Review: Seed Seeker
A few generations ago, the sentient Ship found the planet Home, and seeded a human colony there. Ship promised to return one day to check up on their progress after it finds more planets to colonize.
Now Ship has returned to Home, and the people there aren’t sure they want it to come back.
There are two different groups of people living on Home, as represented by their PoV narrators. There are the ‘dome dwellers’ who remain at the initial settlement and live off the technology and supplies that Ship provided when they first arrived. Safrah is one of the four young adults who still live there, helping to raise the children grown from the mechanical wombs; all older adults have died. They consider themselves ‘true humans’ because they haven’t integrated with the alien biology of the planet. However, the majority of the population moved away from the first settlement, and now live along the river, including the young woman Bian. Unlike the dome dwellers who live among deteriorating technology, the agrarian river people are thriving and growing.
The characters, particularly the main PoV characters are an interesting assortment of people, with their problems, wants, and fears. The switches between PoV was smooth and easy to follow. The cultures of the dome dwellers and the outsiders was sparsely drawn, but was well enough done to not overwhelm a YA audience with too much information.
On first glimpse the concept of SEED SEEKER (Amazon) is really interesting. And the first quarter of the book sets up the story nicely. But then niggling problems became apparent, and by three-quarters of the way through they became full-blown annoyances.
A good portion of important information that affects character choices and behavior isn’t given sufficient foreshadowing; it’s not explained until we’re in-the-moment, which makes the resolutions feel contrived. For example, the dome dwelling children are too afraid ever go outside. However, near the end of the novel we learn that one of them has been sneaking out on increasing forays for the past several months… which conveniently helps the river people gain entrance to the domes they would otherwise be lost in.
The prose could have been more fluid, and as a result it slowed the pace, making the book almost tedious to read. The dialogue was particularly awkward, mostly because the characters provide information that was hard for me to believe real people would share. The creative naming convention, especially when referring to people who don’t have a direct bearing on the plot, cluttered the narrative unnecessarily.
The most important of these problems is the eventual realization of the contrived plot. Bian and Safrah spend the entire novel afraid. Afraid of their own lives. Afraid of the other community’s culture. Afraid of Ship’s potential ‘judgment’ on the colony. Afraid of what’s going to happen. Fortunately they stumble forward in their lives despite this fear—even if it’s not clear why they’re afraid of everything around them. It got overbearing at times, because their fear and fear-based actions were important to the plot’s forward momentum…which meant the momentum was slow and stilted.
Despite the interesting premise, the execution lacked any real strength. YA readers who really enjoy science fiction may likely enjoy this book for the themes of colonization, quasi-religious judgment, technology vs pastoral, opposing cultures, and a sort of “first contact” with Ship. However, others with a passing interest in Science Fiction may find it dull.
- Recommended Age: 12+
- Language: None
- Violence: Brief scene near the end, and not particularly graphic
- Sex: Several of the characters have romantic intentions which lead to marriage, including one same-sex couple who must overcome cultural obstacles