lunes, 16 de abril de 2012

Seed by Rob Ziegler

(Disclaimer: English is my second language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

Lately, Night Shade has been publishing a good number of very interesting first novels in the New Voices program. Books like Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht, Soft Apocalypse by Wil McIntosh and God's War by Kameron Hurley have been very well received and even nominated for various awards. Among them, Seed by Rob Ziegler has been one of the most talked about and one the most acclaimed. And for good reasons, in my opinion.

Seed has been frequently compared to The Windup Girl and there certainly are some close similarities. Both Bacigalupi's and Ziegler's novels qualify in the biopunk subgenre. Evil megacorporations, check. Biotechnology, check. Global warming, twisted characters, dystopian setting; check, check, check. But the action in Seed takes place in a future USA instead of the more exotic Thailand of The Windup Girl and the plot, though interesting, is less compelling.

In Seed we follow several different points of view: the scavenger Brood (and his brother Pollo), the rogue geneticist Pihadassa, agent Sienna Doss... But the most interesting "character", in my opinion, is Satori, the living city-slash-corporation-slash-demigod around which all the action revolves. Satori contols the food, the government, and almost everything in fact. Seed is the story of how this control may be coming to an end.

There is much to like in Seed. The world-building is really good, the characters are believable and the plot is (mostly) very interesting. The tone of the book is also very adequate for the story. I loved the sense of impeding doom, of unstable balance that can be broken at any moment. The (bio)technology was very well though-out and perfectly integrated in the plot. And I cannot fail to mention that the cover of the novel is just beautiful. 

The book, however, is not without its flaws. The pace is very uneven. Some parts were too slow and, several times, I found myself wanting to skip the Brood chapters to get to the ones happening in Satori. The actions scenes were sometimes confusing, also, and I had to re-read entire pages more than once to try to get what was going on (probably my fault, though). This made the reading experience not as smooth as it would be desirable and I never felt completely immersed in the story. 

All in all, Seed is a very good first novel and Rob Ziegler is an author I will be closely following in the future. If he manages to sort out the pace problems, his next novel could be as big a hit as The Windup Girl.        

(You can also read this review in Spanish/También puedes leer esta reseña en español)

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