Genre: UKYA Contemporary
Buy the Book: Waterstones, Amazon, The Book Depository
Seed is Heathfield’s Debut novel that follows a 15 year old girl called Pearl who lives in a cult that worships Nature and follows their leader known as Papa S. They have no unsupervised contact with the outside world, but believe they have everything they could ever want in the world. But when a new family is allowed to join the cult, they bring knowledge of the Outside, and secrets begin to unravel.
I read this book for the UKYA Reading in the Rain book club hosted by Ally where we read one book a month in the UKYA Genre and then discuss it. The synopsis really intrigued me and I did vote for this book out of the four options we were given, having heard really great reviews. However, this book just fell flat for me.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some good things. I really enjoyed the female friendship in here between the main character and the other girl of her age. There was a lot of focus on female relationships in this book within the cult that I really enjoyed and thought was refreshing. I also thought Heathfield’s development of Pearl’s character and her changing perspective was done really well, in that her opinion slowly comes to change in a very natural and believable way.
Having said that, Pearl’s character did fall flat for me, as did most of the characters. I didn’t particularly care for any of them or what happened with them. I did not like the love interest and to this day fail to understand why Pearl liked him so much or what drew her to him originally. The antagonist of this story also felt very two dimensional and I don’t feel like we got enough of an exploration of his character and how he came to be the way he was.
For me, the lack of explanation is what let this book down I felt like there needed to be more explanation of the cult and it’s history in how it came to be. I wanted an explanation of the leader’s motives, and of how certain characters came to discover things and why things happened to them. I understand this book is going to have a sequel, but it was originally written as a stand alone, and personally I just wanted a clearer picture.
Heathfield’s writing was pretty good, particularly for a debut novel. However there were a lot of instances in this book where Pearl would repeat bits of information over and over again until it just became plain tedious (for me anyway). I understand this might not bother a lot of readers and is a personal pet peeve, but it did affect my enjoyment of the book so ultimately it affected my rating.
Overall, I can see why Seed is successful and has received so many great reviews. But for me, there were just so many things that took away from my enjoyment, so much so that I found I was forcing myself to sit down and read this at times. I do think it is a book worth checking out, but it really wasn’t for me.