Thursday, 11 October 2018

FARM LAND: Sentience by Gemma Lawrence @TudorTweep

5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: I will read anything by Gemma Lawrence; coupled with my love of dark, dystopian futures, I could hardly open this quickly enough, once I'd bought it!

Genre: Dark fantasy, dystopian, horror

This story takes place thousands of years into the future, after the world as we know it has been all but destroyed by the greed of those in power.  After widespread war, death and famine, the waters rose and many species became extinct.  Now, the corner of the world in which this story takes place is governed once more by the rich and greedy, with the less affluent in society doing as they're told.  But there is a yet less fortunate underclass ~ those who fought against the rich back in times of war were enslaved, with their descendants kept captive and used for meat.  They are bred in the Factory, never seeing the light of day.  At puberty, suitable girls become 'breeders'.  

There are those, though, who still live free, or have escaped the Factory, and are hunted by the flesh-eaters; wild, non-Factory meat is much prized.  The free people eat only that which they can grow in the soil of their land.

'Those who founded this place, our forebears, told us that All Life Is the flesh-eaters had denied our rights, we should not deny them to other sentient creatures...who can think, feel and experience pleasure and pain.'

Then there are the other dangers; insects have evolved and become larger.  Much larger.

Farm Land: Sentience can be read as a dark, futuristic fantasy ~ it's great fiction, exciting and well-written.  I think, though, that it has deeper meaning, and I've found myself thinking about it a lot, when I'm not reading it.

The flesh-eaters believe that those bred for meat have no feelings, are not the same as them; they choose to believe this, because they have been told it is so, by those who rule over them; if they see anything in the slaughtering process that makes them feel uncomfortable, they close their eyes ~ except one, who begins to understand what is actually going on.

The story is told from the POV of a sixteen-year-old girl; an old woman she meets tells her more about how and why the old world ended.  There are so many parallels with our own destruction of our planet and the evils of animal agriculture that I could quote away until this review was far too long, but the book does not preach, at all.  It talks of belief in gods, and whether or not they were all imaginary; either way, by now they are long gone, with the flesh-eaters living only to satisfy their own immediate needs.  

The main character discovers that she is a 'Reacher', in that she can enter the thoughts of others, and communicate with the few who have this ability.  Much about this, and the evolution of other species, made me think of something else I've read lately, ie, that man as we know it now has not necessarily finished evolving.  For all we know, we may indeed develop other abilities much, much farther down the line ~ if we do not destroy ourselves.

'They are careless with lives because they do not consider anything to be as important as themselves...they started to use everything, exhausting the world, ignoring warnings screamed by the earth... the greed of man is such that they will seek to consume the world, and never stop to wonder what will be left for them to stand upon.'

Whether you read this as compelling and unpredictable fantasy fiction or see more parallels with our own society within, it's a terrific book.  It's about the possibility of love, acceptance and care for others being allowed to triumph over greed, selfishness and evil.  Unmissable.


  1. Thanks for the shoutout on this book Terry. It looks just my kind of read!

    1. I hope you read it, Stephanie. It's so unusual, and says so much. :)