by Rachel E. Fisher
Published (first published December 17th 2011)
Rec'd from author for my honest review.
Premise: Ganked from Goodreads:
It is 2033, and the world hovers on the edge of explosion as unexplained crop deaths lead to severe global food shortages. In the United States, the Sickness is taking lives slowly, creeping its way into every family. Fi Kelly has already faced the Sickness in her own family, toughening her beyond her years. But a shocking confession from her dying father will push her toughness to its absolute limits. Saddled with an impossible secret and the mission of saving her little sister, Fi sets out to transform herself into the warrior that she must become to survive the coming collapse. Along the way, she will discover that evil can be accidental and that love can be intentional.
I love this cover. It drew me to read this book even before the author contacted me to read it. Something about the green and the withering tree plus the calm determination on the girl's face. I was intrigued.
Even better to hear the dystopian premise. The author sets up a disastrous sci-fi post-apocolyptic setting based on disease-infested food. What if everything you ate would kill you slowly, but there was no alternative?
Rather than focus on the horrible effects of deathly food, however, we get to see Fi and her group of friends and family as they refuse to take disaster as the only outcome for their situation. Fi is the center of the group, and at 15 she's ready to step up and do everything she needs to, including making hard decisions and hanging onto hope.
I thoroughly enjoyed Fi. She is a resilient character who develops with the situation. I enjoyed Sean, as well, as her right hand man, in a way, and then Asher, who's story develops separately until they meet. :-)
My favorite part is the concept of the disaster. There's enough truth in the core of the story to add extra depth to the question, "could this really happen?!" And my respect for the author and this concept has only grown as she was kind enough to answer some interview questions. (Yay!)
First, My Rating: 2.5 - which is a culmination of conflicting feelings. The execution felt very raw to me, unfinished, maybe. I had trouble losing myself inside the story and Fi's character plus my attention wandered. On the other hand, the characters are complex, the plot is complicated, the conflicts are layered, and the resolution is wonderful... with plenty of room for more story. Basically, this story wasn't my cup of tea, but I am looking forward to more books from Rachel Fisher!
On to the interview! (Slightly SPOILER-ISH)
with Rachel E. Fisher
You mentioned that this is one book out of a series? Can you tell me about what the second book is about? when it's coming?
This is the first book in a Trilogy. I am well into the writing of the second book . The title (I think I've decided that it's the title, not working title) is Seeds of War.
The second book begins with the connection with the Diaspora II - Babylon colony. This discovery gives the colonists of Eden the reassurance they need to go ahead with the next phase of their plan, which is Seeding. Fi, Asher, Sean and a mystery fourth addition go Topside on Seeding missions. They bear both heirloom seeds and radios with solar arrays so that they can set up Topsider families as 'stations'. In this way they can start to build a network of small settlements that can communicate with one another and can sustain themselves moving forward. The idea is to stabilize and rebuild.
Unfortunately, there are others with very different plans for the future of the Famine survivors. What begins as mysterious radio broadcasts from an unknown preacher begins to spread and new 'stations' pop up spreading rhetoric and opposition to Eden and the Seeders. They believe that science got humanity into this mess in the first place and that God punished us for our hubris. Though seemingly harmless zealotry at first, this opposition begins to grow sinister as words become deeds and Eden's new stations are attacked. Many also report that technology-based resources everywhere are being destroyed and burned. As Eden and the Seeders begin to understand the scope of this new threat, the very thing they fought so hard to preserve, their Seeds, become the flash point for war...
I am so interested in how Fi, Sean & Asher manage!! This sounds very exciting!
How did you come up with this idea for Eden's Root? Did you know about food sources first? or did you study about food because of your book? or both?
I am not sure exactly how Eden's Root came to life as a story, in the sense that Fi and her compatriots just started to speak to me one day when I got a cold and was down on the couch with my laptop. I have no idea where she came from, but she seems to have opened up a whole floodgate in my mind that I am unable to close off at this point. :)
I did know the information about food first. I have studied a lot about food because I am a recent (4 year) cancer survivor and when I was diagnosed I dove into the research trying to figure out what had happened to me. I also wanted to know how I could eat in the future to have some protective effects against relapse. I studied to be a researcher myself so when I encounter a problem, that is my first instinct. Once I researched food thoroughly, I became incredibly depressed. It turns out that so much of what we are eating is incredibly harmful and dangerous. The more I learned, the more I began to be AFRAID of food. And that is when the idea first started to click. How diabolical and awful, I thought. To be AFRAID of something you have no choice but to consume? I think the kernel of the idea grew from there. I turned it from a story about slow death into a story about both slow death and quick death, and the fight to right that wrong.
Please tell me something about your website and what you're doing with recipes and information and stuff!!
Well, I wanted to blog about food because so many of my friends and family have questions and they know that I've worked to become knowledgeable about it. They also know that I bring a scientists' skepticism and a survivor's sense of humor to my narrative, so I think that my blog gives people good information without trying to guilt or browbeat them into 'eating right'. Often I just share my own experiences and journey in trying to be vegan (my choice) and gluten-free (no choice...tummy don't play that anymore) in a world that is entirely based on meat, cheese, and bread. Having grown up in the Philadelphia area, I consider steak and peppers comfort food, so it has been a big transition to now think of lentils that way!
And then I discovered book blogging and couldn't resist it either, seeing as I am doing the reading anyway and I am incredibly opinionated. :) So my blog ends up being a bit of a split-personality between food and books, but since it's not making me any money it's all mine to ruin - ha!
Ha! Too funny. I have learned a LOT about glutten-free in the past year or so, from a good friend who has to, as well, plus some stuff about reading labels to see what I'm feeding the family, and it is overwhelming. I think it makes sense to see you had such a strong motivation with surviving cancer, (Wow!!!) 'cause just eating "right" is very difficult nowadays... um, hence the scary truth behind Eden's Root!!!
Actually... not that I review cookbooks with any grace at all, but I recently reviewed The World Tastes Good that my friend wrote and I'm going to be reviewing The Naked Foods Cookbook in the next week or so-ish.
And yes... that is my rather pathetic attempt of declaring that I know what eating healthy looks like!! Kind of!! The truth is, though, I have NO IDEA, really. Our recent Gung-Ho Diet Part I really showed me how much I don't know because I kicked ALL of the sugar out of the house, which basically left us NOTHING TO EAT. Hahahahaha Seriously.
So I know enough to be rather in awe and take the concept in Eden's Root seriously and then my enthusiasm deflates a bit to cheer you on from the sidelines. And be grateful that you maintain a BLOG!!
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