Seed - Lisa Heathfield

Genre: Fiction 
Synopsis: All that Pearl knows can be encapsulated in one word: Seed. It is the isolated community that she was born into. It is the land that she sows and reaps. It is the center of her family and everything that means home. And it is all kept under the watchful eye of Papa S. The arrival of a new family into the Seed community — particularly the teenage son, Ellis — only complicates the life and lifestyle that Pearl has depended upon as safe and constant. Ellis is compelling, charming, and worldly, and he seems to have a lot of answers to questions Pearl has never thought to ask. But as Pearl digs to the roots of the truth, only she can decide what she will allow to come to the surface.


I really, really enjoyed this book. I genuinely did. It's extremely well-written, and there were a couple of characters I really liked following. Something about it left me a little underwhelmed though; I think it might have been the pacing.

Most of the book divides its time between two things, introducing the reader to different aspects of the cult (yes, cult) in which Pearl lives, and progressing Pearl's understanding that something is very wrong with her home, through the Outsiders and Kate. While both aspects are interesting to read about, there were a couple of times I found myself checking how many pages I had left to go before the end. Then, once I finally got close to the end, the pace ramped up to superspeed and barely left any time to really explore or elaborate on the final events, which (considering the dark connotations of much of the novel prior to the ending) could have been illustrated with more detail. I think, ultimately, I never felt entirely taken in by the society of Seed.

The novel has to be based on the cult of Jim Jones - there is literally no way the author could have written Seed without being influenced by it, even though I haven't seen her ever refer to it as inspiration. I recently listened to the full audio of the Death Tapes from the Jonestown Massacre, which I found deeply unsettling (naturally) and also... suffocating? I felt claustrophobic after listening to them, like I desperately needed to get outside and breath air and reassert my own freedom from that kind of brain-washing. I also felt deeply sad for the victims of the massacre. I never got those feelings from reading this book, or anything close, and I feel like that is what was lacking, and what could have been heightened about the ending particularly.

All the same, a very good read, I'm just being nit-picky. Would happily recommend it for something different and will read more by the author.
Rating: 3/5

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