The Sowing – a review.

I recently finished reading an Advance Review Copy (ARC for short) of a Sci-Fi novel written by a trio of authors, one of whom I discovered on Twitter.  Before I begin my review, I feel the need to disclose a couple of things:–

First, Amira Makansi was kind enough to review my novel “Beltamar’s War” on her blog {you can find her review here}.  I enjoyed Amira’s review so much that I offered to review her novel.  {Tit-for-Tat… oh no, I won’t play that.}

Second, I am biased.  Not in favor of Amira, but against novels written by more than a single author.  You see I’ve always held that writing is an art, and art is the creation of an artist, not a committee.  Stacked atop that bias is my previous experience with such works, which I won’t name but which live in infamy in my memory.  When I discovered “The Sowing” is actually the result of co-operation between not two, but three people, my trepidation increased…

Ok, disclosures complete, onward to the review!

You’d think by my age I’d have learned a thing or two about stereotypes, and indeed I have.  Sadly, stereotypes generally do hold true.  However, occasionally they don’t – and it’s the don’ts we remember, more than the dos.  I’m happy to inform you that “The Sowing”, is most definitely a “don’t”.  I could not distinguish the individual styles of its authoresses.  You might think this means the writing lacks the vital, yet intangible quality known as voice – you’d be wrong.  Throughout the novel, the style is easy and effortless.  From its slow beginning to it climactic end, this smooth flowing tale is a joy to read.  Nothing jars, except of course the plot elements intended to put you on high alert – and those occur with an ever-increasing frequency as the world unfolds.

Set in a dystopian future, “The Sowing” is neatly cast as Utopia.  Paradise lost, regained, and now guarded by people with only the best interests in heart.  Unfortunately, as the story unfolds it becomes clear that “the best interests” held are not those of the people, but of themselves.  Even Utopia has a seedy underside.

“The Sowing” presents the viewpoint of two characters, their teen romance sundered by circumstance.  Remy, is a young lady working in the Resistance.  Vale is a young man working in the Okarian Sector.  After several years apart, they find themselves directly at odds as each struggles to understand the inexplicable choices of the other.  Remy wonders how Vale could possibly stay within, while Vale wonders why Remy has betrayed everything their sector has worked for centuries to accomplish.  Will teen romance wither and die, or simmer and flare?

In essence, “The Sowing” introduces a classic premise – Evil Empire under attrition from a fledgling Resistance.  Although the story raises old questions, it manages to frame them in new ways.  Little is as it first appears, yet the authors retain their integrity through multiple plot twists and turns.  There is no gratuitous, random nonsense whose only purpose is fulfilling an editor’s perceived need for something that really has no part in the story.  No bumps appear to jar you from the path of this speeding tale.  Every new revelation renders the world more real, while ramping up tension and vesting you deeper in the developing characters.  Every time you think you know what comes next, the plot takes an unexpected, but believable twist.

Your hopes for the main characters are constantly threatened, but the authors manage to tread the tripwire of suspense with aplomb.  Disaster looms, yet never quite consumes.  Even with the villains unmasked, their motivations remain hidden and leave the reader in a wonderful limbo – can something mitigate their actions?  It isn’t often villainy is portrayed with such subtlety you find yourself hoping something might excuse abhorrent behavior.  That type of sympathy abounds in “The Sowing”.  If you like your heroes pristine, and your villains cast in midnight black, then look elsewhere – in “The Sowing”, every character is… well, human.

So what is “The Sowing”?  It’s a little bit of romance, a heaping helping of Sci-Fi, and a generous dose of metaphor.  It is today, cast in the future.  It is a simple tale which leads you down a complex path – personally, I think the path begins right here, right now, and that we might be its villains, which may account for why I feel sympathetic to those within the tale.

Now, I don’t know about you, but for me one of the things I most enjoy about fiction is being surprised.  “The Sowing” doesn’t stop surprising.  Enough said?

{Now, while you’re here please take a look around, you can find samples of my writing, my tweets and even another review I wrote for an amazing love story by February Grace, another Twitter friend.}

About C.G.Ayling

Musing misuser of words, lover of lyrical literature, author, occasional contrary thoughts. An honorable man’s name, in memoriam.
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