Title: The Sowing
Series: The Seeds Trilogy, Book One
Author: K. Makansi
Publisher: Layla Dog Press
Publication date: August 19th 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
From the publisher—
Remy Alexander was born into the elite meritocracy of the Okarian Sector. From an early age, she and her friends were programmed for intellectual and physical superiority through specialized dietary regimes administered by the Okarian Agricultural Consortium. But when her older sister Tai was murdered in a brutal classroom massacre, her parents began to suspect foul play. They fled the Sector, taking their surviving daughter underground to join the nascent Resistance movement. But now, three years later, Remy’s former schoolgirl crush, Valerian Orleán, is put in charge of hunting and destroying the Resistance. As Remy and her friends race to unravel the mystery behind her sister’s murder, Vale is haunted by the memory of his friendship with Remy and is determined to find out why she disappeared. As the Resistance begins to fight back against the Sector, and Vale and Remy search for the answers to their own questions, the two are set on a collision course that could bring everyone together—or tear everything apart.
The dynamics of conflicting feelings are really at the heart of The Sowing, especially with regards to the characters’ feelings towards each other but they’re also integral to the multiple plot lines taking place within the story. Confusion runs high and while, as a reader I found myself often confused, that’s also part of what drove me on.
I really connected with the players, especially Remy, Soren and Vale, and sympathized with the way they were at odds and yet drawn together. It must be very difficult to learn that much of what—and who—you’ve believed in your whole life, including friends and family, is just a facade and it’s hardly surprising that animosity and distrust come to the fore. Even parents come under suspicion and, if you can’t trust your own parents, who can you trust?
A murder mystery opens the story and that, in itself, is unusual for dystopian fiction. Certainly death is no stranger in this genre but it’s not usually in the guise of a case that cries out for solving. Remy’s personality has been shaped by the massacre in which her sister died and it’s no wonder that Tai’s death looms ever large in Remy’s mind, especially when the Consortium ramps up the hunt for the Resistance.
The potential dangers of genetically modified food have been used as a plot device in dystopian and/or post-apocalyptic fiction before but the authors give it a special twist here by making it the source of the Consortium’s manipulation of the people. I really enjoyed this fresh theme and also appreciated the ease I found in understanding the biological aspects thanks to clear explanations.
I do think worldbuilding is not as thorough as it could be but, hopefully, some of my questions will be answered in the next book (and, really, I don’t want ALL the answers right away). I don’t know when The Reaping is due to be released but it’s already on my wish list 😉
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2014.
About the Authors
K. Makansi is the pen name for the writing triumvirate consisting of Amira, Elena, and Kristina Makansi. Two sisters and their mother, the three women developed a passionate interest in science fiction as a way to write about issues of food sovereignty and food justice. Elena is pursuing a degree in environmental studies at Oberlin College in Ohio, and will graduate in May of 2014. Amira was a history student at the University of Chicago whose day job working in the cellar of a winery (and constantly being splattered with wine) keeps her busy when she’s not writing. And Kristy owns and operates Blank Slate Press, an independent publishing company based out of St. Louis, and is a partner at Treehouse Publishing Group, a company providing editorial and design services to aspiring authors. When not writing or reading, the three can be found having animated discussions around the dinner table, sharing a good bottle of wine, or taking long walks in the park eagerly plotting out their next book.
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