Review by Pavarti K Tyler, author and Director of Marketing at Novel Publicity
Author: TAM LINSEY
Genre – Dystopic Romance (SciFi)
Rating – R
The only crop left … is human.
After genetically altered weeds devastate Earth’s croplands, much of humanity turns to cannibalism to survive. Dr. Tula Macoby believes photosynthetic skin can save the human race, and her people single-mindedly embark on a mission to convert the cannibals roaming what’s left of Earth. But when Levi, a peaceful stranger, refuses alteration, Tula doesn’t think the only options should be conversion or death.
Levi Kraybill, a devout member of the Old Order, left his Holdout farmland to seek a cure for his terminally ill son. Genetic manipulation is a sin, but Levi will do almost anything for the life of his child. When he’s captured, he’s sure he’s damned, and his only escape will be death.
Tula’s superiors schedule Levi’s euthanization, and she risks everything to set the innocent man free. Now she and Levi are outlaws with her people, and she’s an abomination with his. Can they find sanctuary in a cannibal wasteland?
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as a part of Tam Linsey’s book tour with Orangeberry Book Tours. No promise of a positive review was made.
Review: Everything about this book made me want to read it. From the cover to the description to the epically awesome concept. And I wasn’t disappointed!
This is a book with genetic manipulation and Amish set in a post apocalyptic world? Oh and the 9th word is CANNIBAL. It’s like it was written with me in mind. The main character, Tula, is an idealist. She believes that the genetic conversion she went which made her one of the “Haldanian Protectorate” is the only way for humanity to survive in a world where the UV rays are intense and food is scare. The Haldanians are one of 3 groups of people known to her. The others are cannibals (yep, exactly what you think) and the Fosselites, a group of people who through their own genetic manipulation have found a way for cells to replenish, making them essentially immortal. However, far from her home there is another group called the Old Order who have keep the pastoral ways and religious beliefs of a time long past alive by avoiding contact with any outsiders.
Levi, a member of the Old Order, is driven to leave his home in order to find a cure for his son and a number of others suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. When Levi is captured and taken to the Haldanian Protectorate for possible conversion, Tula’s memories of a childhood long forgotten re-emerge and make her question the ethics of forced conversion and the Haldanian’s policy of euthinization for those who refuse.
Botanicaust manages to cover issues of medical ethics, cross culture communication, religion and what it really means to be human, all while telling a phenomenally interesting and entertaining story. As Tula learns more about the world outside of the Haldanian Protectorate, we are taken on a journey where nothing is quite as it seems.
Linsey does an impressive job of illustrating the difficulties of communication barriers when language and culture are so different they seem insurmountable. Even at the most stressful of times though, the humanity of the individuals we meet shines bright.
In addition to the story of Tula and Levi, Botanicaust also introduces us to the character of Vitus. Although he is easily painted as the bad guy, he is an excellent representation of the kind of Nationalistic and Selfish mentality which keeps people, even today, from reaching out, across their comfort zone and finding peace. Vitus’ motivations are simple, he wants to live, he believes that natural born Haldanians are better than converts and he wants the prestige and recognition he feels he deserves. He a symbol of racism and classism, and with his entitlement comes the worst aspects of human nature.
The intricacy of the medical explanations and detail to which Ms. Linsey explains the science involved makes the concept of green people, pulling nourishment from the sunlight through their skin completely believable. I’m not a science person, but I know enough to know that while this may not be technically possible, Botanicaust makes it plausible enough to suspend disbelief and go along for the ride. She manages to do the same in representing the religious beliefs of the Old Order without ever looking like she is either proselytizing or condescending their beliefs.
An absolutely impressive work, Botanicaust is just the kind of thing I love. It’s deep in concepts, takes broad strokes without simplifying and steeped in larger picture issues. All the while, Botanicaust is an entertaining and at times quite romantic story. Highly recommended.