One of my first alternative history (audible) books. Saw this in hardback, was waiting for the paperback - but to my surprise (even better) it's on Audible!
Basically, the British are losing the war - the US did not join in the war and the Germans have created the ??bermensch (Superman/women) - sociopathic orphans taken from WW I, and endowed with X-menesque power by mad scientists.
In response, a desperate Admiralty establish the Milkweed organisation - British warlocks that use magic to fight back.
I believe this is Tregillis' first novel - stunning piece of work and fortunately there's more to come as this is the first book of the Milkweed Triptych (trilogy).
Sci-Fi & Fantasy Reader
First off, I feel inclined to note that I gave the novel 3 stars, but I really wanted to give it 3.5 stars. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to others, but I just didn’t love it.
I decided to listen to this after hearing rave reviews from Tom and Veronica on the Sword and Laser podcast. They really talked it up and it had a pretty interesting premise so it felt like a no-brainer. To give a little background, Bitter Seeds is an alternate history set in Europe during World War II. In this retelling however, the British employ warlocks and the Germans basically have soldiers with superpowers.
Overall, I did enjoy it, but it definitely left something to be desired. The story wasn’t bad nor were the characters, but they also weren’t amazing. I never felt that invested in the characters (on either side). They were realistic enough, but were just somewhat flat. It’s hard to describe, because they weren’t poorly written or unlikeable…they were just kind of bland.
My biggest gripe with the story was the ending. I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say the climax fell short. I wanted big explosions and high excitement–it seemed like that’s where things were going–but that’s not how it played out and I was a little underwhelmed.
My only other comment is about the narrator, Kevin Pariseau. Mr. Pariseau has narrated a lot of novels and I expect that he’s pretty well respected, but he just didn’t feel like a great fit to me. Most of the novel takes place it the UK and it just stands to reason that a British narrator would have been selected. The accents of the characters would have been a bit more convincing and I think it would have increased my enjoyment.
That said, it was a pretty fun read. It’s not very long either so it’s no major investment.
I don't think I would listen to Bitter Seeds for a long while. I was expecting a golden age/pulp hero type of setting with super powers and magic based on the summary. Instead it was a horror story, and a darn good one.
Yes, the end of the first novel is a cliff hanger; however, I need some more lighthearted fair before diving back into the next novel.
I don't have a particularly favorite scene, however, Ian Tregillis did a great job of bring the story right to the brink of being too gruesome or callous (in terms of the "reality" of war and the supernatural) without crossing over, but not going into actual details so my imagination took over many times through out the story.
What price for victory?
Kevin Pariseau did a good job of bringing the different characters to life, it was easy to tell which character was speaking.
The story is complex, and may require more than one listen, many story lines are woven into one all-encompassing plot line.
The concept: it's fascinating. Considering that Hitler was such a fan of the occult and science...this story fits very well into the 'what if' scenario for the SS and what Hitler could have / might have done if he'd had the chance.
The description of the Taragon Film; where all the battery charged students are displaying their abilities.
It made me think hard about what levels of technology we have today versus what was cutting edge in 1940-41...if this is 'what might have been' then what are we headed towards today?
If you're not a fan of the WWII genre or steampunk, or accustomed to hearing German spoken/written, then you may have a hard time understanding sections of this book. However, don't pass up a great tale just because you may not know the language. Tregillis has woven a fascinating tale.
I love to read, but I am time-limited. Audible allows me to keep up with all my favorite authors while on the hiking trail. Thanks, Audible!
'Bitter Seeds??? takes us to an alternative World War II in which the Allied forces are developing demon weapons and defenses, and the Axis Forces are developing paranormal weapons and defenses. While this type of arms race is not new in literature, Ian Tregillis??? version reads more like a thrilling history book than fiction. Tregillis really has done his homework, and this story has the gravity and intrigue found in the real-life arms race to create an atomic bomb. This is an amazing book that captures the excitement and dread of an era that still shapes our view of the world today. I highly recommend it.
This historical fantasy takes place during World War 2, with a mystical twist. Tregellis doesn't pull any punches, taking the book and many of its characters to dark places. The war is horrible and we find that even good people can do horrible things amidst so much suffering. I'm looking forward to listening to the rest of the series.
I've been eyeing this title for a while and finally went for it based on other reviews. Omg, such a good book and so well narrated. I purchased the next book before I was done with this book.
Intriguing look at history, and people in general. You see the decisions everyone makes and the consequences they have to live with and it changes them. Plus, the whole take on warlocks is fascinating, their language and how they negotiate.
All around solid writing, characters , plot, and ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to dive into the next one.
Bitter Seeds was a remarkably fun read. Taking place from the years 1919-1941 the book describes an alternate history in which England finds itself alone against the Nazi onslaught, made worse by fantastic and dark research on both sides.
The characters in this work are compelling and flawed, and most importantly believable, despite the fantastic elements of the story (super-powered Nazis).
The narrator does an excellent job.
YES! There is a lot in this book, and much I missed while listening to it while I worked doing yard matenance. I have already started a second time, and it is better the second time. This book will keep you going for a while!
None. This book is one of a kind. The closest you could get would be something like Harry Turtledove's "In the Presence of Mine Enemies", George RR Martins "A Song of Ice and Fire", and the "Fantastic Four" and mixed it together. Absolutely inspired.
Yes, but not a book with a lot of dates or foreign words. I tends to mispronounce foreign words and says the dates weird, saying one September, 1940, instead of first of September, 1940. He does, however, great accents for the characters and is very clear and pleasant to listen to.
Both. The author does a great job of making you care for the characters, even though you hate some of them. Even when you know something is going to happen, it still ends up as a surprise and leaves you with that reaction.
The story itself is one of the most original stories I have heard recently, and the writing style itself is great. The author does a great job of making the process between switching characters very clear and easy to follow. The narrator is great with doing the multitude of accents, even though he does occasionally mispronounce a name or word, but this is because I am a history junkie and am a fanatic about pronunciation, so this may not bother someone who is particular about these things. The narrator also pronounces the dates weird, saying one September, 1940, instead of first of September, 1940. These aside, however, this is one book no one should pass by. And, while you're at it, get the second one, "The Coldest War", because you'll want to start that immediately after finishing this one.
The narrator made some of the characters sound a bit over the top in the stereotype department, but overall it's a great story.