Monday, 1 June 2015

'Seed': A Phenomenal Debut

'Seed' by Lisa Heathfield
Review by Christopher Moore

Summary (from Amazon): Seed loves you. Seed will never let you go.  

Fifteen-year-old Pearl has lived her whole life protected within the small community at Seed, where they worship Nature and idolise their leader, Papa S. When some outsiders arrive, everything changes. Pearl experiences feelings that she never knew existed and begins to realise that there is darkness at the heart of Seed.  A darkness from which she must escape, before it's too late.

A chilling and heartbreaking coming-of-age story of life within a cult, Seed will take readers on a journey of gripping self-discovery reminiscent of The Handmaid's Tale.


Seed is an exceptional, read-between-the-lines YA debut by the very talented Lisa Heathfield. It tells the story of Pearl and her life at Seed with her family as they worship their leader, Papa S. (and Mother Nature).

There are four things, in particular that I loved, and that I feel you should know. The first is the unpredictability. I really had no idea what was going to happen next (and if you check out our interview with Lisa Heathfield on the site, you'll see that she didn't either). I held Seed with one hand as I bit nervously at my nails while tearing through the pages. A compulsive page-turner indeed.

The second element I loved is the twisting of the beautiful and the downright eerie. Seed is meant to be an idyllic community and we see this in some of their rituals; their working together as a family in their everyday life and their treks to Dawn Rock where they watch the Sun rise together. These images are punctured with more disturbing rituals like tasting each other's blood. It's a book that doesn't also spell things out for you and when you dig a little deeper, you'll find the creepy elements to this cult. If you can imagine looking at a beautiful portrait only to find out it has been painted in blood. Unnerving. Creepy. Disturbingly addictive (Seed, that is)

The third standout element of the book is Seed itself. It's infused in the characters and the landscape, it features in the rituals and practices of their cult religion and it's always in the reader's mind. It's a place of beauty and community; of nature and family; but it's also a dangerous place and Pearl, Kate and her family are pawns in a very dangerous game.

The last and most interesting element of the book, for me, was Pearl's psychological balance. She's been raised to love Papa S but some of the events in the book cause her to question his motives and his love and slowly, she starts to discover he's a flawed man and it's this oscillation between Pearl's sense of right and wrong - her sense of what she's been taught to believe versus the hard truths that have been put before her - that make her a fascinating character.

Seed is a must-read for readers who are growing bored of predictable YA stories; readers who are searching for something new and fresh. It offers something I've never seen before - life lived in a cult - and it is executed with the pen of a very talented writer. Be warned though, it's an eerie read that will bury deep under your skin. Pearl's story and her community's traumas, will stick with you long after you finish the last page. I would highly recommend this to all YA readers, particularly those that like darker themes (and dystopian lovers).

Bring. On. Book. Two.
Rating: 4/5 Stars  ★ ★ ★ ★ 

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