Fireseed One is a futuristic thriller that can be enjoyed by both teens and adults. The year is 2089. Temperate climate has replaced Arctic ice, and much of what is now the United States is a lethal Hotzone, cut off by an insurmountable border from its northern, luckier neighbors, Ocean and Land Dominion. It is rumored that roving Hotzone nomads will kill for a water pellet or a slice of insect loaf, and that the ZWC, a dangerous Hotzone activist group, has infiltrated the border to the northern Dominions. Up in Ocean Dominion, all eighteen year-old Varik Teitur wants is to party on SnowAngel Island with his friend Audun and flirt with college girls he dreams of joining next year in his quest to become a doctor. Instead, he inherits a vast sea farm, following the death of his father, famous marine biologist Professor Teitur. Five weeks later, ZWC member Marisa Baron breaks into the farm’s secret seed vault and a fellow activist poisons the farm’s agar crops, the world’s food source. In order to save the last agar seedlings Varik is forced to journey to the Hotzone in search of Fireseed, a plant his father supposedly developed with magical hybridization properties. Varik takes Marisa along. Aside from being a terrorist, she’s the daughter of Melvyn Baron, the biggest real estate mogul in Land Dominion, and the professor’s old rival. Oddly, she knows lots about Fireseed, and what Hotzone land Professor Teitur bought to test the crop, before becoming embittered and trashing the project. No one except Varik knows whether Fireseed once existed off the drawing board. Might the refugees in Vegas-by-the-Sea have answers, or the bizarre Fireseed cult in the Chihuahua desert? Varik, the reluctant hero, must risk burning in the Hotzone, as his mother did, to save the ailing agar, and the world.
Fireseed One is a book set in a very unique, futuristic world where climate change has literally changed the face of the world, leaving some areas virtually uninhabitable. The world’s food supply is grown in the Ocean Dominion and when it’s poisoned by activists an unlikely pair of heroes go in search of a near-mythical plant that could save the crops.
I found this story incredibly difficult to engage with. While the concept and story were definitely unique and something that I think I would normally have enjoyed, I found the beginning of the book – where the bulk of the initial world building is – very confusing. Also, the constant news broadcasts and slogans really pulled me out of the world, rather than drawing me in.
I also found it difficult to connect with the main characters. I didn’t find Varik to be a particularly engaging character and his relationship with Marissa was not one that I found appealing.
What I did enjoy about Fireseed One was the ideas behind it – once I wrapped my head around the world, I quite liked the way the world had adapted by modifying food crops to be resistant in the new world. The seed vault was a nice touch, as well.
Overall, I gave Fireseed One 2.5 out of 5 stars. I can appreciate what Catherine Stine was trying to achieve, and while this story was not for me, if you enjoy a unique, science-fiction adventure story, this might be for you.
title // Fireseed One
author // Catherine Stine
publisher // Mark My Words Book Publicity
genre // Young Adult, Science-Fiction & Fantasy
publication date // May 2015
format // Paperback
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review from the publisher via Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.