Eighty years in the future, America has devolved into a totalitarian theocracy. The ruling Josephites clone the only seeds that grow in the post-apocalyptic climate, allowing their Prophet to control who eats, who starves, and who burns in the ritual fires that atone for society.
Subsisting on the fringes, Archer risks violation and death each day as she scours the forest for game to feed her people. When a Josephite refugee seeks sanctuary in her home, Archer is driven to chance a desperate gamble—a gamble that will bring down the Prophet and deliver seeds and freedom, or end in a fiery death for herself and for everyone she loves.
Seeds are life . . . Seeds are power . . . Seeds are the only hope of a despairing people. What will Archer do for the seeds of freedom, and what will she justify in their name?
I read a pre-release copy of FIRELANDS, and I’ve been waiting for months to post this.
The heroine, Archer, is strong and multi-dimensional. She has the chip on her shoulder one expects in post-apocalyptic protagonists, but she also has the ability (when forced by circumstances) to examine and overcome her personal prejudices. Archer’s personal journey isn’t easy on any level, and like most real people she drags her feet against the change from independent loner to (mostly) selfless hero. She is a complex character I could identify with and root for. I found her story–and FIRELANDS as a whole–believable and compelling from start to finish.
Bayard gets special props for the ending, which managed to simultaneously satisfy and surprise – a rare thing, indeed, especially in this genre.
Some readers may draw comparisons between FIRELANDS and THE HUNGER GAMES, and Katniss’s fans will surely like Archer too. But Archer isn’t a Katniss-clone, and though I’m a fan of both novels I found FIRELANDS a more rewarding read than THE HUNGER GAMES, primarily because I found Archer a more mature and layered heroine. In addition, I think FIRELANDS is a more approachable book for male readers because the romantic elements, though present, are handled maturely and don’t overwhelm the action-driven plot.
FIRELANDS is a fast-paced, highly visual read. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and if you’re a reader of thrillers, action, or dystopian reads, I think you’ll enjoy it too.
OVERALL REVIEW: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
*Disclaimer: I know the author, Piper Bayard, personally, but that fact did not influence this review. All book reviews on this blog are written at my personal choice and discretion, and I am not compensated for reviews.