Fireseed One, a YA futuristic thriller, is set on earth in 2089 where people ride tricked-out amphibious vehicles over toxic waters, dance in ice-themed clubs and eat fish that grow up on vines in floating warehouses. Varik Teitur inherits a vast sea farm after the mysterious drowning of his marine biologist father.
When Marisa Baron, a beautiful and shrewd terrorist, who knows way, way too much about Varik’s father’s work, tries to steal seed disks from the world’s food bank, Varik is forced to put his dreams of becoming a doctor on hold and venture with her, into a hot zone teeming with treacherous nomads and a Fireseed cult who worships his dead father, in order to search for a magical hybrid plant that may not even exist. (From Goodreads)
Note: This was a review copy provided by the author.
Earth has changed. The luckiest people live in Ocean Dominion while the unlucky live behind a massive wall, in a deadly land called the hotzone. Everyone is reliant on a crop called agar which is used for food and construction. That is until things go horribly wrong following a break-in at Varik’s house.
Fireseed One, a secret project, may hold the key to the planet’s survival and hope for equity between the zones.
Varik lives in Ocean Dominion and runs his recently deceased father’s agar farm. Varik’s house is a floating island made out of the agar his family farm grows which is pretty neat. Agar is a fast growing plant material that can be eaten and used to build things. Oddly, Varik’s farm has a near monopoly on the industry and he is the main supplier to the world. It’s odd because if it’s so vital why is there only one supplier? Minor issue. Anyway, I like the setting for the farm, it made me think of a more realistic version of Waterworld.
The unique imagining of future Earth as separate regions broken up by their geography – Land Dominion, Ocean Dominion, etc. – set up curious challenges and culture differences that backed up the storyline really well. One of the main threads in this story is conflict generated by an extreme case of haves and have nots. That issue fuels a lot of the conflict and lands Varik right in the middle of it.
Everyone receives news via the stream which is transmitted to implants in people’s head. The news is always sponsored by a company which has a short pitch at the end of the stories, it’s a funny touch because of how awkward and ironic they are. They’re almost like those ads in the movie Starship Troopers (Would you like to know more?).
The story started a little slow for me and it took awhile to get my bearings in this new world. It picks up after about 30 pages, after some world building and background info.
I really enjoyed the action and the conflicts in the story. There are lessons learned along the way – friendship, trust, misunderstandings – by Varik and Marissa. Both of whom develop nicely throughout the story. This is a science fiction/fantasy story but the characters are fairly normal people who get into extraordinary situations. They’re not super powered or magical which is a nice change of pace.
I’m a fan of great villains and that’s something Fireseed One didn’t really have. There is no single, serious villain. There are a few minor ones that Varik is up against including Marissa (who turns to Varik’s side), possibly Marissa’s dad, the ZWC leader, and the Fireseed cult. In fact, the biggest villain just might be the climate because that’s the only one that truly put lives in danger. Perhaps that’s the point.
In any case, I had a great time reading Fireseed One. It’s an imaginative, and enjoyable, book for young adults.