Title: The Sowing
Author: K. Makansi
Publisher: Layla Dog Press
Release Date: December 1, 2013
Acquired Via: TLC Book Tours
Remy Alexander was born into the elite meritocracy of the Okarian Sector. From an early age, she and her friends were programmed for intellectual and physical superiority through specialized dietary regimes administered by the Okarian Agricultural Consortium. But when her older sister Tai was murdered in a brutal classroom massacre, her parents began to suspect foul play. They fled the Sector, taking their surviving daughter underground to join the nascent Resistance movement. But now, three years later, Remy’s former schoolgirl crush, Valerian Orleán, is put in charge of hunting and destroying the Resistance. As Remy and her friends race to unravel the mystery behind her sister’s murder, Vale is haunted by the memory of his friendship with Remy and is determined to find out why she disappeared. As the Resistance begins to fight back against the Sector, and Vale and Remy search for the answers to their own questions, the two are set on a collision course that could bring everyone together—or tear everything apart.
In this science-fiction dystopia, the mother-daughter writing team of Kristina, Amira, and Elena Makansi immerses readers in the post-apocalyptic world of the Okarian Sector where romance, friendship, adventure, and betrayal will decide the fate of a budding nation.
Don't you hate it when you're writing a review and you have this blank page glaring back at you. I've been having a staring contest with this review of The Sowing because I don't really quite know how I feel about it. The world-building is good, I guess the science works for me, and the writing is alright, but I lacked any sort of connection with the characters.
I have no idea why, but The Sowing reminded me a bit of the movie, The Matrix. There's really nothing in common between the two except there are characters that are stuck in a crappy, post-apocalyptic world eating bad food. In the case of The Sowing, the comfortable gridfolks (the Sector elite) are the ones eating the vitamin gloop and the Resistance people are making due with their farms and hunting. Yes, that is a completely random non-comparison, but that's where my brain was. There was nothing really unique here - it read like a dome novel without the dome. (If there was a dome, I completely missed it.)
Some of the sciencey bits went over my head, but that is to be expected as I am neither an engineer or a geneticist. I like to have fancy big words and ideas thrown at me, but not much is going to sink in. I haven't had a biology class in over a decade, so there are really only two words that I have that are remotely acquainted with genetics are "clone" and "photosynthesis" (which has nothing much to do with genetics at all, I suspect). There's not a Michael Crichton level of science that will make you either feel like a rock star NASA scientist or a colossal dummy, but there is enough that you won't be left feeling that All The Things were made up.
I guess now is the time to say it - I got a little bored while I was reading The Sowing. I forget sometimes how important it is to have any sort of connection with the characters, and I did not after the first few pages. The prologue is told from Tai Alexander's point of view, leading up to her murder. I was more attached to Tai in her three and a half pages than I was with Vale or Remy after reading about them for the whole book. They aren't bad characters or anything, but there was just something missing. I will say that I liked Vale better out of the two (the story is told from his and Remy's alternating viewpoints) because he did undergo some changes as a character.
While The Sowing wasn't something that thrilled me, it was still an okay book. The Makansi ladies are authors well worth watching, and hopefully I'll get more out of the upcoming sequel, The Reaping. (I do intend to read it.)
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About the Author
K. Makansi is the pen name for the mother-daughter writing team of:
Kristina Blank Makansi – Born and raised in Southern Illinois, Kristina has a B.A. in Government from University of Texas at Austin and a M.A.T. from the College of New Jersey and an opinion on everything. She has worked as a copywriter, marketing coordinator, web and collateral designer, editor, and publisher. In 2010, she co-founded Blank Slate Press, an award-winning small press focusing on debut authors in the greater St. Louis area, and in 2013, she co-founded Treehouse Publishing Group, an author services company assisting both traditionally and self-published authors. In addition to The Seeds Trilogy, she is hard at work revising her historical fiction, Oracles of Delphi, set in ancient Greece.
Amira K. Makansi - Amira graduated with honors in three years from the University of Chicago where she earned a BA in History and was a team leader and officer for UChicago Mock Trial. She has served as an assistant editor and has read and evaluated Blank Slate Press submissions since the press was founded. She is an avid reader and blogger who also has a passion for food, wine, and photography. She has worked at wineries in Oregon and France and is approaching fluency in French. Along with working part-time for BSP, she works for a wine distributorship in St. Louis. In addition to The Seeds Trilogy, she reviews books and blogs about writing, food and wine at The Z-axis.
Elena K. Makansi – Elena is a senior at Oberlin College where she is focusing on Environmental Studies especially as it relates to her passion–food justice. She’s also studied studio art and drawing and has had her work featured in several college publications. While in high school, she won numerous writing and poetry awards, was awarded a scholarship to attend the Washington University Summer Writing Institute and attended the Iowa Young Writers Studio. She also won a scholarship to represent her Amideast cohort as the “resident” blogger during her study abroad in Amman, Jordan. She and Amira backpacked through Europe together and share a passion for cooking, baking–and, yes, eating. Elena maintains a Tumblr and a blog, Citizen Fiddlehead, about food and other topics.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.