The weird thing, it was calling to me from my bookshelf. I'd be reading the Stand or East of Eden (my current reads) and this book was stalking me. "Read me, Sadie. Read me alllll up!"
So I was off yesterday. And alone. It was dark and rainy. I picked it up at around 3 or 4PM and I stopped to eat dinner (a baked potato) chat with the family (hey, how's life, yeah? Okay, I'm going to bed)
and then I turned the lights off to sleep at page 237. (like 100 pages left)
There was really no good place to stop reading. I forced myself to quit. I'm not going to tell you what this book is about, you can read the description for that.
I'm just going to tell you that this book clamped its blood stained jaws around my throat and held me underwater until I came up for air, I gulped a few breaths and then the book twisted my guts into a knot. Then, it broke my heart into a million pieces. Michael!
It left me with thoughts about family, tragedy, generational sins, consequences, violence, vulnerability and loss. The author had a story to tell and she grabbed both sides of my face in her hands and with wild eyes and a tremble in her voice--with urgency and aggression, she told me this story and now I'll never, ever forget it. Ever. I'm an addict now. Ania Ahlborn can force feed me whatever other sick stories she has in store for me. She just claimed her position in my collection of favorite horror authors--a place no other woman has sat before.

And before I go, let me say: This book IS HORROR. Terrifying. The Morrow family, collectively is evil in the flesh. Individually, Rebel scared me the most. DO NOT read this book if your cup of tea is like "milk and honey" because this cup of tea is "blood and gore". It's awful and beautiful at the same time. Don't say I didn't warn you. But if you like your tea murky and dirty, then by all means--let me pass you the cup and saucer.
Profile Image for Ɗẳɳ  2.☊.
159 reviews292 followers
May 4, 2023

To say that this book was a bit disappointing would be a major understatement. I had high hopes considering the Goodreads write-up that starts, “Deep in the heart of Appalachia stands a crooked farmhouse . . .” Yada yada yada, something about missing girls, deeply disturbing traditions, buried secrets or treasure or . . . what exactly? Not sure, but it was starting to pique my curiosity. I was picturing a crazy hillbilly story chock-full of madness and mayhem. I’d had a recent string of good luck with Hick Lit, and the book was highly rated by my friends, so, all things considered, picking it up seemed like a no-brainer.

However, the first thing I noticed when I finally cracked open the spine was that this book wasn’t Hick Lit at all. Strike one! It started off with sort of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibe to it before sinking into a deep lull. I couldn’t help but wonder, who was this Michael kid the story was following, and why was he acting so pathetic? I really wished he’d show a little backbone because the meek, loser act was wearing thin. I mean, why were they wasting so much time at a record store? Oh, I see. Apparently, young Michael was infatuated with the girl working there. A classic case of love at first sight that was overloading his hormones with the dreaded teen angst. A deadly combination! 🤦‍♂️ Strike two!

Thankfully, the story eventually moved along and things started to pick up when flashbacks exposed a troubled family history. Michael’s brother, Rebel, was shown to be a major league asshole and bully who treated Michael like his own personal slave. While Momma was busy dressing down his sister, Misty, and slapping her around to keep her in line. All the while their dad, Wade, just sat there . . . oblivious. Never saying a word, never lifting a finger to put a stop to any of it. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was brain-damaged or something because he did absolutely nothing throughout the entire story! I have no clue why he was even in the book.

But you know what? There were no chains on Michael or Misty, no locked doors or guns to their heads. Even though Michael acted really scared most of the time, he was not a little kid anymore. In fact, he was easily the most physically imposing person in the entire house. He claimed to love his sister fiercely saying that he’d do anything to protect her, yet time and again he did nothing as she was beaten black and blue. I just didn’t get it.

So, not only was the protagonist filled to the brim with teen angst, but he was also a coward, a liar, and an idiot. All of which made it impossible for me to pull for the guy. Hell, I’d rather shake the shit out of him and tell him to, “WAKE THE FUCK UP!” Honestly, I couldn’t care less about any of these lowlifes and soon began to lose interest in the story. Strike three!

In fairness, I should have probably stopped right there—thrown in the towel at 30%. But when I glanced back at all those glowing reviews, I couldn’t help but wonder what I was missing, so I stuck with it. That’s when the unthinkable happened.

The flashbacks, all along, had been hinting at something dark and disturbing, so when Rebel began targeting an older woman that didn’t seem to fit their usual profile, the puzzle pieces started to fall into place. Then, when they nabbed the woman and she cried out a single word, I realized I had solved the entire mystery just shy of the midway point in the book. 🤦‍♂️

The rest of the story played out like a slow-motion train wreck. I couldn’t look away, wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ . . . for a miracle. Sadly, it never came.

Credit where credit is due though, despite its shortcomings, the story ended on an absolutely perfect note to earn the author a slight bump in my rating.
Profile Image for Jennifer Masterson.
200 reviews1,127 followers
October 9, 2015
5 TWISTED Stars for "Brother"! I loved it! Every once in awhile I venture out of my comfort zone and enter the dark genre of horror! I'm so glad I picked this book! Ania Ahlborn did a fantastic job in telling this crazy story!

The Morrow's are a dysfunctional family of serial killers living in the Appalachians of West Virginia. They are all evil except for Michael. He has a heart and yearns to leave the family's psycho den after he meets sweet Alice at the record store. The only problem is his complete psycho brother, Rebel, who is constantly breathing down his back!

Michael always felt different from the rest of the Morrow clan and through flashbacks we learn more about what the early years were like for him and why he is so different from the other Morrow children: Reb, Misty and Lauralynn. This crazy book will keep you flipping the pages long into the night! It might even shock you in the end!

Highly recommended for fans of horror and people like me who want a little something different and are not too squeamish!

January 23, 2018
A story about a family of serial cannibal killers and not just that. The levels of depravity described here are shocking. I would call them dysfunctional, except for them being way tooo functional, just from a very different part of spectre.
I'm not gonna spoil it further...
He waited for the girl to lose her voice. That screaming bothered him, though he’d never admit it. It gave him nightmares, but he never complained. He only wished Momma would kill them while the sun was shining rather than waiting ’til dark. If it didn’t matter how hard they screamed, Michael didn’t get what the difference would be. ... On the lawn, strips of silver tape clung to the girl’s ankles just above her bare feet, but her hands were still secured in front of her by the wrists. ...
Misty kept as much distance between herself and Momma’s “hobby” as she could, but it didn’t keep her from partaking in the spoils. She hated the screaming and all the blood, but she loved the shiny things the girls left behind—rings and bracelets, necklaces and earrings. She had a whole collection of artifacts hoarded in her top dresser drawer. (c)
He wanted to place his hand on her shoulder, to tell her that it would be okay, that Momma usually
made it quick. But he doubted the girl wanted such reassurance. ...
“I’m sorry,” he told her, then he hefted her onto his shoulders.
The next time he’d be alone with her they’d be down in the cellar.
The next time he’d see her, she’d be undeniably dead. (c)
Reb had pushed him down that staircase a few times in the past. Once... It was a wonder he hadn’t broken his neck—no doubt Rebel’s intent. Momma had rushed to see what all the ruckus was about, only to scold her eldest son from the bottom of the staircase. You break this house and I’ll make you rebuild it with your two bare hands, Ray! And then she had shot Michael a look and told him to Get up off of that floor before returning to her TV show. (c)
The Morrows had swept down from heaven like angels and plucked him out of harm’s way, swaddled him and taken him into their home when nobody else had wanted him. In a world where he owed them everything, he often reminded himself that this—the basement, the bodies, the blood—was his bounden duty. He had been saved. (c)
He loved the fact that she wasn’t afraid to act silly or look dumb, or to tell him about her dead dad and her depressed mom, as though they’d been friends their entire lives. He wished he could be just as open, spill everything about himself and get it off his chest. He wanted to tell her about his family—about Misty Dawn and how she liked to dance to old hokey records and cheesy pop music, about Rebel and how Michael was afraid of him but they were still best friends. He wanted to tell her about his first time down in the basement at the age of ten, how Wade had locked him in there with a dead girl and wouldn’t let Michael out until he field dressed her the way he would have any other kill. But he knew he couldn’t tell her any of those things, and it made it hard to look her in the eye. (c)
He remembered the way Reb had made him toss his most favorite things into a hole in the ground. The way he had made him bury them as if to remind Michael that, without Reb’s permission, he wasn’t allowed to love or dream or be anything.
It was rule number one. (c)
Michael willed her to keep going. To not give up. To fight.
She had to make it, or it was all for nothing.
She had to get to the car, or Rebel would win, even in death.
The world began to go dark and soft around the edges. (c)
She was his Fate, delivering him from a life of horror, saving him from himself. (c)
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,719 reviews462 followers
January 10, 2016
1/10/16: $1.99 at Amazon!

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

I thought that this book was absolutely fantastic! I have not been so mesmerized by a book in a long time. This book was incredibly bloody, incredibly twisted, and just absolutely awesome. I realize that I almost missed out on this book. I didn't even take a second look at this title when it was on NetGalley. When I noticed a couple of great reviews on Goodreads, I put my name on the list at the local library because I am always ready for a great book. If I had only known how good this one was going to be, I doubt that I would have waited nearly as patiently.

This is the story of Micheal and his family, the Morrows. This family is not your average family. Not at all. This family is a group of twisted sick people. The kind of people that you hope to never cross paths with during your lifetime. They live in a secluded house where it is easier to hide some of their hobbies from the general population.

Micheal seems like a rather nice guy....all things considered. Micheal spends the majority of his time with his brother, Reb. I really can't think of anything nice to say about Reb. He really has no redeeming qualities that I can think of. His sister, Misty, is really just trying to get through each day. Wade, the father, is quiet and really seems to be taking orders most of the time. Momma is unpredictable and frightening.

This book grabbed me on the first page...literally page 1! I found this story very hard to put down. There was a section where I wanted it to be just a little bloodier but I kept turning the pages and my wishes were granted. I was enjoying this nice bloody story when things took an unexpected twist. This story actually took several turns that I did not see coming. The way that the story ended was mind boggling.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys horror. There is a lot of blood and violence in this one so it may not be the perfect book for everyone but I found it to be a much welcome surprise. This is the first book by Ania Ahlborn that I have read but I have already purchased a couple of additional titles that I hope to read soon.

Initial Thoughts
That was freaking fantastic! A bloody and twisted story that I loved every moment of. That ending absolutely blew me away. I honestly can't even think straight right now.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,135 followers
November 3, 2015
OMG! or should I just say OH BROTHER! Either way, 4.5 Stars for this totally F'd Up dysfunctional family read.

A girl screaming bloody murder is how it all begins, but that's not really important. What happens when Momma Claudine disciplines her boys and girls or needs to quench her thirst is, and throughout the story, what you will find is disgustingly gruesome, brutal and just plain nasty!

And, just when you think the worst is over, you'll be shocked and grossed out beyond your wildest dreams, and it still won't be over as there is the double whammy of an ending!

And, believe it or not, when this story of family horrors is finally over, there is devastating sadness.

Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
643 reviews4,260 followers
November 9, 2019
“A party ain’t a party without a splash of red.”

The Morrows are a family residing in a secluded farmhouse, far in the Appalachians — far enough that nobody outside of the family can hear the screams...

If you asked me to describe this book in three words, I would choose the following: brutal, disturbing and tense. So basically any Ania Ahlborn book, right?!

If you think your family is fucked up... meet the Morrows. Families who commit heinous acts together, stay together - is that how it goes?? Ahlborn develops her characters so well that we actually feel sympathy for one of the family members, because you can see right away that he is different - he isn’t straight-up evil like the rest of the clan! And boy, are they evil. What a cast of twisted, depraved individuals! I loved it!

I can’t recall the last time I read a book where the tension was just so palpable... the dread continually builds throughout the entire novel to a dizzying finale that is spattered with blood. Just how I like it!!

Not every horror book can easily elicit a range of different emotions and allow you to form those emotional connections, but this one put me through the wringer. I was angry, frustrated, sad, heartbroken... This one ticks all the damn boxes!

Ahlborn goes to the darkest places imaginable, she has yet to disappoint me and that is why I will continue to hail her as the Queen of Horror! If I didn’t know she was one of the most genuine and lovely people, I would be shit scared of her.

A must for horror fans! 5 stars.
Profile Image for Brandon Baker.
Author 14 books3,344 followers
August 26, 2022
Absolutely incredible. Think coming of age story with cannibalistic serial killers. Probably had one of the best endings in a horror novel I’ve read in years!!
Profile Image for JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust.
345 reviews579 followers
November 11, 2015
*** 3 Oh' Brother Stars***
It appears I'm in the minority once again :-(

I finished Brother last night and well..... I didn't love it :-(
With that said, I honestly believe the reason lies with me. I read a lot of fucked up stories, so while most readers had this reaction while reading . . .

My, as well as Carla's reaction ( yeah, I'm throwing her under the bus with me ) was more along the lines of this . . .

We I wanted more gore. . . violence.... fuckery ...Hell, All of the Above. My biggest problem with the book were the characters themeselves. I had a difficult time wrapping my head around their actions. I'd like to explain but in doing so I fear I will spoil the story. I will try my best not to, but just in case, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not open the spoiler tag until you've read the book.

With all my rambling aside, Brother wasn't a bad story by any means. It definitely pushed some of my emotional buttons ---> Rage, thanks to Rebel. Frustration, thanks to Michael, & heartbreak, thanks to Misty, yet the characters felt emotionless. Go figure.

Brother has numerous 5 star reviews by much more normal reviewers than I . Please read their reviews and decide if this Brother from another mother is the right guy for you.

Profile Image for Zoeytron.
1,036 reviews670 followers
October 27, 2015
Far away from any pain-in-the-arse neighbors within screaming distance, there sits an old farmhouse. Listing slightly to the side, its angles all askew, it has a basement that should be avoided at all costs. The dynamics of the residents living within the house take center stage, and we find the Morrow family to be as skewed as their living quarters. They have always lived off the land, hunting in the nearby woods to put meat on the table. Momma is hollow-eyed and likes knives. Do not get her riled up. Oh, and dinner is always at six.

The more I read from Ania Ahlborn, the better I like her. There is an easy familiarity between her words and the darkness she creates in her novels. If it suits your taste to read a book and be filled with dread, look no further. The tension fraught betwixt and between these pages is thick enough that you could cut it with one of Momma’s knives. Brother will chew you up and not spit you out until the very last page.

Profile Image for Saswati.
406 reviews280 followers
July 30, 2021
3.5 “A party ain’t a party without a splash of red” stars

Michael is just a regular 19 year old boy, who's shy, sweet and a little awkward. Except he's not really a regular boy because his family? They're a bunch of serial killers; and if that wasn't enough, they're also cannibals. For years Michael has struggled to come to terms with their lifestyle, he just wants to be normal, but with Reb as his elder brother, the chances are bleak. He's there, always watching, always ready to remind his little brother of exactly what they are.
“You’re a goddamn psycho.”
“You and me both, brother”.

Although the story was initially a little slow, it did get better and have quite a number of plot twists along the way, so I'd say it was a pretty good read.

P. S. Thank you for reading this with me, Alka! I love sharing my theories with you, even if they turn out to be utter nonsense 😂💕
Profile Image for Sarah.
268 reviews117 followers
April 5, 2023
With Brother, I felt as though I was waiting with bated breath for the next horrifying, gory, moment to happen.
The Morrow family are, for lack of a better term, fucked up. Completely morally corrupt. They live in a farm, secluded in the back-woods of Appalachia. This is where all the horrors take place.
I couldn’t help but feel some sympathy for the adoptive son of the family, Michael. Even though he commits some of the worst evils. He was brought up this way, forced into this mad family. But he wants a way out.
He meets a girl called Alice who works in a record store in the town. This gives him the motivation he needs try and run away from this town, shed his horrifically dark past.
But his older brother, Rebel, is about to remind him that he won’t be able to escape the monster that he has become…

Brother does not lack in 70s/80s pop culture references, everything from The Shining to David Bowie to The Cure.
That ending had such a killer twist! This was one hell of a messed up ride from start to finish.
Profile Image for Michelle.
2,101 reviews1,254 followers
January 3, 2016
ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Disturbing!!!!! That is one word that comes to mind when I read BROTHER by Ania Ahlborn. This book literally was utterly chilling, twisted and sinister. It was one of those dark reads that frighten you to the core on how disturbing and psychotic one family is. The Morrow family takes the meaning deadly to a whole new level.


They say blood is thicker than water. But in the case of The Morrow family, blood unites them and binds them as they enjoy the kidnapping and killing of young women. In this crazy family, the mother is the most brutal one out of all them. She enjoys the kill, the blood, the screams, and of course the torture. And accompanying her, is her evil eldest son, Reb. Reb uses his authoritative figure to manipulate his siblings especially his younger brother, Michael. He thinks of Michael as nothing but weak and stupid. Reb has always been jealous of Michael and so he plots away his plan to really suck in Michael into the family rituals of enjoying the kill. As much as Michael wants to escape from his family and personal hell, the threat of what Reb would do to the one girl that he is attracted to makes him fearful and wants to stay behind to make sure Reb doesn't do anything to harm the girl. But as Reb learns of his brother's plan to runaway, his plan of revenge is set in motion... And so Michael must decide how far will he go to be the good obeying brother that he is...or will he end up following in his brother's footsteps?

Ms. Ahlborn delivers one of the most twisted and sinister reads that I have read. As you are immersed into the story, you could practically feel the screams radiating off the pages as blood and torture are taking place on the Morrow's compound.The writing was well-written and Ms. Ahlborn perfectly paints a vivid picture with her words and story-telling of the living hell and cruelty that is taking place in the Morrow household. In the gruesome and deadly tale, the author perfectly captures the psychotic minds of each member of the household. The killings, the lies, the betrayal, and the revenge are perfectly incorporated in this dark psychological thriller. So if you enjoy the crazy, dark, frightening, hair-raising, and evil twisted reads then I suggest you give BROTHER a try.

Review can also be found on Four Chicks Flipping Pages: http://fourchicksflippingpages.weebly...Ania Ahlborn
Profile Image for Dennis.
774 reviews1,472 followers
March 18, 2019
Now that was a horror novel! Dangggg, I am shook to the core by Ania Ahlborn's Brother . What a sick, twisted, and demented story—and I loved every second of it!

Michael Morrow lives in a secluded farmhouse, buried into the woods of West Virginia, and he lives with his parents Claudine and Wade, his sister Misty, and his brother Ray (nicknamed Rebel). The Morrow family leads a very unconventional life, and they typically keep to themselves. However, there's moments that the family likes to dabble in grotesque forms of survival—whether that includes crime, theft, or murder. The family thrives on conning innocent people so they can get by, but Michael doesn't share the same interests as his family. Michael does not have the same cannibalistic desires and the taste for murder that his brother and parents do—and that will work against him. As Michael gets older, he wants to escape the world that he's living in, and when he meets Alice at a record store, he may just do that.

Ok, wow.

Brother holds NOTHING back in terms of horror and shock-value. If you are triggered by violent crime and rape, please make sure to skip this book. That being said, I was glued to the book like a moth to a flame. I could not put this book down even if I tried. It was scary, realistic, and utterly sinister. At times, I even caught myself cringing more than I ever have with a book, and that shocked me. I loved this story, and even had a nightmare last night after I fell asleep. That's the key to writing an amazing horror story, and I cannot wait to dive into Ms. Ahlborn's previous works. I think I found a new favorite author.
Profile Image for Leo.
4,300 reviews384 followers
September 11, 2022
This was a reread. Still an interesting story but don't have much to say at the moment


This was an strange story with a very messed up family. However Michael the 19 year old in the family doesn't really enjoy the same sinister activities as the rest of his family. It's more of a 3.7 stars for me. I think the book was very successful in creating a creepy and disturbing atmospheric. It's intense and is page turnery. However I wasn't quite able to get invested in the story but I might just have read the book in the wrong time. I plan to reread this in the future to see if my feelings of this changes. Sometimes even if I'm very much drawn to a specific genre, a book might still not been read at the right time
Profile Image for STEPH.
225 reviews36 followers
July 22, 2022
Not bad. Kinda funny to me and I don’t know why.

There wasn’t enough gore, I guess. Nothing about the story gave me something to think about other than wanting to kick the asshole Reb. I mean, all too cliched and boring for the most part.

Let me give you an idea so you’d know what you’re getting into.

1. Cannibalistic family, a farmhouse miles away from any road (the typical “killer-family-with-a-twisted-hunger-for-flesh-preferrably-young-girls-with-strawberry-blonde-hair.”)
2. Cringey Instalove turned into something warped and gross.
3. Very consistent monster of a brother.
4. Mother from hell.

A bit entertaining, yep but, I expected something more. I wanted something more from it!
May 7, 2022

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Who asked for the Deliverance/American Psycho mashup? Not me, but boy am I going to read that anyway. BROTHER is honestly one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. I normally hate horror novels but the kind that suckers me into traumatizing myself every time is the intimate, character portrait sort of horror novel, which is how I ended up being scarred for life by books like Misery. Once I get invested, I can't put the book down, no matter how much I want to.

Less is definitely more when it comes to BROTHER, but it definitely has TWs for basically everything under the sun. This is one of those books that not only shows people at their worst, but also kind of how they got that way. The two stars of this book are Michael, a not-so-ordinary teenage boy who hates his family (for a good reason). And Ray/Rebel, Michael's adoptive brother who is filled with a driving need for vengeance, poisoned by a hate that will literally stop at nothing.

The claustrophobic setting, high emotional stakes, and you-could-cut-it-with-a-knife level tension made this a gripping book, a real white-knuckler for sure, but I will also never read this again because it's so dark and so depressing. It's the sort of book that just kind of leaves you feeling dead inside. Brilliant story, brilliant writing, and daring author. I'll read more from her but it won't be this.

4 to 4.5 stars

Profile Image for Rob.
511 reviews106 followers
May 28, 2021
Stand alone horror novel published 2015.

This book is a gruesome, stomach churning, horror story, delving into some of the most disgusting aspects of human behaviors.
Trouble is that it’s disgustingly good and I couldn’t put the disgusting book down.

The Morrows are a poor family living in the middle of nowhere and trying to live off the land. They hunt the local area for their meat but its not animals that they are hunting its young loner girls that are in their sights.
They are a family of five, Momma, Wade, Reb, Misty-Dawn and Michael but Michael is not really a Morrow he was abducted by the Morrows when he was only three years old. Right from day one Michael was conditioned to believe that without the young woman for food the Morrows would not survive, it was sad but it was a necessary part of life.
So, from three until twenty years of age, this way of life was all very normal for Michael. That was until Alice entered Michael’s life. From their very first meeting there was a spark of something that Michael had never felt before. Michael thought it might be love but this spark went much deeper than simple love.
Michaels surrogate bother, Reb, is the personification of evil; Reb cares for nothing or no one, not even himself. Rebs favourite pastime is making Michael’s life as miserable as possible. So when Michael realises that Reb has designs on having Alice for dinner, on a plate that is, Michael’s life goes into a tailspin.
From this point onwards this tale goes into overdrive. What Reb does to make Michael’s life go from awful to unbearable has to be read to be believed. Your jaw will drop more than once, believe me.

The whole Morrow Family are sick, including Michael, but the author paints just enough light into Michael that you end up feeling for his situation.

So if horror and carnage is your thing you won’t be disappointed with this.

4 star entertainment but definitely not for the fainthearted
Profile Image for Khalid Abdul-Mumin.
176 reviews71 followers
May 19, 2023
Amazing storytelling and writing, I was completely hooked from the very first page! Michael Morrow has done vile things; unspeakable and repellent, very typically evil. But still... innocence and goodness remains within. The Morrow family commits abhorrent and cruel acts but then, by which criteria are we to condemn? Vedic philosophy says that the Vish and Shiv are both aspects of the divine; creative and destructive energies, ying and yang, different sides to the same coin. Are they destroying (and killing) so that new life may be created? Is violence and destruction inevitable within the context of human societies?

Krishnamurti says, "Belief is corruption because behind belief and morality lurks the 'mine', the self... we consider the belief in God, the belief in something, as religion."
I'll go further and say that the human mind works to understand the world and its relation to it using belief systems, we believe in good and evil, right, wrong, acceptable, etc. But he continues with,
"One society will condemn those who believe in God, and another society will condemn those who do not. They are both the same. So, religion (and other abstract concepts) becomes a matter of belief, and belief acts and has a corresponding influence on the mind; the mind then can never be free. But it is only in freedom that you can find out what is true, what is God,... your very belief projects what you think ought to be".

In so doing, can we finally understand and come to grips with evil? But I digress, Ania Ahlborn has created an atmospheric thriller that's made me think of evil, its effects and consequences; and whether it's possible to be redeemed from it. A literary thriller masterpiece!

Edit III: 05192023
Profile Image for Evie.
711 reviews924 followers
October 3, 2015

Dark, disturbing, gut-wrenching and violent, Brother is perfect for extreme horror enthusiasts, but only those who are not afraid to explore the slimiest, most terrifying corners of human soul. You will feel filthy and hollowed out when you're done, you will need a long, hot shower and you will never - I repeat: NEVER - get this story out of your head. Be warned: proceed with caution.

After reading Ahlborn's previous book, Within These Walls, I already knew she writes exactly my flavor of horror. She quickly became one of my favorite writes and made my "auto-buy" list. I can't believe that I am saying that, but after reading Brother, I think I love her even more than I love my one and only undisputed king of horror: Stephen King. But maybe "love" is not the right word exactly; I am full of respect for this woman, but I am also shit-less scared of her.

Brother is, hands down, the most disturbing, appalling, gutting story I have ever read. It got me more than Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl, and if you've read that one, you know just how f**ked up it was. Well, Brother takes that mind-fuckery to a whole new level of mental and emotional slaughterhouse. I kid you not, this book is powerful, and therefore, dangerous. I guess some people will be affected by it more than others, because it totally depends on your level of empathy and at what point in life this book will find you. If you're emotionally vulnerable, depressed or if you're a new parent, you might seriously want to skip it for now and move along to something less threatening. This book is absolutely not for the squeamish or faint of heart. You need to have a strong stomach, too, or at least keep a bucket handy. And you can later thank me for warning you.

In the heat of the humid and sticky summer, we arrive at an isolated, old farmhouse in the middle of woods, far away from the rest of the world. Where no one can hear the screams. And the screams are piercing, primal, and entirely hopeless.

Michael was "adopted" by the Morrows when he was only 3 (or so) years old. Rebel found him at the corner of his yard, trying to sell some of his old toys. They took him, they renamed him, and they told him he's lucky to have a new family, because his old family did not want him anymore. Michael's life became one, never-ending nightmare.

I don't want to go too deep into discussing the plot line, because this book is constructed in a way that requires the reader to go in blindfolded. That's the only way you can fully appreciate the masterful foreshadowing and intensely creepy atmosphere of the story. What you need to know, though, is that Brother is a book strictly for adults and should be read by adults only. And that comes from someone who started reading Stephen King and Graham Masterton at the age of 13, but yes, while you can read the two aforementioned authors as a teen and get away mentally unscathed, you can't do the same with Brother.

As the author brings more light to the past secrets of the Morrow family, the atmosphere gets heavier, the mood - darker, and the walls begin to close in on you. I felt physically ill while reading this book. I did not cry or vomit (though, honestly, I came pretty close to both), but that's only because I was too shocked and uneasy to even move a muscle. This is the first book that had me in invisible shackles that I could actually feel as they were weighing me down. I felt breathless (not in a good way) and stuck in a huge jar of molasses.

The terror of Brother is both gruesome and in-your-face, as well as sophisticated and deliberately planned. This book will leave you not only terrified, but also changed. The darkness and hopelessness of the book is completely uncompromising. Up until the last seconds and against all odds, you're clinging to the faint hope that somehow it will turn out fine, even though deep inside you know better. And despite everything you've witness you can't bring yourself to feel angry at the characters. You can't bring yourself to hate them. Instead, you feel profoundly sad, beaten-down, broken to pieces and ready to give up.

Brother filled my heart with rage and sorrow. A vicious cycle of hurt and violence, suffering and pain. And no hope. No hope at all...
Profile Image for Kaora.
568 reviews281 followers
November 17, 2015
I had my doubts going into this book. After reading the synopsis I feared that I was going into a book that would be just a huge gore fest, but I liked Ania Ahlborn's last book Within These Walls so I decided to give it a shot.

Not that a gore fest is a horrible thing, but when you are feeling nauseous it isn't the right time for it.

Happily the gore was kept to a minimum and instead Ania focused on creating her characters and giving them motivation which I appreciated. Although I didn't find all of the actions of the main character believable, it was a quick read and action packed enough to keep me turning those pages.

There were a few holes in the story, such as a person sleeping in a dark room for an amount of time upon waking does not need to "adjust to the light" because their eyes will already have adjusted. The person walking into the room however will probably have to have their eyes adjust and wouldn't be able to see better than the person who was already in the room.

I also didn't like the ending as it ended abruptly leaving some things unfinished and left me with questions as to what happened to the characters. When done right it can be intriguing, but I just felt frustrated with this one. It seemed a bit lazy to end like that. Almost like she was writing an essay for class that had to have an exact number of words and she had run out of words.

But all in all a great, quick read for a rainy night.

Cross posted at Kaora's Corner.
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,084 reviews2,944 followers
September 9, 2020
3.0 Stars
This is an incredibly dark story about a terrible family who does some terrible things. There is some gruesome situations with plenty of harm to women and animals. The novel reads like a slow burning character study, focusing on the interactions within this dysfunctional family. I never became fully immersed in the narrative, but readers with more interest in the southern rural stories may enjoy this one more than I did. While I enjoy reading dark stories, this novel demonstrated that simply containing "disturbing subject matter" is not enough to hook me into a narrative.
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