Ash – I finished it (and it nearly finished me)
Scroll down my pages and you will see that I was reading James Herbert’s Ash. Having been a James Herbert fan since my teenage years I had held back reading Ash for many, many months – mainly because Mr Herbert sadly passed away not long after publication and I knew that this was the last of his books I would ever get to read.
The book started with great potential and I really liked the plot threads that seemed to be developing. The central character had featured in two previous novels and I always enjoy when a familiar face is re-introduced. I made a point to re-read Haunted (where the titular David Ash was first introduced) before turning to Ash so I would be fresh on the character’s back story.
Sadly about half way through this book it all started to go wrong. I appreciate that horror stories can be prone to dramatic excesses for the sake of a plot device, however, this was off the wall. Translucent children, spawn of Hitler, a secret royal baby, incestuous millionaire siblings – any one of these would defy credibility in most books – to chuck them all in to a single novel makes a farce. Oh, forgot to mention Lord Lucan alive and well and hiding in a remote Scottish castle.
I wondered if Mr Herbert’s editor was just so relieved to finally get a manuscript (there had been a significant gap between Ash and the previous novel) that the thought of further delays while edits were made was just too horrific to contemplate?
I started Ash in April, this review will go live in June. It did not take me 3 months to get to the end of a 400 page book, it has taken me 3 months to research lots of new words that I could use to explain to friends just how terrible Ash is. It really is awful. Abysmal. Dire. This could well be the worst book I have read since High School (20+ years ago).
I started blogging so that I could share news of books I enjoyed – I had not expected that I would also use these pages as a vehicle to tell people to avoid a story by one of my favourite authors.
Grab this book – put it somewhere safe, ideally out of the reach of others. If you want to read a James Herbert novel then I recommend The Magic Cottage or The Rats.