by Rachel E. Fisher
The year is 2033 and the world hovers on the edge of explosion as unexplained crop deaths lead to severe global food shortages. In the United States, the Sickness is taking lives slowly, creeping its way into every family. Fi Kelly has already faced the Sickness in her own family, toughening her beyond her years. But a shocking confession from her dying father will push her toughness to its absolute limits. Saddled with an impossible secret and the mission of saving her little sister, Fi sets out to transform herself into the warrior that she must become to survive the coming collapse. Along the way, she will discover that evil can be accidental and that love can be intentional.
Whew! This novel is a definite page turner! Fi Kelly is only 13 when she learns about the awful famine that is coming and what will most likely happen when it occurs. Her dying father charges her to save her family, her already sick mother and her little sister. She cannot tell anyone about the coming collapse. Since Fi has to grow up in a matter of months and become an adult, it's a little hard to warm up to her. She's a bit like Katniss from The Hunger Games (I've only read the first one so I only refer to her in that one). She's tough, makes the adult decisions despite adults being in the group and isn't afraid to kill if she has to for protection. She goes on food raids by herself in the middle of the night when she might face armed killers, crazy people starving to death or later in the story people called Others, desperate for food and to protect their remaining resources no matter the cost.
What has caused this famine, world wide, killing millions of people. A combination of things, stuff we hear in the news daily. Pesticides, genetically altered food, fertilizers, unnatural foods filled with artificial everything. It's what becomes known as "Sickfood" named by Fi. "Truefood" is the wild game, fish and nuts and berries they can gather from the forest. "Sickfood" is the cause of cancer, lupus, anything else that people are dying of, which is now just called the "Sickness". Food will not grow in the ground anymore because there is something in the seed that kills the plant before it reaches maturity.
Fi at 14 is The Leader of her Family that includes her sick mother, Maggie, her 4 yr old sister Kiara, The Stillmans, mother Lucy, father John, brother and best friend Sean, and sisters, Rachel, who is also sick and Zoe who is around two. Along the way they pick up others to add to the family. Where are they going? Eden, a place supposedly built to weather this calamity and where the Kelly's were going before her dad got sick. He was kicked out because the policy is no "Sickness" allowed. Cold hearted.
The storyline is one of the best apocalyptic stories I've read. I read a very, very early version of the story and I'm sure that some of my issues with the story have been fixed so I won't mention them. I've been in touch with Rachel and she assured me it's been through several edits since then. My biggest issue is that I love a character driven novel and I couldn't connect with this child that was an adult in her world. But, this is definitely a plot driven novel and like I said, the plot is incredible. Nothing is overdone, which I think for this type of epic journey novel is hard to do. The raids were mentioned, but only a few were gone into detail and only because something really interesting happened. The journey wasn't so detailed that you were bored with days and days of walking and scenery. Only certain days were detailed. And I honestly didn't expect to cry when the inevitable happened, yet I found myself sobbing. Fisher does a great job of bringing some of the characters to life while others feel a little stilted.
Again, I read an ARC, and an early one at that. I am looking forward to reading the second in this series.
I think the horror of this novel was the reality that this could happen. If nothing else will make you go organic, this novel will! Might even make you plant your own vegetable garden! I highly recommend this novel.
There are some violent scenes in the novel, some sexual in nature, strong language and some pretty tough situations. As always choose your books based on your maturity level.
Thanks to Rachel Fisher for this copy of Eden's Root that has been sitting here since January! I'm glad I finally read it! It was such a pleasure to read and I'm looking forward to the next in the series, Seeds of War. Don't forget about the giveaway for both on the sidebar.