The facade of freedom is a thinly veiled lie. In present-day America, a power cult can usurp your will and turn you against your friends and family.
Once—more than a thousand years ago—there were people who were immune to Addin control of hearts and minds. Legends around the globe still speak of them—slight people with pointed ears, now relegated to fantasy stories. Their true name has been forgotten.
They were the Kyrennei.
A prophecy says they will one day return, but the Addin vow to exterminate them. The Meikans, the descendants of human allies of the Kyrennei, yet exist, though they live under a tyrannical treaty with the Addin that has bought their survival at the cost of centuries of silence. Now those who have kept faith with the ancient gods for a millennium stand at the cusp of a new era–the time of the Seed.
It begins in a large round valley in the mountains of northeastern Oregon. One day Aranka Miko is a small-town student. The next, she’s a prisoner, a reviled mutant and not even considered human.
At the same time, a young doctor code-named Kenyen fights with a band of international outlaws in a clandestine war with impossible odds. His mission is to infiltrate the Addin labs in Idaho where those who carry the genetic code of the Kyrennei are being studied… and murdered.
Kenyen is barely keeping his cover, when Aranka turns up in his lab. She is not like the other young people imprisoned there. For one thing, she can see that he isn’t Addin. A careless word from her could destroy the resistance and doom Kenyen’s soul. But she could also bring unimagined hope.
Can one girl hold “the seed,” the first flicker of hope in a millennium? Can she even survive one more day in the labs?
Due to the time it’s taken me to get to the review of this book, I’d forgotten what had led me to pick it up. Going by the cover and description, this appeared to be a mystery, or possibly a mystery-fantasy. Since this was on my “want to review” list, I knew there was more to it than that, and so I took the bit in my teeth and dove in.
Though the story is set in modern(ish) times, it is enough of an alternate world that some world building needed to be done for the story to make sense. With the story set in first person, the world building takes a while to develop enough to figure out what’s going on. Especially with the protagonist caught up in events from the first page. There are multiple species (races?) that are in the mix, which muddles the world building even further, since they each have factions within the broader groups.
This is heavily biased by personal choice in how a book is written. With as much going on as this book has, I had trouble getting to know the secondary cast of characters. The main character has trust issues (well developed and explained early on), which makes it harder to believe, or get to know the others who help form the story group.
Also due to the first person perspective, the other characters didn’t develop as much vibrancy as I think they could have. This is one of the downfalls of a first person perspective in writing. As such, there was a lot of potential that wound up getting lost through the main character’s filter, which left many of the others feeling like holograms, or scenery, even when they had an important part to play. This is especially apparent in the latter part of the book when things become disjointed due to plans going awry.
I’m inclined to think that the pacing in this book is a touch rushed throughout. This may be because of the first person perspective, I am not sure. With motivations being hidden, trying to judge what’s rushed or not is a bit harder. There are a few places where things definitely lagged because of the perspective.
This is a solid 4 of 5 stars. If it appears I didn’t like the book, that is completely wrong. It was well written, and I did rather enjoy the premise. I know I’m biased against first person perspective books – for most of the above noted reasons. However, the story itself is captivating enough to transcend my bias, and held me captive until the last page. Now I want to know what else happens!
If you’re intrigued by the review, or simply curious about the book, head on over to Amazon Here to pick up a copy. It really IS that good!