Apr 122013
 

bitterseedsBitter Seeds, by Ian Tregillis

Synopsis: Nazi X-Men vs British Demon-Summoning Warlocks in an alternate-history WWII. It’s played straight, and very dark. The first book in a trilogy.

Brief Book Review: While a minority of people may find the premise difficult to take seriously, I had no trouble suspending my disbelief, and if you can do that it’s a great read. On a technical level, Ian Tregillis is a great writer, with a lot of evocative prose that really highlights the gothic nature of the story. It is perhaps a bit overly dramatic at points, but I enjoy that immensely. The plotting is very strong, the conflict is enthralling, and the story is entertaining. The villain is superb. It’s unfortunate that the characters tend to be rather stereotypical and play strongly to established tropes (with a notable exception), but it’s not a terrible flaw. A note of warning however – this definitely borders on horror sci-fi. Recommended.

Book Club Review: Also a winner for a book club. It’s a good alternate history that will intrigue the WWII buffs. It raises many moral questions as to what prices we are willing to pay for what ends, and how the costs of those prices are assigned. The villain’s manipulations are a great exploration of omniscience, and may spark discussion about the role of prophecy in fiction and how it interacts with determinism and free will. And interestingly, the villain’s actions all seem very evil, yet manage to prevent the worst parts of the real WWII. A fine book for discussion. Recommended.

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