Christine's Reviews > Bitter Seeds

Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis
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's review
Apr 08, 11

Read from March 30 to April 08, 2011

I didn't finish this one. I've read enough intensely affecting and fascinating fiction set in WWII that this book, which in my opinion merely uses it as a "cool setting," left me cold most of the time and offended me at others.

The only scene in a London bomb shelter during the Blitz features a bunch of nondescript Londoners shuffling into a space that reeks of human waste because no one cleared out the latrines. The constant, senseless and normalized rape and cruelty among the Nazi magic-freaks is written in so offhand a way that it feels like even the author doesn't care about it. "Yeah, yeah, she screamed until her vocal chords gave out."

There's so much potential in this setting to make a proving ground for the characters' humanity, and I didn't feel that happening. The bad people are bad and have been tortured so long they don't care anymore, and the good people get buffeted around by the war without the narrative buildup to make us really care about them. Somehow a lot of serious things happen and they feel shallow.

There's a wee nugget of narrative interest here, which is a Nazi with precognition. There's so much we don't know about what motivates her and how long the game is that she's playing: does she know they're going to lose? Is she going to help make that happen? In the end she's such an irritatingly enigmatic character that I didn't care.

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Reading Progress

03/30/2011 page 70
20.0% "Picked this up at random and ended up in WWII Britain again!"

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