Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

After a month of Hitchcock-style events...

Sometimes you get that perfect, thoughtful review by someone who totally gets your book. In the middle of a dreadful month of apartment floods, five weeks of no hot water and gas for cooking due to a gas leak, no Internet and other Hitchcock-style horrors, I got one of those reviews that made my heart stutter with delight. Indie Ebook Reviews had actually posted in April what I'd just stumbled across. It was like digging up that perfect, golden potato under the soil. Because Ms. Glass so got it, I will post it here:

In the world of YA fiction, the paranormal romances Twilight inspired have recently been replaced by an outbreak of dystopian fiction – with Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games leading the way and Scott Westerfield’s Uglies and Ally Condie’s Matched close behind.  Catherine Stine’s Fireseed One taps into this trend, although its slightly retro cover signals she is steeped in traditional sci-fi and not just an arriviste to the genre.


Also differentiating it from those other recent hits is the fact that the lead character is male – 18-year old Varik – although he is soon joined by the feisty Marisa Baron.  The novel is set in 2089, with the US a lethal ‘Hotzone’ full of ‘refugees’ who the propaganda channel known as ‘the stream’ insists are dangerous. Varik’s father, a marine biologist, has been murdered leaving his son in charge of his sea-farm and valuable seed-banks, which are the world’s main food supply.  When he catches Marisa stealing seeds and his crops are struck with the plague, Varik sets off with her on a quest that leads him into the Hotzone to find the ‘fireseed’ his father is rumored to have created, learning along the way that the lines between good and evil are more blurred than he thought.


The vision of the future Stine creates – of a world divided into have and have-nots by climate change and utterly dependent on GM crops – is convincing.  The book has a strong satirical slant, with interesting things to say both about the way the media demonizes refugees and how advertising penetrates every corner of our lives – each news update from ‘the stream’ ends with an ironic sponsor’s ad, devastating news of riots being: ‘brought to you by Restavik Chophouse, where the boar is better than home-grilled and the ladies drink free on Saturdays.’


Shin Kaskade, Tech Wizard
by Catherine Stine
The writing is strong, using the present tense to create freshness and full of vivid verbs.  It is the little, specific details that make this world so three-dimensional.  In the first few pages we get the horrific, cinematic image of Varik’s father’s corpse (‘famished viperfish had gouged his hands’), along with tender details that really nail the father-son bond (‘I’ll miss our docksides fish fries, our midnight boat rides…our poker games for abalone.)  Varik’s trendy friend Audun has a ‘shark-tooth earring’.  A firestorm burns the sky with ‘molten arteries of light.’  Stine has also created a believable slang for the teenagers, with Varik exclaiming ‘yummo’, ‘fry me’ and ‘burn it’.


I do think there’s one plot hole – if the entire world is dependent on Agar as a food-source, why would it be left in the hands of one nice, ordinary seeming biologist and then his disinterested 18-year old son?  This was, ultimately, a bit unconvincing – especially when Varik leaves the last feeble Agar plant in the hands of his best mate who seems more interested in baking scones.  A brutal regime which uses propaganda to stamp out sympathy for the starving would surely be a bit more hands-on about its supply chain!
...It’s a great young adult book though, with a sweet central romance and lots of inventive thrills.

Review by Evie Glass


Juko
by Catherine Stine
To celebrate, I am offering a signed paperback copy of Fireseed One at a huge discount--$5 (includes postage)--to anyone who emails me at kitsy84557 (at) gmail (dot) com.
Or, if you prefer, order an ebook, on sale at B&N or Amazon for $0.99, and I'll send you a signed copy of an illustration from Fireseed One.
Offer good for two weeks (Through Aug 15).


Now, to do a power visualization that Con Ed will come turn on our gas and hot water!

Cheers, Catherine

21 comments:

  1. Congrats on the great review! And I hope your gas and hot water come back on soon!

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  2. Congratulations on the groovy review! May it bring you many sales and may Con Ed soon get its act together!!! :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

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  3. Thanks, Mina. Yes, pretty groovy, except for Con Ed.

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  4. Awesome, Catherine! Woot!

    I hope your horrors are over. They sound dreadful. No internet? I would have curled up and withered ... lol

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  5. Congratulations on having your book be the recipient of a thorough, thoughtful review. I read it all the way through with interest and can see why you've reproduced it on your blog, Catherine. Actually, I'd like to congratulate you not only on the review but the book entire.

    Well done.

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  6. Thanks, Suze! And no, M Pax, we still have no hot water... the (saga) nightmare continues. It's the diner for dinner, followed by a cold bath. Are we having fun yet?!

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  7. Congratulations. It's so wonderful to get a good review and this one is amazing.

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  8. Super review. Congrats. I'm waiting for the next book. :)

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  9. Bev, I'm waiting for the next book too! (Ha!) It's oozing out slowly, like red sap from a Fireseed plant.

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  10. I'm so sorry to hear about your month of bad luck. You're right though - the fabulous review really makes up for it. I often believe that things balance out in the long run. Congrats! :-)

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  11. Now that's what I call a review! I wish everyone could write reviews like this.

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  12. You and me both, Stephen! I feel lucky that Fireseed fell into Ms. Glass' hands, who is an interesting writer in her own right.

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  13. Excellent review, Catherine. I don't know how you did this and coped with everything else!

    Here's my cyber hug and hopes for a smooth August.

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  14. Cyber hug back, Lee. Good luck with your challenges too!

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  15. That's so great! Well, not about all the other stuff, but fantastic review!! Good for you!

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  16. Fabulous review! So glad you got some good news in the middle of all the crummy stuff that was happening. I hope that life is getting back to normal!
    ~Jess
    http://thesecretdmsfilesoffairdaymorrow.blogspot.com/

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  17. Thanks, as of today, still no hot water or ability to cook-5 weeks and counting...

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  18. So sorry to hear all of your woes lately! Hope the sun comes out soon and certainly looks that way from this AMAZING and deserved review. I of course have my wonderful signed copy and happy about that! I hope you get many more reviews from this 'celebration' to boost your spirits more.

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  19. Thanks to those so far who ordered signed copies! The offer is still good until Aug 15!

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  20. What a wonderful review! I especially appreciate that she recognized the importance of the cover art--and I couldn't agree more about the strong imagery!

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