Saturday, 5 January 2019

Farm Land: Sentience by Gemma Lawrence #Veganuary

Farm Land: Sentience by Gemma Lawrence
Self published in the UK in October 2018.

F for my 2019 Alphabet Soup Challenge.
A book with a Vegetarian/Vegan Character

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is the future. The world is not as you remember it. 

The world has changed. Land is scarce, seas have risen, thousands of species are gone, thrown into obliteration. 

But one young woman knows nothing of this. Raised in darkness and in silence, she knows only her small family, the walls of her cell, and that when light comes, it is to be feared. But one day, she finds an open door, leading to a world as strange and wonderful as it is dangerous and brutal. 

Farm Land: Sentience is the first of the Farm Land Trilogy by G. Lawrence, a series of dystopian fantasy. 

I've mentioned on my blogs that I'm doing Veganuary this year (going well so far!) and asked for recommendations for novels featuring vegan characters to help keep me motivated through the month. Author Terry Tyler came up with Farm Land: Sentience by Gemma Lawrence and you can Read Her Review Here. I already know I love Terry's writing so I figured if she enjoyed this book then I would too and I was right. I think Farm Land: Sentience is brilliant - and perfectly suited to Veganuary reading!

Farm Land: Sentience is set many generations into the future after human activity caused catastrophic climate change and wiped most of us out. In this world, humans are no longer the dominant species and I loved Lawrence's ideas about what could have taken our place. We explore through following the experiences of a girl who will be called Holt. She escapes from a horrific captive existence underground which is vividly portrayed at the beginning of the story. Lawrence effectively describes scenes through senses other than sight and I felt this gave me a good understanding of the Pit and its inhabitants. I could also appreciate the grim parallels with our world as it is in 2018.

Lawrence brings together varied elements in creating her story. We have fantasy and dystopia, traditional storytelling and a little romance, exciting action scenes and philosophical discussion. I was pleasantly surprised by how well all the threads meshed especially as I don't consider myself a fantasy reader. Here, however, I was reminded more of folktale inspired novels such as Redemption In Indigo by Karen Lord or even Nnedi Okorafor's Lagoon. Holt herself is someone I could easily root for even though she is often impetuous and naive. These traits are understandable considering her personal history. I loved how we got to see varied environments as Holt travels across the land, intentionally or by accident, and Lawrence's detailed worldbuilding had me convinced all the time. There are amusing nods to 21st century living such as the 'precious plastic'! I felt this story was an action adventure overall, but one driven by nuanced and authentic characters acting in completely plausible ways. I couldn't help but feel strongly for tormented Hather, and Holt's romance is sweetly underplayed. Perhaps I could have done with less of the inspirational speechifying in the latter stages, but I'm using that to scrape for criticisms!

Without, I hope, spoilering the story, I was delighted that Farm Land: Sentience does Not end on a cliff hanger because I loathe that! Threads are left open for further novels in this series, but I appreciated feeling that I had also read a whole story within this first book. I do wish I hadn't read it so fast though because I don't know how long I might wait for the second book? I thought these 400-odd pages would last several days, but I just couldn't put the book aside for more than a few minutes. Holt's adventures had me totally gripped!

Etsy Find!
by Your Vegan Store in
London, England

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Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Gemma Lawrence / Fantasy fiction / Books from England


  1. Very different and has me curious. Neat that it was perfect for your January Vegan theme. Futuristic books are a big draw.

    1. This one has such an original premise and I read it at just the right time for me!

  2. I need to update my challenges and get posts up tomorrow so I can see how I'm doing!

    1. I love starting new challenges! I get enthused by filling in blanks and lists when all the possibilities are open, then wane as it all gets more difficult and time runs out!

  3. Sounds like it has a bit of everything, and it's all stuff that I like! I'll have to save this one, I might give it a try. And I love that you're reading about vegans to help motivate you!

    1. I hope you get a chance to read this one. I'm so excited for the sequel, but I know Gemma's still writing it so I need to practice patience!

  4. oh wow this sound like the perfect book to me. AND Id on't mind cliffhangers as much as other people :D I'm a little worried about the length though :(

    1. I rarely read anything over about 300-350 pages and this didn't feel like over 400 to me. It keeps up a good pace :-)

  5. I love when books are so brilliant that you are hooked enough to be able to race through it! I am glad veganuary is going well so far. I love when books bring in so many elements and cross so many genres - it sounds like this one is done brilliantly. I am going to have to check it out for sure! Big books don't scare me ;)

    1. This one was just the right sort of book at exactly the right time for me. I love it when everything comes together like that!


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