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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Horror (2015)
He is England's greatest knight, the man who saved the life of Alfred the Great and an entire kingdom from a Viking invasion. But when he is called back into service to combat a plague of monstrous beasts known as abominations, he meets a fate worse than death and is condemned to a life of anguish, solitude, and remorse.

She is a fierce young warrior, raised among an elite order of knights. Driven by a dark secret from her past, she defies her controlling father and sets out on a dangerous quest to do what none before her ever have—hunt down and kill an abomination, alone.

When a chance encounter sets these two against one another, an incredible twist of fate will lead them toward a salvation they never thought possible—and prove that the power of love, mercy, and forgiveness can shine a hopeful light even in history’s darkest age.

352 pages, Paperback

First published July 29, 2015

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About the author

Gary Whitta

67 books364 followers
Gary Whitta is an award-winning screenwriter best known for The Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington. He also co-wrote the Will Smith sci-fi movie After Earth, and was writer and story consultant on Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. He is co-writer of the upcoming Star Wars movie Rogue One as well as the animated series Star Wars Rebels.

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5 stars
378 (21%)
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623 (36%)
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491 (28%)
2 stars
170 (9%)
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59 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 291 reviews
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
703 reviews3,281 followers
July 5, 2017
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

It is 880 AD, and Wulfric has aided Alfred the Great in saving the kingdom from a Viking invasion. In the midst of repairing destruction caused by the war, a cache of ancient scrolls is discovered, scrolls written in an arcane form of Latin. When a learned priest deciphers the scrolls and releases nightmare creatures known as abominations, Wulfric barely has time to settle into a comfortable life before King Alfred calls upon him again – this time to fight the demonic scourge before it wipes out the human race.

Abomination opens in an unassuming manner by introducing readers to the details of Alfred the Great’s efforts to save his kingdom from the Viking invasion. After about five pages of exposition, the story shifts and readers are suddenly launched into an action-packed, deliciously violent, emotional tale.

[The abomination] roared and lashed out with a tentacle that wrapped around the staff of the closest pike and pulled, bringing the pikeman along with it. Before he could retreat, the tentacle coiled around his waist and squeezed, crushing the man’s ribs. He let out a strangled, gurgling cry, muffled when another fat, wet tentacle wrapped around his face and tore his head from his neck. Blood spewed from the pikeman’s neck as the beast tossed his lifeless body aside.

Wulfric prefers a quiet life filled with simple pleasures, but his natural skill with a sword leads him down a different life path. He’s reputable for being “the man who saved King Alfred’s life and turned the tide at the Battle of Ethandun, and with it the entire war against the Norse.” A stalwart man of integrity, Wulfric’s actions as a soldier weigh heavily on his conscience. Though he’s always willing to serve his king, he never ceases to imagine the life he might have had.

But behind all the awkwardness and jitters, Wulfric recognized a spark of something in the boy’s eyes – a keen intellectual curiosity that he remembered once burning within himself as a young man, before war had made it a luxury to be swept aside.

But it’s young Indra who steals the show. She hails from an order of elite knights and is determined to slay an abomination by herself. Indra’s prowess in battle is superb, and she always exudes an attitude of fierce determination. Beneath her tough exterior, however, is a kind and moral person.

“This man has done nothing to you,” Indra said. “Let him on his way, or answer to me.”
That brought about a chuckle from the tall man, which spread rapidly to the other two, then grew into full-throated laughter. All the while Indra stood firm, steely eyed, until the three men realized that she was quite serious.

Together, Wulfric and Indra face the last vestiges of the creatures wrought from fire and brimstone. Though their story is somewhat predictable, their adventure is a satisfying page-turner.

Abomination is a breezy blend of horror and fantasy – a fun, gory, sentimental read.
Special thanks to Inkshares for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,034 reviews2,605 followers
September 4, 2015
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2015/09/04/b...

I really want to bring attention to this one. In a word, Abomination was AWESOME. It feels like I’ve been waiting for a book like this my whole life, a historical fantasy mixed with horror that puts the “dark” in Dark Ages.

The only catch? The first part of this novel, made up of the first eight chapters, is its major weakness. I don’t want this to put anyone off though, because it really is not bad. However, when compared to the rest of the book, this section had the feel of a very long drawn-out prologue; the pacing here is a bit choppy, its tone blunt and cut-and-dried, the writing style straightforward and almost pedagogical in its delivery – not unlike a textbook. That’s because the first eight chapters are foremost concerned with establishing background information and historical details. They didn’t quite mesh with the part that came after. To me, Chapter Nine felt more like the real start of the story, kicking off the main narrative which takes place approximately fifteen years after the events of the first section. Here we finally get to the meat of it, when things truly begin to take off.

The entire tone of the novel also changes. We get a lot more character-focused, with the plot centered on two key protagonists. Wulfric is a former knight, fallen far from grace, who now wanders the English countryside dressed in rags and chains. Once the greatest soldier and former confidante of King Alfred the Great, Wulfric now lives in the shadows. Fifteen years ago, he fought to rid his kingdom of a plague of monstrous beasts known as abominations, and for his troubles he was cursed with a fate worse than death.

Then there’s Indra, a fierce young warrior, determined to prove herself worthy as a knight of the Order, an elite group of monster hunters. She is ten months into her initiation trial, which she must pass to become a full-fledged paladin. To do so, she’ll have to hunt down and kill an abomination within a year. Indra means to succeed, if nothing else just to defy her arrogant and controlling father, who was against this whole idea from the start. She’ll return home with the head of an abomination, or not at all.

The difference between the first third of the novel and its later two-thirds is incredible. I was not impressed with the beginning of the story, but after this turning point, I quickly changed my mind. I loved the characters. Wulfric is great, once I got to know him – which I felt we didn’t get the chance to do in the first section. He didn’t become fully realized for me until I got to meet him again in this second life of his, no longer a knight but a lowly beggar keeping away from civilization, fearing that innocents will die as a result of his terrible curse. His painful and blood-soaked past is awful and tragic, and if there’s one thing the intro did well, it was to make readers understand why Wulfric ended up the way he did. I also really liked Indra, which wasn’t too surprising; after all, it’s rare for me to read a spec fic novel and not to be drawn to a female protag, especially one this amazingly skilled with swords. Give me a woman with a sharp blade, any day.

The writing style also improved. Gary Whitta utilizes a third person omniscient point-of-view all through the novel and the effect is much like watching events play out like a movie. Of course, Whitta is also best known for his accomplishments in the film industry as a screenwriter (he did the post-apocalyptic thriller The Book of Eli and his writing credits also include Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars Rebels, and The Walking Dead game from Telltale) so that was consistent with my expectations. I also really enjoyed the main story of Abomination, a bloody and gruesome tale of monsters. I meant what I said about waiting for a book like this to come along; I rarely get to see such a cool mix of history and horror, serious but also entertaining, and absolutely not shy about the graphic violence and grotesque descriptions of the abominations.

So if you end up picking up this one and find the writing not to your tastes, please do give it a chance to prove itself. Things really change and pick up after the first section. It was definitely necessary to get the history and background provided by the first eight chapters, but I think somehow weaving all that information subtly and evenly into the rest of the story would have made it a stronger novel. That also would have made a major plot reveal later on much less predictable. Still, aside the awkwardness of the first hundred pages or so, this book is scarily close to perfect. All things considered, I still really enjoyed Abomination and think it’s a damn good book. Worth checking out if you’re a fan of horror – especially if monster movies or stories are your thing!
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 47 books128k followers
August 2, 2015
I mean, this book gave me nightmares, which is GOOD because it has a lot of horror in it, which is the point, because it's a testament to how the writing was great. (HI GARY I KNOW YOU!) And there are Templars and history and knights and there's a kick-ass girl character, but I had a traumatizing experience when I was seven when my mom took me to see Aliens in the theater WAY too early, so creepy crawly things give me the heebie jeebies REALLY bad. What I'm trying to say is that if you want a really great horror fantasy book this is DEFINITELY great to pick up!
Profile Image for Ellen Gail.
839 reviews377 followers
February 13, 2017
There was always something new to chill the blood and shake one's faith in God. What manner of God, after all, would suffer such a blasphemy upon his earth?


Long dramatic drawn out sigh. I don't know. My expectations were definitely too high. I was expecting something truly frightening. Abomination was occasionally creepy and often violent, but never bone-chillingly horrifying.

So here we have a historic horror set in ye olde England complete with knights and Vikings and all that jazz. The main character Wulfric is cursed to become an abomination every night. Basically, he's a giant were-beetle with an appetite for murder. I thought that the whole concept of the abominations and Wulfric's curse was inventive and interesting. Where the story fell flat was in characterization. I didn't feel any connection to anyone. Wulfric & Indra didn't feel any richer as characters as the story progressed.

And what was that bullshit at the end with Wulfric suddenly being able to control his beetle form? Through some spell or something? That was not explained nearly well enough. And suddenly he fucking grows wings? That ending was some next level bullshittery.

I'm also majorly sad that this didn't scare me at all. I wanted some Halloween scares and I didn't get any. I am disappointed in you, Mr. Scary Scarab!
Profile Image for  Charlie.
477 reviews218 followers
August 1, 2015
He is England’s greatest Knight, the man who saved the life of Alfred the Great and an entire kingdom from a Viking invasion. But when he is called back into service to combat a plague of monstrous beats known as abominations, he meets a fate worse than death and is condemned to a life of anguish, solitude, and remorse.

She is a fierce young warrior, raised among an elite order of knights. Driven by a dark secret from her past, she defies her controlling father and set out on a dangerous quest to do what none before her ever have, hunt donw and kill an abomination, alone.

When a chance encounter sets these two against one another an incredible twist of fate will lead them toward a salvation they never thought possible – and prove that the power of love, mercy and forgiveness can shine a hopeful light even in history’s darkest age.

I was completely hooked within minutes of picking this up and despite intending to just initially read a sample I could not keep away and finished it in just a few sittings.

Gary Whitta has written an exciting and intimate story that has a staunchly heroic protagonist reminiscent of David Gemmell’s finest. He has teamed him with a wonderfully strong girl who kicks an absolute ton of ass but whose youth means she has much to learn about anger, resolve and revenge. These two characters and their story make up the majority of the book and it is beautifully small scale and local whilst also giving us a threat that could destroy the world, and magic that can summon foul monstrosities, create illusion, ward armour, track at great distance and more.

The battle and fight scenes are well written, fluid and easily imaginable, as is the often almost impossible task of helping us picture an ‘abomination’. I imagine Whitta trying to describe them in the early days and think he might have felt a little like John Carpenter back in 82.

Well see the dog sort of turns inside out and something bigger comes out of it. It has a bunch of tentacles or spines, some pointy bits. It’s really weird and scary. It’s…..this…..thing
What sort of thing
A big scary fuckin thing okay!! Trust me. The kids will love it!

The ‘abominations’ could have gotten very messy and lost their ability to induce fear in the reader if it were not for how skilfully they are written I’m not particularly squeamish but I was getting those sickly feelings I generally get when reading something by Nick Cutter or most recently, Peter Newman’s The Vagrant.

The story twists and turns on itself providing great surprises and some genuinely original ideas that were are a blast to explore. I am really surprised at the tightness of the writing and the pace considering it is Whitta’s first novel but he is also the writer of the very cool The Book of Eli as well as a bunch of Star Wars stuff so I’m not surprised he excels at writing this type of story.

Abomination is an immensely satisfying combination of everything we love about fantasy and horror but so rarely see together in the same book. I cannot recommend it highly enough and will definitely be keeping an eye to see what Whitta produces next. 5 Stars.

Profile Image for Jay G.
1,235 reviews464 followers
August 19, 2018
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

*I recieved a copy of this book from goodreads in exchange for my honest review*

4.5/5 Stars

After helping King Alfred the Great defeat the Norse in battle, Wulfric wishes for nothing but a simple life with his wife Cwen. It is not long until Wulfric is summoned by the King to help rid the world of a new threat. A power hungry archbishop discovered a set of ancient scrolls written in Latin that allow him to turn helpless creatures into beasts they call abominations. Along the way, Wulfric meets Indra, a young girl wishing to prove herself to her arrogant father by becoming the first female Knight of the Order, a group of ruthless monster slayers. In order to do this, Indra needs to hunt down an abomination of her own and bring the head back to her father.

This book was... a lot... it took me so long to finish because of the graphic content and attention to detail in the story. I had to put the book down multiple times to gather my thoughts and compose myself again, but I am so glad I gave this book a chance. It's the perfect blend of horror and fantasy to create an epic page turning, action packed novel. It's very character driven and it was great to see each characters backstory and why they chose the paths that they did. I really loved both Wulfric and Indra as main characters and I love the relationship they formed together. I found the idea of the abominations to be so interesting and the way the author describes them so vividly made it easy to imagine them in my head. The twists and turns were well executed and I didn't see many of them coming. I do think that the second half of the book was more entertaining, as the first section was more to give a backstory on Wulfric and how he became the man he was 15 years later. Although boring at times, it was definitely a necessary part to the book in order to better understand him. The second half of the book was where the action really took place and I would recommend pushing through the first half in order to get to the battles and gore to come.

I definitely recommend this book, it was very entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Profile Image for Denny.
34 reviews6 followers
February 20, 2015
Fantastic first novel by screenwriter Gary Whitta. Given that he's written everything from game reviews to comics to adventure games to an upcoming Star Wars film, this doesn't come as a surprise. An unconventional narrative structure, a convincing method of integrating magic into medieval history, and rich, driven characters make this an engaging read. Avoid reading descriptive reviews if you can, because unexpected turns make for a fascinating unfolding of story. I thoroughly enjoyed Abomination, and I hope Mr. Whitta finds time for future novels between screenplay projects.
407 reviews8 followers
August 7, 2017
This book is a page turner. If you enjoy science fiction you will love the non-stop action in Abomination.
The characters are well written, and the story line is easy to understand. When the point of view changes it keeps the story fresh and exciting, but best of all it is Not confusing. I easily knew which character I was reading about.
I give 4.5 and happily round up to five stars. 4.5 because there are some parts of the story were very perfectible. It didn't distract from the story and while I my have figured out one part the author created unexpected excitement in another part of the story.
Profile Image for Avalon Radys.
14 reviews5 followers
June 30, 2015
I'm not too well-versed in the fantasy or sci-fi genres, but I fell in love with this book, as it appeals to anyone who loves a good adventure. Abomination is an incredible debut novel from screenwriter Gary Whitta.The genre-blending of historical fiction and fantasy, enmeshed with elements of horror and sci-fi, carries enthralling adventures with unconventional plot lines. The story development and pacing of Abomination flows like a captivating screenplay. I hope everyone will take the time to read this book!
Profile Image for Venus Maneater.
577 reviews31 followers
January 20, 2016
This book has been compared to books by Lovecraft and GRRMartin, but it comes nowhere near those masterpieces. It lacks depth, orginality, worldbuilding and the horror it claims to contain.

Many characters feel flat as a board, the plot is boring and unsurprising....Abomination is my first dissapointment of 2016.
Profile Image for David.
2,552 reviews80 followers
May 26, 2015
Okay, so it's not a finished product. I'm reading a review copy from Netgalley. There's no paragraph breaks. The man needs a dictionary. Very badly. Words just don't mean what he thinks they mean.

I should be all over this. A supernatural thriller set in King Alfred's time? Zing! I'm all over that! But boy golly! I don't think the author's ever read a history book much less a historical novel. Maybe he's watched a History Channel Special or two. Every detail is so wrong. Is this a young adult novel? It's written at a very low level.

Clearly it's the author's first novel it's full of rookie mistakes. Everything is all much too straightforward, characterizations , plot, what have you. I gave it a good shot. Read 17% of the book. And a good dose of my time. Couldn't bare to read a titch more.
Profile Image for Todd Johnson.
2 reviews2 followers
July 7, 2015
I'm a big fan of Gary Whitta's work in other fields, but I didn't know what to expect with this book. I'm very glad I gave it a shot, though, because Abomination is a really entertaining mix of dark fantasy, historical fiction and horror. Whitta really knows how to dive into the deep end of a genre without falling prey to that genre's tropes and clichés. Abomination is heavy on story, but not at the expense of quiet character moments. I'm being deliberately vague about the details of the plot, because this is a book that's best experienced knowing as little as possible about before jumping in. Very highly recommended.
Profile Image for Nicholas Smith.
Author 89 books1,921 followers
August 24, 2015
I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up Abomination. I ended up blowing through it faster than any book in the past year. Why? Because the plot is compelling and never stops moving. The characters are awesome. I really enjoyed Wulfric and Indra. There was a bit of a dues ex feel to their connection, but I won't give any spoilers. Overall it still worked.

Gary Whitta is also a master of description. The Abominations are really unique, and it was really neat how they were all different.

Well done. I look forward to whatever Gary Whitta puts out next!
2 reviews
July 7, 2015
I found this first novel by screenwriter Gary Whitta to be an overwhelming success! The storyline is solid and diverse never letting the reader slip into complacency. I love historical novels as well as the realm of horrific fantasy; I was not let down on either front. Weaving poetic prose with a tale of black magic, adding twists and turns along the way takes true talent. Whitta has it! Abomination is a must read!
Profile Image for Athena.
240 reviews41 followers
July 17, 2017
This is what happens when screenwriters don't do their research and then go ahead and write their book anyway because they think we're all too stupid to notice the whole "I didn't do any research for this book" thing.

Welcome to the Hollywood Dark Ages that never was, not because of the magic and monsters but because of the total lack of anything actually Dark Ages in the book. Well, King Alfred & horses & swords & human blood count, I suppose, but all the rest of it is pure Hollywood Make-Believe Dark Ages complete with bland, unrealized characters, evil villains, incorruptible good guys, vaguely menacing Vikings-over-there-somewhere, a plucky heroine and lots of random bloodshed and violence.

I could've overlooked the cardboard characters, the predictable plot or the total a-history of the thing, any one of those things by themselves, but when they're all piled together in a big steaming heap of "an idea he couldn't sell as a movie so he wrote a book about it," well, not just No but Hell, No!

Don't waste your time on this book, assuredly don't waste any money.

Just a few of the random bits that threw me out of the book each and every time:
Profile Image for Nina Ann.
7 reviews2 followers
August 25, 2015
I received this book through a Goodreads/Inkshares Giveaway.
I have some conflicting feelings when it comes to rating this book. First of all, Whitta’s writing style is completely refreshing. I read the whole thing in one sitting, partly because I was on a plane, but also because it read as easily as watching a film, without being too simplistic.
Unfortunately, the cinematic style of this novel was also a downside. Like many SF/action films, I knew what the “plot twist” was going to be and how the book was going to end before I was finished with even a fifth of the book. There were absolutely no surprises. As a result, I truly enjoyed the story because it was fun to imagine the world and the abominations, but it didn’t feel like anything I hadn’t experienced before. That might work for a 1.5-2 hour film, but it just doesn’t fly for a 350 page novel.
What this book really has going for it is the action and the characters. Like many other readers, I was impressed with the descriptions of the abominations. I also truly liked the characters (I prefer likable, conflicted characters to the increasingly popular despicable characters with no redeeming qualities.) Unfortunately, the majority of the book seemed to just… cover ground. It made me feel really removed from the experience of the story and evoked almost no emotion in me. Of course, it’s fine for an action novel to have low periods, but I would have liked Whitta to spend that time better developing his characters and convincing me of the reality of their circumstances.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was a great “airplane read.” Additionally, I feel compelled to think more highly of Whitta since this is his first novel, (and the fact that I won the book rather than having to pay for it helps.) If Whitta writes another book, I will absolutely read it and I look forward to seeing how he grows as a novelist.
*Side note: This novel is physically gorgeous. The cover just begs to be touched and displayed!
**Second side note: This would make an awesome film. Attention Zach Snyder?
Profile Image for J.-F. Dubeau.
Author 7 books322 followers
August 12, 2015
Whitta's roots as a screenwriter shine through in the pacing of this excellent book. There is an economy of words and paragraphs where nothing is wasted on fluff. As you'd expect from a film, there are a lot of predictable stereotypes and tropes, both in story beats and characters, however Whitta uses these to his advantage, hiding his more important secrets and impactful twists behind the elements we think we can see coming a mile aways.

Abomination is one of those books that is both formidable and despicable because it leaves you hungry for more. It's less a novel and more a prelude. Considering how fast one devours the story, we're left feeling like there should be two more acts to go through before the end. There's a sequel-shaped hole dug in after the words 'the end' that I can't wait to see filled.

My only real complaint is that I wanted more out of the villains. While the main characters themselves have a complex enough story to tell, I expected more depth from the antagonists. Then again, that's what sequels are for.
Profile Image for J.N. Tomczak.
Author 7 books131 followers
June 18, 2015
Just finished reading Abomination. I really enjoyed it, but most of all I really loved the author's writing style. Even for historical fiction, it was really easy to understand. I thought it well done. Also, the characters. I really loved Wulfric and the King and their war-born friendship. And I loved the fight scenes. I thought they were well executed. All in all, a great read!
Profile Image for David Walsh.
Author 136 books55 followers
July 29, 2015
Solid read and I enjoyed the main characters enough. Would have been nice to get into Wulfric's head a bit more, that way some of the plot turns would have been a bit more engaging.
Profile Image for Courtney Rinaldi.
30 reviews1 follower
February 21, 2019
Bloody brilliant...and terrifying at times. I didn’t love the ending, it felt too abrupt and happy for the twisted gore of this book (and I usually long for happy endings). Gary Whitta could have written for lifetimes about these characters! Give us a sequel!
Profile Image for Laura.
468 reviews21 followers
May 29, 2017
What did it matter if the threat was imagined? During the darkest days of the scourge, the Order had been a symbol of hope for a populace living in fear. The scourge might be gone, but the need for symbols remained. People still needed something to fear, for that kept them loyal and dutiful. They needed hope, for that kept them productive. They still needed someone better than themselves to look up to and respect. And young men still needed a place to come and be trained to fight in service of a higher cause.

The year is 903 AD, and abominations have become the stuff of myths and legends (for the most part). Tales to tell children to scare them into behaving. 15 years before though, things were much different, and that is where Abomination begins. In 888 A.D. the Danes have invaded England. They're brutal, skilled fighters who drive the English back to Wessex. King Alfred reaches an uneasy truce with the Norse leader Guthrum, but rumor has it that he is on his deathbed. Alfred worries that his heir will not honor the truce, and will hunt the English within Wessex. Alfred and his advisors are worried, tense, and looking for any advantage in the uncertain times to come. Into this scene comes a bishop named Aethelred. One of his pages found ancient scrolls within the ruins of London that contain mystical incantations. Aethelred is convinced that this ancient magic is the answer England needs, a font of power he is convinced God has given him.

It turns out that the magic is a horrific sort of necromancy. Alfred realizes, too late, the terrible repercussions of Aethelred's experiments. He tries, unsuccessfully, to stop the bishop. When that fails, he calls on his old friend and knight, Wulfric to summon a group of hardened warriors to hunt down and kill the bishop and his horde of abominations. "From his own hard-won experience, he knew that true courage was not the absence of fear but doing what must be done in the often-paralyzing presence of it."

Fast forward back to 903 AD, and Wulfric's order which was formed to rid the land of abominations has for the most part succeeded. There are only a few remaining. The order is a small fragment of its former glory, lacking funding or committed members. Indra is determined to find escape from her domineering father in what remains of the order though. To that end, she must hunt down and kill an abomination during her year long Trial in order to prove herself. She's skilled, passionate, obstinate, but has a kind heart. "These were dire times, and most folk had far too many troubles of their own to worry about others. But then, wasn't that when simple acts of selflessness were needed most? As she saw it, it was easy to give of oneself when it cost little or nothing to do so. It was in times like these, when generosity meant sacrifice, that one's true character was tested and revealed."

Bottom line: There is *much* more to the story line then the few bread crumbs I threw out in my review. I don't want to spoil any of it for future readers. Be warned that the book is gruesome, has horrific elements, and has the potential to cause nightmares. There are also themes of guilt, despair, and self-loathing. These forces can twist people into mere shadows of who they used to be. The back blurb states that "the power of love, mercy, and forgiveness can shine a hopeful light even in history's darkest age." Love and forgiveness can also combat inner demons--both real magical ones, and self-imposed psychotic demons. I really enjoyed this book, and devoured it in just over 3 days. Given 4 stars or a rating of Excellent. Definitely recommended!
Profile Image for Sara J. (kefuwa).
514 reviews43 followers
December 27, 2015
Hmmm... I am not quite sure what it is about this story... but I think I quite enjoyed it. Maybe it's because I'm playing Dragon Age and Indra just acts like fem-Hawke would it my head? Or maybe the first 10% of the story it's just shades of Diablo (the game)? Or maybe it just reminds me of Ladyhawke (haha just not the way you think)? Tropes much?

Well whatever it is/was, it was done well enough that I enjoyed reading it and getting to the (rather tidy and convenient but somehow that didn't really make me twitch) end.

Maybe I just found myself enamoured with Wulfric's martyrlike complex.

Profile Image for Melissa Quezado.
252 reviews32 followers
May 30, 2018
Demorei pra ler mas, valeu a pena. A leitura prende bem a atenção, bem tensa mesmo, mas com um final bem clichê. Mas vale!
Profile Image for Chernz.
87 reviews2 followers
December 8, 2015
Abomination has one of the most interesting blurbs I've read proudly displayed on its back cover. "Game of Thrones by way of H.P. Lovecraft," one reviewer claims but I guess by now the phrase "something something Game of Thrones something something" should really just send up a red flag on my radar. First the Dinosaur Lords and now Abomination have both been compared to G.R.R.M's epic fantasy series this year and both have fallen painfully short of the mark. Only maybe that's understating it a bit: both haven't even gotten within a hundred miles of the mark.

On the surface Abomination offers what seems like an interesting new take on alternate medieval history. England is beset by Norse invaders and steadily losing ground to their advances, entire villages and towns being overrun by the encroaching army. Things look grim until an English bishop finds a long buried set of scrolls that contain ancient incantations with the power to turn animals and men into terrible nightmare creatures that collectively come to become called 'abominations.' But the bishop's control over these fiends is sketchy at best and his cruel experiments on humans cause King Alfred to order him stopped and detained. Of course the bishop is loathe to part with his newly accrued power and his growing army of abominations and so the King orders his closest friend and most trusted knight Wulfric to hunt him down and stop him. Wulfric's confrontation with the bishop doesn't exactly end as planned and Wulfric comes away from it with a terrible and seemingly incurable curse, and his struggle with it is the true heart of the novel.

Abomination is divided into two sections- a 'prologue' which recounts how Wulfric came to be cursed and introduces us to the origin of the abominations, and then a jump in time to 15 years later where the bulk of the story takes place. Although the main story didn't wow me I have a lot more issues with the prologue which is 116 pages long and incredibly dry. It felt a little like reading a history text book with long sections dropped in about characters' pasts and the history of the world, while it simultaneously skimmed over long battle sequences and wars. The dialogue in this section is also particularly poor (what little of it there is) and I had to laugh a couple of times at how contrived everything sounded. Take these lines for example: "A few nights ago you told me of another spell in the scrolls you had begun to translate." It took a moment for Cuthbert to recall the conversation. "Oh! You mean the scrying?" I guess people can scry now? Randomly? Out of the blue? And despite this being a new and exciting skill, they had forgotten about it until now? Stuff like this just reads like amateur hour to me. It feels fake and lazy.

The remaining two hundred pages are a little better but not much. Thankfully we drop the kind of top-down view of the story and focus in a lot more on Wulfric and Indra (a young swordswoman whose mission it is to find and kill abominations). This was a lot more tolerable because it felt a lot more personal but the writing was still average if not poor and some things just plain grated. Like Indra's hawk which can communicate when it wants her to follow him by flying a few feet then stopping (we're seriously still writing that trope into stories that aren't Disney?) or fighting sequences that felt rushed and disjointed. For a 300 page long book nothing momentous seems to really happen until the end and when the resolution does finally come it makes almost no sense whatsoever. I hesitate to use the term deus-ex-machina for how the ending to the curse resolves but I shouldn't because that's ultimately what it is. A giant nonsensical conclusion that seemed easy as all hell. Seriously? That was all it took?!

I also wish Abomination had been a lot scarier. I was in the mood for something more horror-esque than I normally read and while there's violence and gore aplenty here there was nothing that genuinely chilled. And I say this knowing fully well that I am NOT a big horror fan. I get creeped out fairly easily but not here: part of the problem was that there wasn't any suspense building up to anything. There wasn't that oppressive 'oh shit' feeling that good horror has as you can slowly sense things going to hell one inch at a time. Which is a shame because that's what I wanted and I think I might have been able to forgive Abomination a lot of its other flaws if it actually managed to spook me. As it stands though, I'm going to have to keep looking for another medieval alternate history with a horror twist to it because Abomination wasn't it.

Profile Image for David Agranoff.
Author 23 books135 followers
June 18, 2016

I was very interested in this book from the first moment I knew it existed. Book of Eli is a favorite of mine, and what I considered to be a underrated classic in one of my favorite genre of story post apocalyptic. That movie was excellently structured and you could just tell it have a great script as it's backbone. I was very excited when I heard he had gotten the gig for writing Rogue One the first stand alone Star Wars film. I know it's a little thing but his involement with a never produced film based on Journey to the West meant a alot to me. Over looked in our culture Journey to the West is one of the most important fantasy novels ever written. (and by the way my dark fantasy novel Hunting the Moon Tribe has many influences and connects to JTTW)

So Whitta had my interest as Book of Eli, and when I read the concept it just several books in my To Be Read pile. Coming off having read the experimental narrative of Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones, and the bloated underedited Fireman by Joe Hill...Abomination was a joy to read. I don't mean this was knock but complement, Abomination has a very simple straight forward no non-sense way of telling it's story. This is great for several reason first of which is it is quick read and despite it's very dark tone could be appealing to YA and adult markets. You can feel Whitta's cinematic language on most pages and it plays very well as movie in the reader's head.

Abomination is a dark fantasy novel that skips a world like middle earth or Narnia for England of the dark ages. It is a really interesting time to set a monster novel. In the wake of the Roman empire europe was a mess and the King of the time Alfred had defended England from probably a dozen norse invasions. What if in a misguided attempt to fight off this relentless attack the king's spiritual leaders accidentally unleash monsters of Lovecraftian unexplainable vile-ness. With elements of high fantasy, historical fiction and straight brutal monster horror Abomination is high concept awesome-ness.

One of the strengths of the book is the two lead characters A young warrior named Indra and a disgraced Knight turned homeless begger named Wulric. These are two great characters, who in a narrative sense work together like peanut butter and Chocolate. Indra is a young fierce warrior, Wulfric is a once heoric figure, now dealing with having lost everything to the monsters he once fought, that now hide inside him.

Sometimes Screenwriters coming to this format over the the telling, not showing because they are not used to having the freedom of prose. Not a problem here. If anything is a weakness some of the back story with the evil bishop character and his magical ability could have used some back story or context. There is a twist towards the end that I don't think will surprise anyone but I also Whitta was right to not hide it.

Whitta published through Inkshares, which is basically a publishing kickstarter. It seems Abomination is Inkshares greatest success. I am glad it worked for him and hope he returns to Inkshares with more novels. Since my main publisher does my horror novels, and was not interested in my Science Fiction I tried Inkshares with crazy Dirty Dozen meets Phil K. Dick novel Goddamn Killing Machines. Despite really pushing to my social media I could not sell the concept of the pre-order to my readers. So it didn't work for me.

That said I love the idea of Inkshares and the fact that it worked enough to get this story infront of my eyes is reason enough to celebrate it. Fans of Dark Fantasy and Lovecraftian beasties should check this out for sure.

Profile Image for Casey.
734 reviews
November 17, 2017
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway sponsored by Inkshares.

I feel kind of bad about my rating, as I think the author has potential and the story is engaging, but my biggest peeve was the absent worldbuilding. The writing is average, but meant to not dwell on too much detail.

Abomination takes place in the Dark Ages, somewhere near 800-850 AD in England. King Alfred of Wessex has been battling the Danes for years, and hopes that peace is soon in the future.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Aethelred, has been experimenting with magical texts and invites Alfred over for a show. Alfred learns Aethelred has been transforming animals into horrifying abominations, violent creatures that spit acid and can easily kill a man. Aethelred thinks they can be used to attack the Danes, but Alfred isn't having any of it.

Aethelred keeps going anyway. He turns a man into an abomination, and the creature literally sheds the skin of the human. Aethelred goes rogue and runs off with a few disciples and a band of evil abominations.

Alfred calls on his old friend, and knight, Wulfric, along with another knight Edgard. The two are tasked with hunting down Aethelred and his enemies. When they reach Aethelred, he puts a horrible curse on Wulfric.

The rest of the book details how Wulfric deals with the curse, and his meeting with Indra, a young female who wants to be a knight. It's a mix of horror and historical fantasy, although light on the history. There were parts when I was grimacing, but there's no scene that should be over the top for most readers.

My main issue, as noted previously, was the lack of historical details in the text. It's one thing to modernize the language so it's readable and the characters more relateable, but it's another thing to just throw away all the history and worldbuilding.

There's very little history in the story. I don't need the story to be an overburdened tome, but a light touch of worldbuilding is needed to set the scene. Whitta should have just set this in an alternate universe.

The hunt for Aethelred was far too short and would have been a great place to throw in some nice historical details about how these military-like units operated in this time period.

The main characters, Wulfric and Indra, never grew on me. I didn't dislike them, but I think there weren't enough opportunities to grow their characters. I got the sense the story was being fast-forwarded all the time.

The minor characters didn't have much characterization either. There's a dearth of minor characters, but considering the setting of the second part, it makes sense.

The first part where Wulfric and Edgard are hunting Aethelred makes the story seem to be a grand setup, but the second part focuses in on Wulfric and Indra so much it gets a little boring. I wanted them to at least find a creek or something, switch up the background!

Indra's relationship with Edgard seemed very one-dimensional to me. Sure, people can hate their dads, but I think those relationships can be very complex emotionally regardless.

The ending was a bit sappy for me, but maybe I'm just more a cynical sort. The only thing I can think is that if Whitta is used to movie scripts, the dress and setting is going to be created in detail by other people on the film, so maybe that's way it was so lacking, as he was just interested in writing the story without all the extras.
Profile Image for Yzabel Ginsberg.
Author 3 books102 followers
July 24, 2015
[I received an ARC through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A somewhat entertaining read with good ideas and a somber atmosphere, oozing despair, but also bits of hope at times. Unfortunately, I found it a bit too dry when it came to the characters and their actions, "telling" more than "showing" how they were, acted and felt.

The premise was interesting: a dark, dark age, with King Alfred trying to protect his kingdom against the invader, so full of despair that he ends up resorting to one man and the latter's inhuman means of winning. Obviously, that sorcery turns sour, and the king has to send Wulfric, his best knight and friend, on the hunt for former Archbishop Aethelred and his army of abominations. My opinions on that part were mixed: I thought the hunt went on too quickly, somehow. On the other hand, it wasn't the main focus of the story, or rather, it was only its first focus, so it's a good thing that it didn't take half the book either to be sorted.

The abominations, the sorcery that gave birth to them, were truly horrific, and I had no trouble picturing them, imagining the horror they must've been for the characters. These creatures had a sad side, too, being twisted without any possibility to fight back nor to revert to their original selves.
Historical accuracy wasn't always this book's forte. At times I could suspend my disbelief; at others, not at all (would anyone get rid of a dagger in a time where metal was quite precious, all the more with enemies being so close?). This happened when it came to language as well, with some names being really strange for that place and time (Indra...). As a story with action, it was alright, but let's not too closely at the historical side here.

While the characters had to face challenges and trials that had some nicely ambiguous sides (Edgard's motives were not pure, but neither were they completely evil), I didn't really feel any connection with them. The revelations they had to come to terms with and the introspection needed from them seemed at times off-pace, at odds with other aspects of the story. I could also guess from the beginning what the twist about Indra would be, which was a bit disappointing: it couldn't be kept a mystery from me, so when it was officially revealed, it just fell flat. (Indra herself was interesting, though, for the way she wanted to decide for herself, live the life she had chosen, not caring about whether being a woman would bar her from figthing, and also her decision to give a chance to the Beast.)

Conclusion: good ideas and vivid descriptions of the abominations, but not enough in terms of character strength to hold my attention.
Profile Image for Aparajitabasu.
666 reviews75 followers
December 3, 2015
Original Link to the review at my blog Le' Grande Codex - here


Stuff of nightmares this book but nothing short of brilliant for Gary Whitta's 'Abomination'. He was the screenwriter of 'The Book of Eli' and worked with many of the Star Wars and Walking Dead material. So we expected something good but we got something majestic. Clearly mixing history with the horror, Abomination is all darkness and alluring and not all shy of graphic violence and jarring details that comes with the territory.

Fiercest of the fierce, warriors of Albert the Great's era, Wulfric paired with a young girl Indra, master of her weapons, but still in need of learning control. Opposites in every way but similarly similar in mysteriously ways. The first, the mightiest warrior of his era but dealt the worst hand of fate when he was cursed to be a malformed, grotesque abomination he so staunchly hunted by orders of his King. Reduced to the life of a beggar to pay for his sins and keep humanity safe from himself.

While Indra eager and very very stubborn goes against her controlling father to prove that women can also do what men can. Her mission to kill an Abomination by herself and attain the privilege of being a part of the order. She may be a master swords-woman, with a kind and generous soul but she has much to learn in terms of anger, revenge and the line that holds it all apart. With two such fulfilling characters, Whitta adds layers of mystery, of surprise, the thrill of the unknown and magic, to strengthen the armor, to scry a location but most of all its ragged use that brought those creepy, twitted, scarred monstrosities to behold.

The plot is well written and well layered, twisting in on itself and surprising us with revelations at opportune moments. All the while striking fear to our very core with its dark and evil atmosphere and the gross description of said Abominations. Gary Whitta skillfully layers out a narrative that captures our attention from the beginning with its astounding mix of history, of fantasy and turning us squeamish at the horror. With a well written plot Whitta's words take us back to the dark ages and keeps us spell bound and rapt till the end.

"A wicked mix of history and the paranormal. Keeps us spellbound till the end"
Profile Image for Daniel.
609 reviews8 followers
December 10, 2017
For a first time novel, this was a fantastic effort. This guy wrote the screenplay for The Book Of Eli, one of my favorite movies. This is the tale of Wulfric, a warrior who served Alfred the Great and became his good friend, having saved his life. After serving the king, Wulfric was knighted and given a parcel of land and met a wonderful woman who kept him in line. Her name was Cwen. The couple were blessed with a newborn child when the king called upon his old friend to come help him yet again. Against his wishes and the furious anger of his wife, Wulfric went to do his duty. He gets embroiled in a treacherous and black magic filled plot where a priest who has discovered a spellbook creates creatures from normal animals, to use as beasts to fight the Norse and Saxons, and whoever else seeks to harm England. This of course goes terribly wrong and these creatures kill anything in their path and start across the landscape. The Order, of which Wulfric is the main man, hunts these creatures down over a lengthy campaign and eventually follows the trail back to the wicked priest who started it all. Wulfric strikes him down but is left with a beetle shaped mark upon his chest, cursed for all his days by this wicked magic. Wulfric falls prey to the curse and turns into an abomination, just as the creatures the Order sought out and killed. He is the last of these creatures and terrorizes the land for many years until he has a blacksmith build a chain for him to carry and secure himself to solid object when he turns. His murdering and the swath of destruction has overcome him and he just wants to die, but the curse brings him back, no matter how much he is wounded as the beast. He meets a young lady who saves his life from some ruffians and they begin to travel together and she alerts him that she is trying to become the first female member of the Order, but her trials involve slaying an abomination....alone. It eventually comes out that Wulfric is the last of these beasts and her father comes to get her, and he is Edward, Wulfric's oldest friend. He raised the girl and taught her how to fight. The story opens up from here and I don't want to spoil it, but it ends very well and in a unique way.
This one was a joy to read! I really like the style here and though there are few characters, they are fleshed out very well. Great job!

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