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Book Review – Seeds of Earth

Seeds of EarthSeeds of Earth

Author: Michael Cobley

Series: Humanity’s Fire #1

Genre: Science Fiction

Published 2009

Review Copy: Paperback bought new

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Goodreads Description

The first intelligent species to Earth attacked without warning, and only three colony ships escaped. 150 years later, planet Darien hosts humans at peace with indigenous scholarly Uvovo. Buried on the forest moon are secrets of an epic battle between ancient races. In a galactic war, what will Uvovo choose, when their nature is revealed, and the enemy comes?

Review

Seeds of Earth is the first novel in the Humanity’s Fire series by Michael Cobley.  It’s a space opera that takes place mainly on one planet, as well as several other locations in the galaxy.  Seeing that it was endorsed by Iain M. Banks, I had high hopes for this.  I wasn’t completely satisfied, unfortunately.

The premise is interesting, though not very original.  Humans have a colony on a planet, studying the history of the indigenous species, and going about their lives in their Scottish/Russian/Scandinavian society.  With the threat of war because of a powerful alien species claiming the planet, it looks to be a very tense book.  There’s a lot of politics, fighting, and even some romance and adventure.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  The story actually is interesting, and I enjoyed that aspect.  However, there was something missing.

The characters were a varied bunch, but I had some major issues with them.  Greg Cameron seems to be the main protagonist, but there are several.  He’s a nice guy, a good archaeologist, and a very standard lead character who doesn’t show much personality. Catriona is his love interest.  She’s a super-intelligent scientist who shows more personality than Greg.  Then there’s Greg’s uncle Theo who is the rebellious sort and shows probably the most interesting personality of the entire cast of characters.  Also, we have Cheluvahar, Greg’s Uvovo friend.  He’s a native of the world, and they are an interesting species.  Very friendly character.  Ambassador Robert Horst provides a major part in the story, and he has a rather strange obsession with his dead daughter.  He’s not very compelling, though.  And finally, we have Kao Chih, who’s from another human colony, and he’s making a rather haphazard journey across the stars to get to Darien.  He’s kind of naive, but overall likeable.  Unfortunately, I found that most of the characters were two-dimensional.  They lacked depth.  I had no attachment to even one of the characters.  That was disappointing.

The setting is good.  Darien is a reasonably well-developed world, as is the history of the Uvovo.  I’m interested in that more than the characters.  The history and the politics of the aliens in this book is done well.  However, I got a feeling similar to that of Ringworld from the aliens.  They were a bit goofy or cheesy.  It worked better with Ringworld because of the free-spirit kind of culture of the hippie movement that was going on at the time, but it doesn’t quite feel right with this book.  It doesn’t feel like the hippie movement, which isn’t my point, but the goofiness wasn’t sitting right with me.

There was plenty of action, which didn’t disappoint me.  The technology was interesting, as well.  The theme of anti-AI was present here, as this is a common theme in science fiction.  I can understand the motives in this case.

Overall, it was a solid start, though the lack of good character development holds it back from being very good.  It was decent.  I enjoyed it, though.  I would give it a rating of 3 out of 5.  It’s recommended for anyone who likes science fiction with the threat of war or highly destructive ancient weapons.  I’m looking forward to the next book.