"A room without books is like a body without a soul." - Marcus Tullius Cicero

Friday, 30 November 2012

Harbinger by David J. Bright

A thick fog has descended on the small, quiet town of Rowley. This is no ordinary fog, however, and no matter how hard the inhabitants try, they cannot leave town. With the fog thickening rapidly and urged on by the mysterious murky cloud, the towns folks’ hate and anger bubbles to the surface. Not only do they have to be afraid of what each of their neighbours are now capable of, but also of the dark deadly monster lurking within the sinister grey shroud...

Harbinger is almost a psychological study of what might happen to a small town when long-standing hate, conflicts and jealousies are brought to the surface, wreaking havoc in a town and turning its once good-natured inhabitants against each other.

The novel started out strongly and the first chapter was brilliant; it hooked me and left me eager to read more. It opens with a man venturing outside to embark upon his daily jog when he notices an unusual amount of ominous fog has settled over the town. The tension builds slowly, and it is a very intense and exciting prologue. After the opening, however, I found the plot to be rather slow and it doesn’t pick up again until about the midway mark, about 200 pages through the novel.

Harbinger is overall very well written, with the exception of spelling and grammar errors on most pages, but these would be down to editing rather than Bright’s talent as a writer - nonetheless I found them annoying. The dialogue is a little forced and awkward at times, especially where the central character - Ben - is concerned.
The horror aspect is enjoyable and has plenty of gore to satisfy fans of the genre. However, on top of the high level of terror and blood involved, Harbinger also contains a facet which I rarely enjoy in horror novels - romance. I really disliked this aspect of the book, and although I can appreciate that it was important to the plot, it ruined the novel for me. The romantic aspect felt incredibly forced and unrealistic - Ben and his long time ‘friend’ Elise go from constantly assuring their parents that they are ‘just friends’ to not being able to refrain from declaring their love for one another every few minutes, which was irritating as well as cheesy.
In conclusion, for a debut novel from a 22 year old, Harbinger is a success. Bright clearly has oodles of writing skill and I think this is a novel that a lot of horror enthusiasts will enjoy. It is well written and has a very unique and interesting premise that forces you to consider the condition of mankind - with a strong message that hate and jealousy have sufficient power to destroy people, perhaps even more so than the monstrous Harbinger itself, and I appreciated this added depth. I would have really liked this book if it wasn’t for the contrived and cringe-worthy ‘romance’ between Ben and Elise, plus the fact that the conclusion fell a little short for me. Other than these two gripes, Harbinger is worth a look.
Rating: 6/10


  1. Sounds good, I'll have to check out this author's skill (seeing as he has oodles!).
    Great review.

    1. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Oodles is a great word!