Book two of The Torch Keeper
By Steven Dos Santos
Available now from Flux (Llewellyn)
Read my review of The Culling
Last year, I enjoyed THE CULLING, a brutal dystopian about Lucian "Lucky" Spark surviving the worst job application process ever in the wake of a bitter betrayal. When THE SOWING opens, he is quietly rebelling against the government using his power as an insider. But when things go inevitably awry, he's right back where he used to be - except this time, he has to rely on others to save him. People who have no reason to want him alive.
THE SOWING cemented my love of The Torch Keeper series. I thought THE CULLING was well paced and well developed, but I was put off by the extreme violence (and other bad things). THE SOWING is no less brutal, but it's just the teeniest bit more optimistic. Plus, it isn't a mere retread of the first, as the setup seems to promise. It takes a turn and then never stops turning, revealing so much about Lucky's world that neither he nor I ever contemplated.
By dint of most of the old cast being dead, there had to be new characters. I thought the new additions were very well done, even if I often got to love them just in time for their horrible death. (Steven Dos Santos has one sick imagination, and he employs it fully.) I don't want to give too much away, especially not to people who haven't read the first book, but I think there are characters for almost everyone to identify with. There's a range of ages, sexualities, and more represented.
THE SOWING is tense, heart-wrenching fun. I am eager to read the third book and see what trouble Lucky gets into next as he tries to rescue his loved ones and fellow citizens from an awful fate. This series is the definition of intense.