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Friday, 15 August 2014

The Reaping Room (Botanicaust 03) by Tam Linsey

Title: The Reaping Room
Author: Tam Linsey
Series: Botanicaust book 03
Read Type: eARC
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You can purchase a copy of this book from Amazon UK and Amazon US
You can follow Tam Linsey on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her website
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Humanity is more than DNA 
A mentally challenged man discovers the dark secret that keeps his Fosselite father immortal, and must decide what being a "good boy" really means. 

You can see my reviews of the previous novels, Botanicaust and Doomseeds here

Strong language: Some derogatory
Drugs: None
Violence: Some
Sexual content: None

I received a free copy of this book from the author in return for an unbiased review

This is the third story in the Botanicaust series (a short story, Taking the Knife" is also available, placed between the two existing novels), a novella that takes a much deeper look at a scene from the first book, Botanicaust. This "retake" as it were is skilfully done, so despite already knowing how it would turn out, for at least some characters, there is constant emotional engagement.

Written through the eyes of Michael, the son of the leader of the Fosselites, and a man who has learning disabilities, it is hard not to empathise. All Michael ever wants is to be a "good boy" and make his father happy, which in their world means he does whatever his father tells him without question. As he starts to question what is really happening around him and why he must keep their work secret he begins to battle with his conscience and what he should really do.

When I read this as a scene in Botanicaust I was drawn to Michael, but here, having a lot more time to really get to know him and the other "adult children" as they are know, the emotional aspect really blew the roof. I thought this was also a great novel to show learning disabilities is a different light, one where people can have morals, think for themselves and ultimately overcome a lifetime of conditioning to understand what is truly right.

As Michael is largely mute, but seems to think clearly, it is difficult to judge the dialogue handled by him. He is given lots of instructions, often by people who treat him and the others as drones, in uncaring tones, but until Tula comes along you see very little in the way of actual conversation. Tula is the light in their dark world, a sub-species of human who usually works with people who do not speak her language, she is not phased by Michael's inability to say words to her, and quickly used her environment and drawing tools to get answers of him. It was a poignant reminder that we shouldn't judge by what we see on the outside.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, just like the rest of the series. I would have liked a few more pages at the end to cover what happened to Michael, but I think even if they had been there I'd be pushing the author for "just a few more pages" forever!. I feel you need to have read at least Botanicaust to understand this, but it can be read before Doomseeds.

For the all round handling of difficult situations I give this a 4.5, reduced to a 4 for reviewing sites

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