The idea of being stranded on a deserted island without help isn’t a new one, but it’s certainly a terrifying one. A group of people, including yourself, is stranded on a relatively unfamiliar island. The supply boat isn’t coming back for two weeks. At first the outlook is positive. This is a vacation, right? We’re on a freaking island! But what is all this weird black mold growing on all the plants? That can’t be safe. Then one day when you’re exploring the island you happen upon a dead body. Luckily the body isn’t a person from your group, but that leaves you with the lingering suspicion that one of your island mates could be the killer. Not to mention in a few of your friends are starting to act a bit different, one of them is even talking to the plants. A.J. Colucci’s new novel Seeders is just this premise. However she didn’t stop at the whole “being stranded on an island without help is terrifying enough theme”. She completely knocks it out of the park and turns her new writing achievement into a horror story that makes everyone question their sanity, including the reader.
The story starts out as renown plant biologist George Brookes dies under mysterious circumstances on Sparrow Island, the island which he’s spent a majority of his adult life. George had been researching communication between plants and humans for quite some time. Because of his death, his family and closest friends are called out to the island to hear the will. George’s daughter Isabelle brings her three children; Jules Beecher, friend, colleague and student of George brings his lab equipment and long time friend Ginny brings sass and a penchant for monetary revenge. After the will is read, it’s discovered that Ginny is bequeathed a very expensive and rare diamond, likely to make up for all the money she loaned George over the years. Jules gets all of George’s remaining work on plant communication and Isabelle the island which is leased from the Canadian government for the next 75 years. Ginny immediately begins the search for the diamond, trying her best to get other party members to help her. Jules dives into George’s botany work, only to discover that he had been incredibly close in establishing evidence of plant-human communication. Whilst exploring the island, several members of the group notice there’s a weird black mold growing on all the plants. This causes Jules to consider that George has been experimenting with the plants. One day while the kids are exploring the island, one of them stumbles upon a dead body. The man is freshly decomposing, with a bullet hole in his head. Jules assures everyone that it’s likely that George killed him in a fit of madness, but others refuse to believe that. One things for certain though: it’s entirely possible the killer is still on the island and the boat to take them to safety won’t be back for two weeks. This might be cause for concern.
Seeders is a masterful novel. It pushes the genres of thriller, horror, science fiction and ends up as a completely fascinating book that messes with your mind. The book itself is incredibly fast paced; the chapters usually being only six to ten pages long. That being said, with it’s fast paced story as well, it turns into one of those “one more chapter” books very quickly. But the science of the book is also great. Colucci interviewed actual plant biologists so she could get the science part of her story right. Since she didn’t just wing the scientific facts, the hard science parts of the book end up very intriguing and flow very well with the story. However, it should also be mentioned that this is very much a horror novel as well. A group of people are stranded on an island in the middle of the ocean. No radio and the only hopes of rescue is a boat that is days away. Scary enough? Colucci didn’t think so. She turns this into a full fledged murder mystery that does not have any lack of sheer terror.
Rating: 9 out of 10 – Seeders is a scary and disturbing piece of fiction. A.J. Colucci is able to create a reality so terrifying on Sparrow Island that it almost infects the brain of the reader, just like it does to the characters in the novel. The scariest part of Seeders? The idea behind the novel, plants being able to communicate and feel pain is entirely real.