4 out of 4 stars
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Reading a book about the end of civilization during a world-wide pandemic is probably not emotionally smart, but I totally enjoyed Seeds of Hope by Debbie Tremel. The story begins with the heart-wrenching situation of a recent college graduate, Daniel, burying his father and best friend after a tragic avalanche. They have been hiking into the wilderness to meet up with the rest of the family and some others who joined them to live in isolation.
The world is crumbling after a fungus destroyed rice and wheat crops around the world. Famine and poverty are rampant. Borders are closing, and people are turning to violence. Daniel’s family is not surprised by this. They believe in prophecies that foretell ten years of destruction and a new pure world that could be created. They have been preparing for years by learning outdoor survival skills. They plan to return to the earth and create a society of peace.
Of course, peace does not come easily. The small group made up of a handful of families must face many obstacles. They still have much to learn about living in the wild, and they will have more than one confrontation with others who do not share their beliefs or morals. Will they be able to face nature, their enemies, and their own doubts to create a new world?
There is much to like about this book. The author is a skillful writer. Her descriptions and character building are amazing. For instance, we never meet Daniel’s friend, Aaron, who dies in the rockslide, but the reader is given enough backstory and description to be attached to him. Her imagery and figurative language are excellent as well. I could see the “sun’s lumbering progress across the sky” and I could feel the “grief … like a hole in his heart sucking the life out of everything around him into its black abyss.” Also, with vocabulary like sepia and salal, this is no brain-candy read.
I also liked how the author structured the early portion of the book. Chapters are alternated between the perspective of Daniel traveling alone and his mother with the group waiting for him to catch up. Each one longs for the other but must continue on the journey as planned.
The author does a great job of describing various survival skills in enough detail to be realistic, but not get the reader bogged down and drag the storyline. There are also strands of philosophy and inner turmoil woven into the book. The author obviously is leading the reader to her own persuasive conclusions, but she never gets preachy.
There was only one section that I thought was somewhat overdone. One of the prophecies talks about a red moon and a red sky. When this occurs the whole community cries and mourns for the death of society. This just seemed to be a little drawn out and overly emotional for me. Also, I am not a fan of profanity in stories. This author was certainly not excessive in her use of curse words, and they are used realistically, but it was not my favorite part of her writing style.
There are two rape scenes in the book, both of which are used to show the degradation of society. They are only mildly explicit, probably a 2 or 3 on a 5 point scale. Still, because of this and some discussion of sex in general as well as the language choices, I would not recommend this book for young teens or children.
Nevertheless, it is an excellent read for adults. The story is powerful, the message intriguing, and I found no editing errors. For these reasons, I give Seeds of Hope 4 out of 4 stars. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes realistic/futuristic fiction and survival scenarios. I would love to read other books by this author.
Seeds of Hope
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