Sowing by Angie Grigaliunas

Sowing book cover
Rating 4.5/10
This is a dystopian society where hierarchy is everything and the threat from Outside allows for all manner of abuses.

Sowing is one of those books that seems problematic on the surface and then just gets more and more so the deeper you get into it. Most of those issues stem from the fact that it comes across as rape/oppression fantasy. It seemed to me that the author was trying to write a grimdark YA, but her version of that is framed specifically through the denigration of women and girls. If that’s not enough, the world was lightly done. You can’t see any further than what’s on the page in front of you, with the staged suffering of women the centre of it all. 

This is a dystopian society where hierarchy is everything and the threat from Outside allows for all manner of abuses. It says a lot about a book when all you can remember from it is sexual violence and all the ways rape is used as a plot point. Need a character to hate the cruel city rulers? Raped. Need a scene to test the mettle of a potential rebel recruit? Kissed/touched inappropriately/threatened with rape. Need an unequal system of intermarriage? Borderline child brides. Which suggests rape except there’s big deal made about how the girls want it. Not in a ‘only means of escaping my terrible situation’ kind of way, but in a ‘wow, these men are actually nice if you get to know them’ kind of way. Hmmm.

It’s all so tiresome and unnecessary. If there was any depth to the characters or plot, it might have provided some balance. But it’s just not there. The author mistakes brutality and misery for profundity, failing to offer anything more than a shrug of the shoulders and a women get hurt, what can you do except profit from it attitude… I’m out. 

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