Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Semiosis by Sue Burke

As soon as I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it.  And it didn't disappoint.  I loved the premise—both the tiny colony trying to survive on a strange planet and the idea of this planet having intelligent flora. 

I really enjoyed the story being told over multiple generations by different characters, and how, until closer to the end, each chapter was almost like a short story.  I loved watching the culture developing and changing, while still mostly holding true to their peaceful aim.  It was a bit of light in a dark world. 

Because of the changing points of view, I did occasionally feel a bit distant from the characters and sometimes mixed up minor actors, but I wouldn't have had it told any other way.

The fascinating premise was somehow both the book's strongest point and the thing that made me unable to give it 5 stars.  I didn't have a hard time believing an intelligent plant.  I did have a bit of a hard time swallowing the plant being so quick-thinking and quick to adapt, since plants are a life form that live in what we would think of as slow motion.  I also couldn't quite believe its facility with human language, and I thought the plant sounded too human—though also quite plant-like in some ways.  I loved the way it changed, but things like the "humor root" just felt too easy.  Still, such a unique viewpoint and premise.  And who knows:  maybe this is how an intelligent plant would really be.   Maybe I'm thinking too much like an animal. 

Semiosis is a very, very interesting book, and I absolutely loved the imaginative plants and animals and the sentience of so many things.

I strongly recommend it to people who love nature and its amazing variations, both real and imagined.

This is a definite 4.5 stars.  Almost 5 stars.

After I wrote my review, I read some by other people.  One reviewer talked about how it was very enjoyable because it didn't have a standard story arc.  

I hadn't thought about it in exactly those words, but that's probably why I enjoyed the first several chapters more than the last few.  As I said above, they were more like interconnected short stories in the same universe, and I loved the ride.  I never knew what to expect from the next chapter, and they focused on different aspects of life on Pax.  I liked how there weren't a lot of clear-cut bad guys.  I never knew which characters would be important in the future--or even which ones would survive.  It was very unpredictable.  Then, when it started getting more "let's defeat the bad guys in a big action-packed climax" it lost some of its unique beauty.  

Then, of course, I read another review that said they didn't like the book all that much because, basically, it didn't have a standard story arc.

You can't please all of the people all of the time.

No comments:

Post a Comment