The One You Feed written by James Drummond is a YA horror story that takes place in Silver Falls, OR. The town has fallen under hardship since the local plant shut down, and the neighboring Native American Reservation doesn’t bare the town any good will either. Though the story is told from the points of view of many of the town folk, it centers mainly on a high school student named Toby Hoffman. Toby is having a lot of problems. His mother was killed in a car and his father (the town Sheriff) is concerned that his grades are going down. On top of this, he and his best friend Nick get hustled daily by the star of the high school football team.
Then something horrifying starts to stalk the people of Silver Falls. Livestock and animals are found mutilated horribly… and then, a farmer is found dead. Nobody knows what is doing it, but whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to be natural.
I used to read a lot of YA Horror when I was a kid. RL Stein, Christopher Pike, all the staples of the time and I can safely say that this story is just as good as those books. Drummond does a good job of pulling you into his world with a great and bloody opening, and his descriptions of the scenes that our characters come across is definitely not the tired “blood was spattered everywhere” descriptions you normally get.
As well, the twist on how the creature gets out of its curse to exact revenge on the native population was so clever I was greatly impressed. I had never seen a writer do something like that before and it made me excited to see where the story went.
The best is the characterization of the Native Americans. I really appreciated how he showed that they are people, too. People who can make mistakes, even when they are trying to do good. Uncle Bimisi was my favorite character. I love that he thought he was doing something good for his people, and that he could admit that he had made a mistake and was willing to do what it took to make it right. Too often natives are depicted as perfect, almost holy people and it was refreshing to see Bimisi shown as a human.
Though Drummond has an engaging story there are certain aspects to his writing style that I feel need to be polished. I believe he could have taken more time to set up the school bully and how he has made our main characters’ lives a living hell.
I also would have liked to see the four boys hang out and be friends before things started to fall apart. We are told that the four are friends, but we are not shown it, especially in the case of Nick and Toby. It also would have been nice to see the four boys play a game of tabletop RPG since their knowledge of the creatures in the Monster Manual was such a big part of the story.
Overall, Drummond has a wonderful story filled with the right blend of logic and mythology. None of the characters give me the “mary sue” vibe and all of our main cast have personal problems that they need to overcome in order to see the story through to the end. Watching their development was a big part of reading this story and I think with a little bit of tightening and refinement, this would be a truly excellent read.
Three and a half out of Five Stars.
Reviewed by Kat Rocha of 01Publishing.com