Monday, April 30, 2012

Farseed by Pamela Sargent (Audiobook Review)

Audiobook Reviews from Audiobook-Heaven

by Pamela Sargent
narrated by Amy Rubinate

Series: The Seed Trilogy #2
Copyright: 2012 Blackstone Audio
Duration: 8 hours, 52 minutes unabridged
Genres: science fiction, young adult
Filed in: Audiobook Reviews
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PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: More than twenty years have passed since Ship left its children, the seed of humanity, on an uninhabited, earthlike planet—a planet they named Home. Zoheret and her companions started settlements and had children of their own. But, as onboard Ship, there was conflict, and soon after their arrival, Zoheret’s old nemesis, Ho, left the original settlement to establish his own settlement far away.

When Ho’s daughter, sixteen-year-old Nuy, spies three strangers headed toward their settlement, the hostility between the two groups of old shipmates begins anew and threatens to engulf the children of both settlements. Can the divided settlers face the challenges of adapting to their new environment in spite of their conflicts? And if they do, will they lose their humanity in the process?

©2007 Pamela Sargent (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: In the second book of Pamela Sargent’s Seed Trilogy, Ship has finally found a suitable world on which to deposit the seed of humanity it has been carrying. This group of youngsters was literally born on Ship from genetic material that it carried, and was raised by Ship for the express purpose of colonizing a planet.

During their voyage, it was Zoheret who displayed the best leadership skills, and it is she that becomes leader of the new colony on the planet they have named Home. And it was Ho who displayed the best ability to cause trouble, which he wastes no time in doing on Home as well. Soon after the colony is formed, Ho and a group of those loyal to him strike off on their own and form their own settlement several days journey away.

And time passes: a couple of decades in fact. Zoheret’s group prospers and grows, while Ho’s group suffers several setbacks. His people are always on the verge of starving and, thanks to Ho, blame the main colony for their hardships. Zoheret’s group do what they can, sending trading parties with food and supplies, but it becomes more and more difficult to treat with Ho’s group until finally three traders go out and do not return.

There are a few key elements at play in Farseed that make it an interesting piece of the Seed Trilogy. First, a new planet has finally been settled and as is common in science fiction, the humans, no matter where they go, just can’t seem to get along with each other. Second, this story is really more about the second generation of colonists, the teenage children of Zoheret and Ho and the others. It’s interesting to note that the youngsters seem more willing to work together than their parents. Third, in Ho’s group some odd things have happened to the kids. DNA scans show that their very genome has been altered. Early in their childhood, these kids contracted a contagion that nearly killed them all and while it is never confirmed we are led to believe that this native virus did something to the children of Earth. Some of the infected grew up with extraordinary senses, especially those of smell and general awareness, rivaling those of wild animals. They also seem to be able to draw sustenance from the native vegetation while the “Earthlings” must live on what they grow themselves.

On a related matter, there is a faction among the human settlers that have grown to fear their new planet for this very reason. They are afraid they will be changed by their new environment and lose something of their humanity, becoming impure. For this reason there are those who will not even leave their habitats, or only do so when absolutely necessary and for as short a time as possible. This is an interesting twist that I don’t ever recall seeing in stories of humans settling new worlds.

I’m still not quite sure what to make of Amy Rubinate’s narration. I don’t have any problem listening to her; she doesn’t become boring or monotonous. However, she doesn’t read with a lot of feeling or passion either. She does try to differentiate the voices of all the characters, and is moderately successful at that. I think the thing that most impresses me about Rubinate is her ability to do boy’s or men’s voices. She doesn’t do a lot of different men’s voices, but they do actually sound like men or boys, something not a lot of female narrators can pull off.

One more audiobook to go in the Seed Trilogy and I’m looking forward to it. Many of the colonists are hoping that Ship will return some day to check in on them, Ship being the only mother they ever knew. Ship is having some problems of her own though so it remains to be seen if she will ever make it back to her children.

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Earthseed by Pamela Sargent (Audiobook Review)
Farseed by Pamela Sargent (Audiobook Review)
Seed Seeker by Pamela Sargent (Audiobook Review)

Special thanks to Blackstone Audio for this review copy. Audiobook review by Steven Brandt. This audiobook review is based on the unabridged audiobook. Come back soon for more audiobook reviews from Audiobook-Heaven.

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