Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: Seeders by A.J. Colucci

Author:  A.J. Colucci
Publisher:  Thomas Dunne Books, July 15, 2014
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages
List Price:  $26.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781250042897 (print)
Review Copy:  eARC provided by the Publisher

George Brookes is a brilliant but reclusive plant biologist living on a remote Canadian island. After his mysterious death, the heirs to his estate arrive on the island, including his daughter Isabelle, her teenage children, and Jules Beecher, a friend and pioneer in plant neurobiology. They will be isolated on the frigid island for two weeks, until the next supply boat arrives.

As Jules begins investigating the laboratory and scientific papers left by George, he comes to realize that his mentor may have achieved a monumental scientific breakthrough: communication between plants and humans. Within days, the island begins to have strange and violent effects on the group, especially Jules who becomes obsessed with George’s journal, the strange fungus growing on every plant and tree, and horrible secrets that lay buried in the woods. It doesn’t take long for Isabelle to realize that her father may have unleashed something sinister on the island, a malignant force that’s far more deadly than any human. As a fierce storm hits and the power goes out, she knows they’ll be lucky to make it out alive.

A.J. Colucci masterfully weaves real science with horror to create a truly terrifying thriller, drawing from astonishing new discoveries about plants and exploring their eerie implications. Seeders is a feast of horror and suspense.

Qwills Thoughts

Seeders is the second novel by A.J. Colucci. Like Colucci's first novel, The Colony (killer ants), it's a science-based thriller, which makes the events feel frighteningly plausible. Colucci slowly ramps up the dread, there is terrific foreshadowing, and a suitably beautiful and isolated setting gone wrong.

The characters, Isabelle, her sons Luke and Sean, Jules Beecher (and more) are all distinct individuals with different reactions to what is happening on the island. It is interesting to see how each of them handles (or not) the events that take place. Colucci slowly unveils what is really going on, which ratchets up the suspense. I had several "don't go into the woods!" moments as things spiral out of control. It's not often that I want to shout at characters in a novel.

The underlying science regarding plant communication is taken to the extreme in a shocking, yet seemingly plausible way. This is the construct upon which the novel hangs and it is very well done. There is plenty of gore as things and people become more and more dangerous on the island, but often enough Colucci gives you the idea of what is going on and lets you fill in the horrific rest. That the gore is sometimes so matter of fact makes it incredibly more frightening.

Underneath the horror, suspense and dread, I found a message about how humans mistreat the planet. Seeders has me looking at plants in a new light ...and has me wondering what they think of me.

Seeders is a marvelous novel with well drawn characters (not all of them likable), terrific pacing, crisp writing, plenty of action, and a thought provoking eerie story. Get Seeders and read it with the lights on, but not near any of your potted plants. I can't wait to see what A.J. Colucci is going to make me afraid of next!


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